Most colleges and universities take pride in naming their sports teams after fearsome animals: Gators, Bulldogs, and Tigers. But there is another critter that has marked its territory at many schools, including the University of Florida: Feral cats. These unowned and roaming animals have found homes around dorms, classrooms, and wooded areas where they can find food offered by compassionate students, faculty, and administrators.

Key Takeaways

  • The presence of feral cats on college campuses is not uncommon, with many schools including the University of Florida having established colonies.
  • Students and faculty often provide food and care for these cats, despite some campus policies discouraging interaction with them.
  • Formal programs and clubs, such as the Cat Club and Campus Cat Program, use TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) methods to manage and reduce the feral cat population.
  • Campus policies regarding feral cats vary, with some institutions allowing registered pets while others implement strict rules against feeding and interacting with feral cats.
  • Feral cats have become a notable part of campus culture, with some even achieving social media fame and becoming beloved community members.

Paws and Effect: How Feral Cats Took Over Dorm Life

The Great Cat Migration

It all started with a few curious felines who decided that the dorms were the purr-fect place to call home. These cats, often the offspring of abandoned pets, found their way into our lives and hearts. The transient student population and the cafeteria dumpsters, which provide a constant supply of leftover food, made the campus an ideal habitat for these furry friends. Feral cats are common in areas with transient populations, such as apartment complexes and universities. The ecosystem of a university environment supports their proliferation: lots of food trash = rodents = cats.

Dorm Room or Cat Room?

As more cats began to appear, students started to notice that their dorm rooms were being taken over. It wasn’t long before the question arose: is this a dorm room or a cat room? Some students embraced their new feline roommates, while others were less than thrilled. The cats, however, seemed to have no complaints. They found cozy spots to nap, and some even allowed a bit of petting. The campus cats have limited human contacts, but a few will allow touch and petting.

Student Reactions: Purrs and Hisses

The student body was divided in their reactions to the new feline residents. Some students loved having the cats around, finding their presence comforting and entertaining. Others, however, were not as enthusiastic. The debate over whether the cats were a nuisance or a welcome addition to dorm life was a hot topic. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no denying that the cats have made a significant impact on campus life.

"I went out that night and went to the grocery store, and got some cat food and watched carefully to see where they lived and started feeding them," one student said. "Then I started noticing other cats on campus and the rest is history."

For more information on how to manage community cats, check out this guide.

Claws and Order: Campus Policies on Feline Residents

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dorm Cats

When it comes to our furry friends, campus policies are as varied as the cats themselves. Cats must be up-to-date on shots and licensed according to city and state laws. Students must pay a pet deposit and agree to keep their cats confined in their apartment any time maintenance is required. If pets are left alone for more than 24 hours, the university can remove them.

TNR Programs: Trap, Neuter, Return

As he started implementing feeding locations around campus, he collaborated with the university administration to change campus policies to allow feral cats on campus in compliance with environmental health and safety concerns. College Campuses – A transient student population and rules barring cats and other pets from on-campus housing can lead to high levels of abandonment. Cafeteria dumpsters ensure that a constant supply of leftover food is available for cats who find themselves outside. Attracted by this food source, lost or abandoned cats enter from the surrounding residential areas and join groups too. Many colleges have students and staff who implement TNR programs on campus.

The Cat Club Chronicles

Students must register their cats with campus staff and pay a fee. Only cats older than 6 months who have lived with the student for at least three months are permitted. Students can’t adopt or buy new cats while living on campus. Eckerd holds a “pet graduation” along with a human graduation each year.

Feline Friends or Foes? Student-Cat Relationships

Tales from the Cat Side

Living with feral cats on campus is like being part of a never-ending reality show. Thai, a 19-year-old freshman, has been visiting the cats every day since December. She and her roommate have even assigned names based on the cats’ widely varying personalities: Ellen, Eve, Diana, Frankie, Pluto, Duck, Goose, and Mr. Big Balls. “They have all this drama in their lives,” Thai said. “You guys are just cats. Why is there so much drama?”

The Secret Lives of Dorm Cats

Some of the campus cats have lived around students so long, they do become “socialized ferals.” The ones we evaluate as being adoptable, we try to place into homes. But we make that judgment very carefully, as the operative word is always “feral.” Some may be friendly in the campus courtyard, but ultimately not appropriate for house dwelling. That said, we are striving to place adoptable kittens into forever homes.

Cat Cafes: The New Study Spots

Imagine sipping your coffee while a cat purrs on your lap. Cat cafes are becoming the new study spots on campus. They offer a relaxing environment where students can unwind and enjoy the company of their feline friends. It’s a win-win situation: students get a stress-relief break, and cats get the attention they crave.

