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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Campus

No, the UH campus cats will not be euthanized


Momma, one of the many stray cats on campus, is perched on a ledge in September 2019 at Agnes Arnold Hall. The feline, the founder of Campus Cat Fans said, was one of two to "move" on campus after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. | Claudette Vega/The Cougar

Momma, one of the many stray cats on campus, is perched on a ledge in September 2019 at Agnes Arnold Hall. The feline, the founder of the UH Campus Cat Fans said, was one of two to “move” on campus after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. | Claudette Vega/The Cougar

Despite rumors saying the University was “threatening” to remove and put down the stray cats around campus, UH will not euthanize the felines who have become beloved within the community.

“The University did not remove, relocate or euthanize the cats,” UH spokesperson Chris Stipes said. “In the event that the University does have to remove animals from campus, we only work with no-kill shelters and organizations.”

A tweet that said the cats will be euthanized has been retweeted more than 300 times and has amassed over 400 likes. A group that cares for the strays started a petition that demands they not be removed from campus or harmed.

The UH Campus Cat Fans club’s petition, which aims to get UH to “accept and allow students to care for and maintain relations with the many urban animals” on campus, has been signed by more than 4,500 people.

“Cats on campus have been a historical part of our University and removing the ones we are caring for who cannot be moved just creates more problems,” said mechanical engineering junior and Campus Cat Fans founder Bernard Li in an email.

“We don’t think campus animals are vermin, pests, or potential threats to campus so as long as they are managed properly by organizations who give them the time and attention they need to flourish,” Li added.

UH System policy is what prohibits animals, including the cats, from being kept on any of its campuses. Exceptions to this policy include service animals, emotional support animals, authorized research animals and animals authorized for University-sponsored events.

The petition criticizes the policy for requiring the removal of the cats and other animals cared for by students.

“We also feel like (the policy) is unjust and doesn’t take into consideration the many on-campus strays and untamed creatures who deserve to receive proper care and attention,” Li said.

The University aims to maintain safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors, Stipes said. He reiterated the policy’s stance, saying animals under most circumstances are not allowed to be kept on UH System campuses.

“We recognize that those who are caring for the cats are well-meaning,” Stipes said, “and we appreciate the UH Cat Club taking corrective action to remove the cats, their food and accommodations.”

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