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FRCC: “Don’t feed cats”

To ease the feral cat issue at Mills, the Free Roaming Cat Coalition (FRCC) set up feline feeding stations around campus in January. But raccoons and squirrels have been getting into the cat food anyway.

This goes against the FRCC’s intentions. The feeding stations were designed to allow campus cats a safe eating area while also keeping unwanted wild animals away from the cat food and
college buildings.

The feeding stations were a work in progress at the time, according to Linda Zitzner, one of the FRCC’s program managers.

“Raccoons are still managing to hoist themselves up into the stations,” Zitzner said in January.

Eight months later, the raccoons are still finding their way into the feeding stations.

The problem isn’t only with the feeding stations, according to Zitzner. Students have been trying to feed the feral cats, which draws the raccoons in.

Campus community members who are not part of the FRCC have been warned not to feed the cats.

“When the community doesn’t follow the rules about feeding, it invites other animals in, such as raccoons, skunks, etc. These animals create a lot of problems and are hard to get rid of once they are here,” Zitzner said.

Feral cats are enough of a problem already, according to Zitzner. There are about 10 to 15 feral cats on the Mills College campus.

The FRCC is dedicated to feeding and caring for the cats, educating the community about them, as well as controlling the population through the “trap, neuter, release, maintain” program in which cats are caught, taken to the vet to be spayed or neutered and then released back on the Mills campus.

The primary goal of the FRCC is to reduce the number of newborn cats on campus, hopefully to zero, said Ileen Erickson, also an FRCC program manager.

“No new babies,” Erickson told the Campanil in January. “We want to avoid kittens being born here. And if there are kittens being discovered, we need to be called immediately.”

The FRCC remains dedicated to keeping the feral cat population down today.

“If any have babies, we capture the kittens and deliver them to a shelter for adoption,” Zitzner said.

All the same, the feral cats are a part of the campus community whether one likes it or not.

“We want to ensure the cats are healthy and treated humanely,” Zitzner said.