Cat Alliance provides care despite pandemic


Photo credit: Kate Nuelle

photo by Kate Nuelle

When one looks around the Trinity campus, they will see the normal college things: students, professors and, obviously, cats. Alright, cats are probably a less common fixture of college campuses.

However, one would never know that from looking at Trinity. At Trinity, we have a cat community over 20 strong, and that is largely thanks to the Trinity Cat Alliance.

Mindy Morales, CAT board member, spoke about the purpose of the Cat Alliance. “The purpose is to make sure all of the cats are spayed, neutered, vaccinated and cared for daily,” Morales said.

San Antonio has a large stray cat and dog problem, and the Trinity Cat Alliance is working to rectify it. Sofia Hernandez, a Cat Alliance feeder, praised the Cat Alliance’s track record.

“Since 2009, the Trinity Cat Alliance has had zero population, where 95% of the cats are sterilized. Practice trap, neuter release. Identifying a stray cat, get them neutered and fixed and then turn them back to the location you tracked them so no new cats can move in,” Hernandez said.

The Cat Alliance’s practices have led to our own little cat community on campus, which also means that we have a lot of cats to take care of. The Cat Alliance also takes that responsibility and has come up with a system of feeding them that relies on student participation.

“Students, faculty and staff get together a schedule every semester with places to sign up. There are 10 stations; the cats are fed once or twice a day, depending on how old the cat is,” said Morales.

“At the beginning of the semester, we send out a notice to return feeders and have them sign up for the shift they want. Next, we send it out to first-years and tell them anybody who wants to be involved in Cat Alliance can sign up. Usually works out that we [get] the same amount of volunteers as shifts,” Morales said.

Not much has changed with the Cat Alliance, except that there are fewer people on campus. This means that the Cat Alliance is relying more on first-years, the class mostly on campus, to feed the cats, and they have really stepped up.

“There are fewer social activities, so this is one group they can be a part of that is pretty safe, so this year’s students have really put their all into it. They have more time. Only about 10 returning students [have been helping us]. First-years have been fabulous,” Morales said.

Without the first years, it is unlikely that all of the cats would be fed. Hernandez spoke about the importance of first-years’ contributions this year. “Since a lot of people aren’t here, mostly [first-years] feeding them and making sure the cats are being fed,” Hernandez said.

Some stations would not be attended to without the first-years’ contributions. Madeleine West, a Cat Alliance feeder, spoke about the importance of the first-years’ contributions. “For certain stations only [first-years] can feed them,” West said.

However, as much as the Trinity Cat Alliance does for the cats on campus, the cats do just as much for the campus community.

“The cats bring a homie kind of feel. This warm feeling, like you’ve traveled a hundred or thousand miles from where you are from and you are missing your animals. I’ve been able to adapt more to the Trinity environment having these little cat creatures everywhere,” West said.

And as the members of the Cat Alliance can attest, Trinity students are not alone in feeling the connections to our Trinity cats. “As much as we love the cats, they feel that in return,” Hernandez said.

It is not just the members of the Cat Alliance that get to feel this affection. “Now that the students have returned, they [the Trinity cats] are very happy. They get very lonely in summer and get happy when students return. A few of [the] cats were very stressed out with the students gone for so long,” Morales said.

Thanks to the Trinity Cat Alliance, the Trinity cats have claimed students as much as students have claimed them. It is comforting to know that even during a pandemic, the Trinity cats are here to stay.