While taking a cat to college with you may seem like an added responsibility and expense, the companionship and love they provide may be worth it to many students. These 16 colleges recognize the value that the human-animal bond brings to student life and have made allowances to support it. If you are lucky enough to bring your cat to college, abide by all your school’s rules and regulations so future students can enjoy the same privilege.

For more information on how to care for your campus cats, visit this site.

Meow-ntenance: Caring for Campus Cats

three men laughing while looking in the laptop inside room

Feeding Stations and Furry Faces

When it comes to caring for our beloved campus cats, feeding stations are the cat’s meow! These stations are strategically placed around campus to ensure our feline friends get their daily dose of kibble without attracting unwanted wildlife like raccoons or squirrels. It’s a purr-fect solution to keep our furry residents well-fed and happy.

To keep things running smoothly, we have a few guidelines:

  • Do not disturb feeding stations or humane traps displaying the Campus Cat Program signs.
  • Do not leave additional food near feeding stations. This food may attract other wildlife.
  • Drive slowly through campus streets and driveways.
  • Keep your distance from the cats. If threatened or cornered, their behavior can be unpredictable.

Any concerns or updates about the cats are posted on the campus cat’s Facebook group. We have a shared Google Drive, so we have our vet receipts, budget, cat census, and feeding calendar.

Vet Visits and Health Checks

Regular vet visits and health checks are essential to ensure our campus cats are in tip-top shape. We collaborate with local veterinarians and spay-neuter clinics to provide the best care possible. Recently, our focus has been on identifying cats that may need to be neutered or spayed through a trap, neuter, and release (TNR) program. This helps control the cat population and keeps our feline friends healthy.

Here’s a quick rundown of our TNR process:

  1. Identify cats that need to be neutered or spayed.
  2. Set up humane traps to capture the cats.
  3. Transport the cats to a local spay-neuter clinic.
  4. After surgery, the cats are returned to their original location on campus.

Volunteer Cat Wranglers

Our volunteer cat wranglers are the unsung heroes of our campus cat community. These dedicated individuals spend their time feeding, trapping, and caring for our feline residents. They also help with transporting cats to vet appointments and monitoring their health.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer cat wrangler, here’s how you can help:

  • Assist with feeding and maintaining feeding stations.
  • Help set up and monitor humane traps for TNR programs.
  • Transport cats to and from vet appointments.
  • Monitor the health and well-being of the cats.

We’ve been lucky, we have about 1,600 faculty and staff who have almost adopted them all because we have an amazing group that really love animals on campus.

For more information on how you can get involved, visit CatsLuvUs.

Purr-sistence of Memory: Cats in Campus Culture

Cat-themed Events and Activities

Our campus has truly embraced the feline frenzy with a variety of cat-themed events and activities. From Caturday movie nights featuring classics like "The Aristocats" to "Purr-yoga" sessions where students can stretch alongside their furry friends, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate our whiskered residents. We even have an annual "Meowathon" where students and their cats can participate in a fun run to raise funds for local animal shelters. It’s pawsitively delightful!

Famous Campus Cats

Every campus has its celebrities, and ours are no exception. Our most famous feline, Whiskers, has been a campus resident for over five years and has amassed quite the following. Whiskers can often be found lounging in the library or making surprise appearances in lecture halls. His Instagram account, managed by the student body, has over 10,000 followers! Whiskers isn’t just a cat; he’s a campus icon.

Social Media Stars: Insta-famous Felines

Speaking of Instagram, our campus cats have taken the platform by storm. Students love sharing snapshots of their encounters with these furry friends, and some cats have even become social media influencers in their own right. From #Caturday posts to live streams of catnaps, our feline residents are always in the spotlight. If you’re a cat lover, be sure to follow our campus cat accounts for a daily dose of cuteness. And don’t forget to check out this site for more cat-tastic content!

Cat-astrophic or Cat-tastic? The Debate on Feral Cats

Pros and Cons of Feline Dorm Life

When it comes to feral cats moving into dorms, opinions are as divided as a cat’s attention span. On one paw, we have the cat enthusiasts who believe that these furry friends bring joy, companionship, and a sense of home to the otherwise sterile dorm environment. On the other paw, there are those who argue that feral cats can be a nuisance, causing allergies, noise, and even damage to property.

Let’s break it down with a quick list of pros and cons:


  • Companionship: Cats can provide emotional support and reduce stress.
  • Pest Control: Feral cats help keep the rodent population in check.
  • Community Building: Caring for cats can bring students together.


  • Allergies: Not everyone is a fan of cat dander.
  • Noise: Cats can be noisy, especially at night.
  • Property Damage: Scratching and other behaviors can cause damage.

Cat enthusiasts argue that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, but it’s clear that this is a topic that will continue to divide opinions.

