When I visited the community cat colonies living at the UWC campus in Cape Town this year, it warmed my heart to witness the dedication of the volunteers and staff of TUCAT (The University Feral cat Project). That Spring, the University got caught up in student protests on campus and as always, it’s the innocent animals that suffer the consequences that follow. Some cats went missing or were displaced, and with the student holidays and skeleton staff, it was a challenge trying to track them down and ensure that all the cat colonies were fed. But with the help of everyone from the volunteers, campus caretakers, and the security guards, the cats never missed a meal. The TUFCAT campus cats call this university their home and are loved by many!
We’re excited to announce that our Chirpy Cats 2018 calendar is now on sale for purchase. It features some cats at the University as well as the TUFCAT Home for Life Sanctuary, situated near the picturesque Overberg mountains of the Western Cape, surrounded by fruit farms. The sanctuary also takes in any animal whose owner has died, with no relatives to care for them as well as cats unfit for adoption. You may have read Mr. Spunky’s story, who is now a happy permanent resident at the sanctuary and king of his castle.
Your purchase will help fund their TNR program which has been going strong for over two decades. They also find homes for unwanted stray cats and dogs, and educate students, as well as offering advice to the general public about feral cats and animals in general. Their program has helped change perceptions about community cats and upon registration, the students are asked to sign an acknowledgment that the campus is the home of the feral cats and should be embraced as part of the campus community.
These days it’s common to see photos of the cats shared on students’ social media accounts. In fact, it was through students sharing photos that TUFCAT staff had found out the whereabouts of precious King, a ginger who went missing for a month from his normal location outside the snack bar. It was a happy ending when they learned he was safe and being wowed with tuna snacks from students at a different residence! Perhaps King wanted to rule all seven cat kingdoms!
TUFCAT’s mission is to “help animals and to continue caring for and maintaining the feral cat colonies that live on the UWC campus.”
I made a special visit to the campus in the hopes of catching a glimpse of these not-so-bashful beauties. I recall walking around the campus with Sharyn, sociologist, and founder of TUFCAT, and being greeted by the smiling face of one of the caretakers. He could tell us in detail which sections were fed, which cats were last seen at which building or bush, and of a litter of black kittens last seen on the roof of one of the residents. Despite the aftermath of the protests and the fact that it was summer vacation, I was impressed that the cats were in such good hands and being well cared for.
And then I met Skeeltjie.
He’s a handsome silver tabby who looked a bit shy at first, but when I crouched down low and made blinky eyes, he stopped and wondered about this curious human. Skeeltjie is so named as he has a gorgeous squint; it means “squint eyes” in Afrikaans. He stared at me as if he was ready to tell me his whole life story if I was willing to sit and listen. I did, and he graciously allowed me to take his picture.
Cozy condos are a must-have to stay warm, dry and protected during the rainy months.
Just a cat crossing a road for some food; a common sight at the campus.
Would you like to sponsor a feral cat or simply to give a donation to The UWC Feral Cat Project? Click on the badge below to see how you can contribute to maintaining the care needed for the feral cats to live enriched outdoor lives in their natural environment. For more information about their successful TNR program visit them at TUFCAT. There is no shortage of sweet cat stories and happy endings on their Facebook and Instagram accounts so go take a peek!
If you would like to purchase a calendar and help save lives please visit our Zazzle shop to take advantage of the deals of the day using the special promo codes available.