Fern finds a new home

Beloved Trinicat removed from campus due to instances of hostility

For many Trinity students, we know the cats around campus as a way to comfort ourselves when we miss our own pets. However, some of the cats appreciate being petted more than others.

Fern, in particular, was a campus favorite because she loved attention and would gladly let anybody pet her. However, due to a hostile encounter with a service dog last spring, the Trinity Cat Alliance decided that it would be best for the campus as a whole if Fern were to find a new home.

“Last year, a student who has a service dog was walking past the area where Fern used to hang out the most, and the service dog — those dogs are always very well-mannered — walked up to the cat, and the cat scratched the dog on the nose,” said Mindy Morales, head of the Trinity Cat Alliance.

However, it was not just this one incident that made the Trinity Cat Alliance have to reevaluate Fern’s position on campus; there was an additional incident with the same service dog.

“The student thought it was maybe a one-time thing, but then a few weeks later she was walking kind of in the same area, and Fern … actually got up and approached the dog and scratched him. So it was not in fear [of the dog]. She was being kind of aggressive,” Morales said.

Such instances caused a reassessment of Fern’s role in the campus ecosystem.

“We have to balance everybody’s needs, and in a campus situation, we’re all here, and we have to see what is going to work for everybody. It didn’t seem fair that any student would have to avoid an area … in order to accommodate an aggressive cat,” Morales said.

The Trinity Cat Alliance didn’t find Fern just any home, though. They had a lot of things they were looking for in Fern’s new parents to make sure that she had the best home possible.

“She was an outdoor cat from at least 2017 and probably longer … and from all of our experience over the years, it [transitioning from being an outdoor cat to an indoor cat] doesn’t work out. The cat ends up either being very aggressive when it’s moved indoors or just becoming depressed. So we knew that we needed to find a place where the cat would at least have a screened-in porch … We would [also] have to find someone with experience with cats, [and who] knows how to manage a cat going through a difficult transition,” Morales said.

The Trinity Cat Alliance ended up finding that home with Carol and Pete Kohrs.

“We had met Fern when we walked on the Trinity campus during [the] spring and summer of 2020. We met the campus cats, [and] Fern was the friendliest of them. One day I met a friend who works at Trinity to walk [on campus], and she asked if I had heard about Fern. I had not, so I thought it was going to be bad news about Fern. I feared the worst, but it was that Fern needed a new home off campus. I told [my husband] about Fern’s needs, and we began to think about it,” Carol Kohrs said.

Now that Fern has finally moved to her new home, she has had to adjust to a new, indoor environment.

Photo courtesy of the Kohrs

“She is unfamiliar with things, and it is funny what she reacts to. She is suspicious of ceiling fans and hates TV. She seems to really like us and enjoys petting. She is flawless in her box use. She doesn’t like if we are too loud or move too fast. She spends a lot of time in the back of our closet, but she has spent every night on our bed,” Carol Kohrs said.

Overall, Fern’s transition could have been a lot worse, and her temperament and ease of transition are largely thanks to all the students who were there for her.

In an email, Mindy Morales thanked all the students “who stopped and petted Fern, who held her in [their] laps, who made sure she got fresh food and water and helped her become the beautiful, trusting cat that she is.”

For all of the Trinity students who love and miss Fern, they can be comforted by the fact that she has found a new home that loves and appreciates her.

“I just wanted to add that we feel honored to take care of this campus favorite and grateful to the community there who must have treated her so well that she is such a friendly cat,” Carol Kohrs said.