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Aggie Feral Cat Alliance of Texas

Aggie Feral Cat Alliance of Texas

What, exactly, is a "feral" cat?

A feral cat can be defined as any cat too wild or unsocialized to be kept in a typical pet home. These cats are often born in the wild!

Have you seen feral cats on campus?

At Texas A&M University, colonies of feral or un-owned cats live on campus property. While the exact numbers are not known, the population is estimated to be in the hundreds. Physical Plant reports feral/un-owned cat colonies in the vicinities of the Kyle Field football stadium, the campus power plant, Physical Plant parking lot, Sbisa Dining Center, North Area Dormitories and in and around trash dumpsters which people frequently leave open.

Picture of feral cats on campus

Many of the feral cats at Texas A&M were originally "owned" pets of students and neighbors of the university. These well intentioned owners were probably not prepared for the many responsibilities of pet ownership, including the cost of food and supplies, veterinary care, and the time commitment. Other cats are the result of generations of breeding among the campus' existing feral cat population.

Typically, cats in College Station's warm climate can be expected to have two to three litters of four to eight kittens per year. Because many of these cats are not socialized or tame, they cannot be caught and placed in homes. They are just too wild for close contact with humans.

What is AFCAT?

The Aggie Feral Cat Alliance of Texas (AFCAT) is a volunteer group of students, staff, and faculty from the TAMU campus. AFCAT's main goal is to work closely with the university in order to provide care and long-term management of feral cats on campus. In addition, AFCAT tries to decrease one potential source of feral cats - local strays - by providing educational information on the costs and commitment of responsible pet ownership. To join AFCAT, the only requirement is an interest in helping!

The AFCAT program has the following 5 key parts:

  • Humane capture of feral cats on campus, identification, testing for infectious diseases, vaccination, spay/neuter, and re-release to their capture location for care and maintenance by designated AFCAT caretakers.
  • Establishment and maintenance of feeding locations where AFCAT volunteers provide regular meals and observe the feral cats daily.
  • Foster care and rehabilitation of kittens and socialized adult cats. These "Aggie Cats" will be adopted out to carefully screened owners.
  • Understanding the feral cat lifestyle and providing better care by monitoring their behavior using radio telemetry collars.
  • Community information on the local pet overpopulation problem and education on the costs and commitment of responsible pet ownership.

This joint effort is modeled after Stanford University's highly successful and humane program to control and manage feral cat populations on their campus. A similar program is in place at the University of Texas. A small-scale version was initially implemented successfully at Texas A&M University's dairy barns, effectively controlling the dairy barn cat population while preserving the all-natural rodent management services of the cats.

For your information:

  • Traps for this program will be identified by AFCAT placards.
  • Cats in this program will receive the best and most humane care available. They will be identified by painless ear notches.
  • Remember these cats are wild - if you try to touch them they will bite!
  • AFCAT feeding stations are being established around campus. Please do not feed cats outside these areas. If you are currently feeding cats, we would like you to join us - we will provide free Purina cat food for the feral cats.
  • Personal pets are not allowed on campus or in dormitories per University policy.

How you can help:

  • If you are feeding cats on campus, let us know. We are interested in the number and condition of cats at your location, and we can provide you with cat food.
  • If you are interested in becoming a campus cat feeder/caretaker, contact us.
  • Please notify us if there are cats living in your area of campus. We would like to enroll them in our program.
  • If you are a TAMU student, staff, or faculty member, you can become an AFCAT volunteer.
  • Persons living off campus can apply to adopt an Aggie kitten of their own!
  • Counsel your friends and family on the responsibilities of pet ownership. Many people underestimate the costs and time commitment an animal requires.

How to contact AFCAT:

Phone: (979) 862-4569 or (979) 450-5467
E-mail: AFCAT@cvm.tamu.edu
Mail: Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
TAMU 4458
College Station, TX 77843-4458

New community partnership:

Due to the cooperation received from campus volunteers, senior veterinary students, and a long list of supporters, the AFCAT program has been largely successful in controlling the number of cats on the A&M campus. However, the A&M campus is not the only home to feral cat colonies. The success of AFCAT sparked the interest of several Bryan/College Station community members who recognized the need for a feral cat management program in the Brazos County area. In order to promote the non-lethal control of feral cat populations in the Bryan/College Station area, these community members decided to form a similar organization called Brazos Feral Cat Allies.