Husker Cats returns first feral felines

Dec 4th, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, December 4, 2008

Husker Cats has started to impact the feral feline population on City Campus.

The volunteer group – operating in agreement with, but not funded by, the university – has successfully trapped four cats. After veterinary care, which includes a complete examination, necessary shots and spay/neuter, two adult cats were returned to campus and two kittens were tamed and adopted.

“We also have six feeding stations in place around campus,” said Marilyn Fenton, a business system analyst at UNL and Husker Cats volunteer. “And, we have an unlimited supply of cat food being provided by Tractor Supply Company.

“We’ve really come a long way in a few weeks.”

Husker Cats
CATCH AND RELEASE – Belinda Gillam, project specialist for Sponsored Programs, returns cat UNL 3 to the colony near CBA on Nov. 26. The feral cat was caught and treated by a veterinarian before being returned to campus.

The captured feral felines were trapped near the College of Business Administration. Veterinary services were provided at a reduced rate by All Feline Hospital, 333 N. Cotner Blvd.

Treatment for the two adults – officially UNL 3 and UNL 4 (two other feral cats were captured and returned to campus before Husker Cats) – included neutering to help control the cat population. Fenton and Belinda Gillam released UNL 3 (also known by Fenton as “J,” brother of “PB”) on Nov. 26. UNL 4 (dubbed “Sil”) was released Dec. 2.

To identify the treated cats that return to campus, the veterinarian clips the tip of an ear. Each cat was also micro chipped to aid in future identification.

UNL employees adopted the two kittens captured near CBA.

“We caught one of them and he spit and hissed the entire way to the veterinarian,” said Gillam. “But, after just a couple of days, he was tame and ready for adoption.”

After being announced in the Oct. 16 Scarlet, the Husker Cats program has received donations and new volunteers from across campus and Lincoln.

“We have a lot of cat lovers on and off campus,” said Fenton.

Cat food provided by Tractor Supply Company comes from bags damaged in transit to stores. To obtain the food, Husker Cat volunteers only need to pick it up at Tractor Supply’s warehouse in Waverly.

The food is being used in specialized feeders – built by volunteers – located near cat colonies by the Temple Building, CBA, the Nebraska Union, Alexander Building, University Health Center and Mabel Lee Hall.

About 10 members of the UNL community helped organize Husker Cats. The driving force behind the group is Richie Graham, an assistant professor with the University Libraries.

Husker Cats aims to help control rogue feeding of the campus cats, control populations through capture/spay/neuter/adopt efforts, and educate the campus community about the feral cat population.

The group is working with Landscape Services. Under the terms of the Husker Cats group’s agreement with the university, the program will be evaluated in December and again in March.

Fenton said capture operations would stop this week due to cold weather. She said the group plans to continue the effort in the spring.

“We have had a successful start,” Fenton said. “But, to maintain our momentum, we’re still looking for more volunteers and donations.”

For more information, go to or contact Graham at or 472-5410.

— Story and photos by Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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