Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.
The University of Florida's Gainesville campus is starting to resemble the smelly apartment of an old cat lady. The school has been overtaken by more than 100 feral cats, and it's ignited a war on campus over what to do with them. While the school current's policy could lead to many of the cats being euthanized, some students and staff are hoping for a more humane approach.
The problem hit headlines last week when the school decided to take a tougher approach to the cats, according to The Gainesville Sun
. Officials discovered that some of the cats were living in a crawl space underneath the business school, so they decided to install iron gates at the entrance. Unfortunately, one cat was left inside, so UF staff member Kat Worden (an appropriate name) ran off and grabbed a crowbar to free the unintentional cat prisoner.
"I'm not going to let an animal starve to death under the building," Worden told The Gainesville Sun
The current UF policy mandates that all stray cats found campus be captured and transported to the local animal services shelter. Cats that go unadopted are eventually euthanized, and because most of the cats on campus are feral they have little hope of finding homes.
Some on campus say there's a better way, including members of the vet school. Vet professor Julie Levy runs a group called Operation Catnip which captures feral cats, neuters and spays them, and then releases them.
Levy says that such a program, mixed with other approaches, could lead to reduced cat population. A similar approach was taken at UCF, and the Orlando college reduced it similarly sized feral cat population to less than ten.