There are so many things I love about FSU like its beautiful campus, fun events, and school spirit. Many students can agree on these pros of attending our university unifying us as a community. However, one aspect of FSU that is both hidden and appreciated by students is its campus cats. Students walking to class may see them sitting on ledges, wandering through bushes, or even receiving pets from others in the middle of a walkway.
These cats, around 25 of them, are beloved by the student body. There are Instagram accounts made to document and celebrate them, common names that students have given them, and dedicated animal lovers who spend their days feeding, petting, and taking pictures of them. I’m one of these students, as the FSU campus cats bring me so much joy, especially on stressful days. So, what’s the deal on the FSU campus cats?
Where are they located?
Since there are over a dozen cats on FSU’s 488-acre campus, there isn’t one specific place where they can be seen. Their favorite spots are as varied as the colors they come in! There are small groups of cats around certain spots, such as the Dirac and Kasha buildings, the Woodward Parking Garage, the Psychology Building, and even some who wander across campus.
These are all areas of campus that I frequent a lot due to being a Psychology student. When I’m making the long walk to my classes on this side of campus, I’ll feel super lucky to see my favorite cat outside the Woodward Garage. Her name, chosen by fellow FSU cat lovers, is Tofu. She is an all-white cat with a sweet personality and seeing her always brightens up my day. No matter how early or late I’m running, I absolutely have to stop by, pet her, and take some cute pictures of her. She’s velvety soft, a bit shy, but a star among the cats.
How do I care for them?
Since the FSU cats are all feral and stray cats who have made their way onto campus, they have been trapped, neutered/spayed, and released. They remain at FSU. This is their home, and they have plenty of “fans” who stop by to give them attention and feed them. I enjoy stopping and petting the cats if I happen to see them. I also carry a bag of cat treats in my bag, prepared to stop and lay some on the ground for a kitty to enjoy. I make sure to bring paper plates with me as well and discard any leftover treats or plates that the cat didn’t want to finish. This way, the cats can avoid being surrounded by hordes of ants.
Another way I care for these cats is by bringing them cans of food. As I said, there are plenty of other students who feed them as well, so they are content and full most of the time. However, when one of the kitties seems to be hungry, I open up a can of food and place it on a paper plate. Like the treats, I make sure to throw out any leftover food or plates to avoid ants, and I sit and enjoy the presence of these cats while they enjoy some wet food.
How else do I help support feral cats around the area?
Luckily, there are several amazing organizations that aid injured and stray cats in or around FSU. One example is Meow or Never, a nonprofit organization comprised of volunteers who offer Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services for feral cats, fostering opportunities, and adoption services. I love donating to this amazing organization, as they do such a great job of caring for the beautiful cats in Tallahassee.
Another great organization is the Leon County Humane Society, which provides similar services as Meow or Never. They also educate the community about animals and have a passion for rescuing stray and feral cats. I’m looking to make some time to volunteer here, as I have volunteered at shelters before and loved every minute of it. This humane society’s commitment to keeping the FSU community’s cats safe and cared for is so admirable to me, and I have donated to them as well.
Something I’ll greatly miss once I graduate from Florida State is seeing these lovely campus cats every week. I’m grateful that they have a community of loving students who will care for them for years in the future, but I’ll miss them so much! Tofu, Coconut, Cheddar, and Ragnar, among other cats, are highlights of my college experience as a huge cat lover. I hope everyone at FSU gets the chance to see and spend some time under the Spanish moss trees with them.