About the Feral Cat Program

The SMU Feral Cat Program works in conjunction with KittiCo Cat Rescue to help the homeless cats on the SMU campus. It’s important to distinguish between feral cats and strays; Strays are domesticated cats who have lost their way, but respond to humans; ferals are not domesticated and usually avoid getting too close to humans. Our volunteers consist of faculty, staff, students, emeritus, alumni, and community members who monitor, evaluate, and provide humane care for the campus feral cats. SMU joins universities across the country in using the veterinarian-approved TNR system for managing the cat population. About 60 feral cats populate 13 established colonies on the SMU campus and university property.

Facts about the SMU Feral Cat Program:

  • The SMU program currently manages approximately 57 feral cats campus-wide, from the Meadows Museum to Life Sciences, Central Expy to Hillcrest.
  • We have about a 90% spay/neuter/vaccination rate, and our efforts are continuous. Our goal is to spay/neuter every cat on campus.
  • In the past 5 years, the number of cats on campus has dropped by almost 50%.
  • The presence of the Feral Cat Program on campus brings grant money to the university.
  • We are fully supported by The Office of the President and The Office of Legal Affairs.

How does a managed feral cat colony work?

  • Trap – Trained Program team members humanely trap the cats. Program traps will have identification labels.
  • Neuter – The cats are taken to a veterinarian where they are spayed or neutered. Their left ear is “tipped” (has the point cut flat) so people will recognize that the cat has been seen by a vet, has received a rabies vaccination, and has been sterilized.
  • Return – The cats are returned to their colony and Program volunteers who agree to provide them with food and water.

What are the alternatives?

  • Do Nothing – Uncontrolled breeding will create an unmanageable population.
  • Trap & Kill – Aside from being inhumane, this approach is not a solution.  The problem is everywhere.  More cats will simply move in to fill the void and start the cycle over again.
  • Find homes for the cats – This approach is not realistic. Feral adults cannot be socialized to humans to the point where they are able to find homes as pets. Local animal shelters and adoption facilities do not work with ferals.
  • Relocation – There is no other place for them to go, and if you remove them, un-sterilized, unvaccinated cats will come to take their place.

How to start a feral cat program on your own campus.

Mission Statement

The Feral Cat Program works to

  • provide as healthy an environment as possible for all populations of the university by providing humane care to the feral cats on campus.
  • limit the number of feral cats on campus by implementing a Trap, Neuter and Return protocol.
  • educate concerned individuals about feral cat populations and their place in the ecosystem.
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