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Release Your Inner Cat Lady with the Cal Poly Cat Program

Face it – there’s a crazy old cat lady inside all of us. The second you see a cat, something comes over you, and all you want to do is sit on your bed on a rainy day and watch Netflix with a cup of coffee in your hand and an adorable feline companion snuggling beside you.

Luckily for us cat lovers out there, Cal Poly has its very own cat shelter, also known as the Cal Poly Cat Program.

Danielle Fogg, a member of the community and the assistant director of the program, has been with the shelter for approximately two and a half years now.

“The shelter was started back in the ’90s by a student for a senior project,” Fogg said. “What he wanted to do was go around and catch and release all the feral cats that were on campus. So there were about 300 cats at the time that were completely feral and unneutered or unspayed. So in the process of that, all of them have been spayed and neutered. And then we formed a shelter, originally for cats that couldn’t take care of themselves as feral cats anymore. And then we moved into rescuing cats from families that could no longer keep them, or rescuing from animal services before they euthanize them.”

This nonprofit organization has saved more than 1,000 cats and kittens by placing them in caring homes. Last year, 201 cats were adopted, and 100 cats were rescued through the program.

Not only does this shelter help the cats, they help students as well! Students can drop by the shelter to play and socialize with the cats.

“We have tons of students that come throughout the day to either do homework or study, and hang out with the cats in the meantime,” said Fogg.

Through a program called Poly Paws, the shelter holds a free movie night once a quarter for students to watch a movie while playing with the cats. They also collaborate with Stressbusters, a team that puts on events to relieve students’ stress during finals week by bringing some of the cats to the atrium at Kennedy Library each quarter.

The first time I walked into the shelter, a cat named Muffin greeted me, hopped onto my lap, and patiently waited for me to pet her. Most of the cats in the shelter are so friendly and love the attention, so drop by the shelter and check it out! The shelter is located in the H-1 parking lot on Mt. Bishop’s Road, in building 50J.

Since this program is run by volunteers, extra hands are always welcome. Animal science junior Karla Hagedohm receives course credit for interning with the program by taking care of the cats’ medical needs. To volunteer, send an email to CPCPscheduler@gmail.com.

Here are some of the cats I encountered in the shelter.

SloShot Photography/Courtesy of Cal Poly Cat Program 
This is Kona. He is a polydactyl cat,which means he has extra toes. He has seven toes on his front left foot, six on his front right foot and five on the both of his back feet. Cats generally have 19 toes; Kona has 23.
SloShot Photography/Courtesy of Cal Poly Cat Program 
Meet Molly, a three-legged feral cat.
SloShot Photography/Courtesy of Cal Poly Cat Program 
This is Jacob, also known as the toothless wonder.
Courtesy of the Cal Poly Cat Program
Meet Blackie, one of the oldest cats in the shelter. He’s in his 20s now. He was originally a feral cat, brought into the shelter when he was about 16. Now he’s friendly and loves people (and attention!).
To stay updated with the program’s news and events, and to view more pictures of the cats in the shelter, like their Facebook page!
All photos are used by permission of the Cal Poly Cat Program.
Hi everyone! I'm Arinee Rahman, a second year Journalism major at Cal Poly SLO. I love cats, and I love potato. I love potato so much that my cat's name is Potato.
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