Wednesday, March 18, 2009

University of West Georgia Offers Helping Hand

CampusCATS is making it safe for cats, kittens and people on the University of West Georgia campus. A relatively new nonprofit and all-volunteer organization, the group is dedicated to the management of homeless cats residing on the UWG campus.

Working in the Risk Management/Environmental Health and Safety sector of the university, Ineke Abunawass is on a mission to make it less risky for cats, kittens and the people that share the campus with them.

She, along with Tara Pearson at Institutional Research and Planning, and Dr. Elaine MacKinnon, professor of history, saw a need to curtail the feline population in a humane way and helped start CampusCATS in the fall of 2007.

Truly a team effort, associate Professor of Art Deborah Santini and graduate student Maresia Pauly created a logo to help define and refine CampusCAT’s identity.

Over the winter holidays Abunawass helped commandeer a mass trapping of the cats who call the UWG campus home.

“We generally find kittens that are young enough to easily integrate into a family home,” Abunawass said. “We also find cats that are happy to remain outdoors and, as expert rodent hunters, could be a welcome addition to any barn.”

The late fall and winter months are an ideal time for the trapping because the time frame is between kitten seasons where mother cats will not be nursing. A strong effort to neuter will also reduce the population spike during the spring and summer months.

All cats are spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies and distemper. There is also no adoption fee, although donations are accepted.

CampusCATS has developed into an efficient and effective cat control on the university grounds. The group joined forces with the Carroll County Humane Society, which brought CampusCATS under the organizational umbrella. One of the benefits this connection provides is the ability to capitalize on an already established 501(c)3 program and allow donations to CampusCATS to be tax deductable.

The biggest challenge for the organizers is fundraising and recruiting volunteers. This spring, CampusCATS will need volunteers to help with the kitten population. The community can help through donations of cat food, time and/or money. For more information, call 678-839-5546.

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