Student and Faculty Opinions

The debate over feral cats in dorms isn’t just a student issue; faculty members have their own set of opinions. Some professors are all for it, citing the positive impact on student mental health. Others, however, are concerned about the potential for distraction and the logistical challenges of managing a feral cat population on campus.

Here’s a snapshot of what some students and faculty members have to say:

Student Opinions:

  • "I love having cats around; they make the dorm feel more like home."
  • "I’m allergic to cats, and it’s been a nightmare."
  • "The cats are cute, but they can be really noisy at night."

Faculty Opinions:

  • "Cats have a calming effect on students, which is great for their mental health."
  • "Managing a feral cat population is a logistical nightmare."
  • "I’m worried about the potential for property damage and hygiene issues."

Future of Feral Cats on Campus

So, what does the future hold for feral cats on campus? Will they continue to be a beloved part of dorm life, or will stricter policies be put in place to manage their presence? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: the debate is far from over.

Some potential future scenarios include:

  1. Increased TNR Programs: More Trap-Neuter-Return programs to control the feral cat population.
  2. Designated Cat Zones: Specific areas on campus where cats are allowed to roam freely.
  3. Stricter Policies: Implementing rules to limit the number of cats in dorms.

For more information on how to manage and care for feral cats, check out Cats Luv Us.

In conclusion, whether you see feral cats as a cat-astrophe or a cat-tastic addition to dorm life, it’s clear that they have made a significant impact on campus culture. As we continue to navigate this furry issue, let’s remember to consider both the pros and cons, and strive for a solution that benefits both humans and our feline friends.

Kitty Committee: Organized Efforts to Help Feral Cats

Campus Cat Programs

Our campus has become a haven for feral cats, thanks to the dedicated efforts of various community groups. These groups have organized numerous initiatives to ensure the well-being of our feline friends. One such initiative is the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, which helps control the cat population humanely. The TNR program involves trapping the cats, neutering or spaying them, and then returning them to their original location. This method has proven to be effective in managing the feral cat population and reducing the number of kittens born each year.

Student-led Initiatives

Students have also taken the lead in caring for the campus cats. From organizing fundraisers to hosting educational workshops, our student body is actively involved in ensuring the cats are well taken care of. One notable event was a fundraising yard sale organized by a local group to support their efforts in responsible feral cat management. The event was a huge success, raising enough funds to cover the costs of spaying and neutering several cats.

Community Support and Donations

The success of these initiatives wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community. Donations of food, money, and time have been crucial in maintaining the well-being of our campus cats. Local businesses have also chipped in, providing discounts on cat food and supplies. The community’s involvement has created a sense of unity and shared responsibility for the welfare of our feline residents.

The efforts of our campus and community in caring for feral cats have not only improved the lives of the cats but also enriched our campus culture. It’s a purr-fect example of what we can achieve when we work together.

For more information on how you can help, visit CatsLuvUs.

Join the Kitty Committee and make a difference in the lives of feral cats. Our organized efforts are dedicated to providing care and support for these vulnerable animals. Visit our website to learn more about how you can help and get involved today!


In the end, it seems the University of Florida’s feral cats have truly purrfected the art of campus life. From sneaking into dorms to charming students and faculty alike, these feline fur-iends have made themselves right at home. Whether it’s the Cat Club at Florida Southern College or the Campus Cat Program at the University of West Florida, it’s clear that these campuses have a soft spot for their whiskered residents. So, next time you find yourself at UF, don’t be surprised if you spot a furry face peeking out from behind a bush or lounging on a sunny patch of grass. After all, these cats have found the purrfect place to call home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there so many feral cats on college campuses?

Feral cats are often drawn to college campuses due to the availability of food from cafeteria dumpsters and the presence of compassionate students, faculty, and staff who feed them.

What is a TNR program?

TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, Return. It is a humane method used to manage and reduce the feral cat population by trapping the cats, neutering or spaying them, and then returning them to their original location.

Are students allowed to keep cats in their dorm rooms?

Policies vary by college. Some colleges allow students to keep cats in their dorm rooms under specific conditions, such as registration, payment of a fee, and adherence to care guidelines.

How do students and faculty feel about the presence of feral cats on campus?

Opinions are mixed. Some students and faculty enjoy the presence of cats and actively care for them, while others are concerned about health and safety issues.

What are the responsibilities of students who keep cats in their dorms?

Students must ensure their cats are well-cared for, including regular vet visits and adherence to college policies. They must also register their cats with campus staff and may be subject to room checks.

How can the community support the well-being of feral cats on campus?

Community members can support feral cats by participating in or donating to campus cat programs and TNR initiatives, volunteering to feed and care for the cats, and fostering cats in need of adoption.