When you walk through the portable classrooms at Valle Verde it apparent we are sharing this campus with another group.
The group in question is a cat colony that has made EPCC their home too.
Photos by Evan Hughes / Tejano Tribune
Animal Rescue of Community College (ARCC), for the third year in a row ,
is collecting food and looking for volunteers to care for the free-roaming cat populations.
“We’re feeding several feral colonies between Valle Verde and ASC,” explained Margie Nelson Rodriguez, professor of English and coordinator of the Animal Rescue of Community College.
“Every day we feed between 60-70 cats.”
For the third year the ARCC is collecting cat food and looking for volunteers to care for the free-roaming cat populations.
Donations of wet or dry cat food can be dropped off at Valle Verde B-227 or at the Administrative Services Center A702.
“I noticed them about four or five years ago. It took me about a year to get this program together.
Barbara Williams had recently set up ARCC and together we’ve begun to make an impact,” Rodriguez said.
“We do volunteer hours and have been planning an adoption event,” said president of the ARCC’s club Jared Kays.
“We’ve also been coordinating with student government to have donation bins for our cat food drive in various locations around campus.”
Prior to this opportunity cats of Valle Verde lived with little fresh water and survived off scraps.
Cats at EPCC that have been sterilized and
vaccinated are distinguished by a trimming
of one of their ears.
“We didn’t have an organized, concentrated, or efficient way to feed them. Before this program people would randomly put food for them once a week and nobody thought to provide fresh water and if they drink dirty water they will end up getting sick,” said Rodriguez.
The ARCC works with the Trap-Neuter-Release program to responsibly stop these free-roaming cats from breeding.
Volunteers trap the new cats they’ve been feeding and return them after El Paso Animal Services spays or neuters the animal. Cats that have been sterilized and vaccinated are distinguished by a trimming of one of their ears.
In a study done at the University of Florida after a TNR program was implemented the population of community cats decreased by 66 percent over the 10-year study.
“The other part of the program that we don’t get a ton of assistance with, that we would love is volunteers,” Said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez explained they need help “trapping the cats to get them spayed or neutered. Then you can’t just let them go, they must recover because they’ve been under anesthesia.”
The program also is invested in finding young cats that have a chance to be domesticated. By stopping breeding and collecting kittens the size of the cat colony is contained humanely.
Rodriguez and a few volunteers stumbled onto a litter earlier this year, “in April we rescued six kittens at 5-weeks-old, they’re all still alive and we received donations to have them vaccinated and sterilized,” she said.
“They look so much better, they look healthier, they are healthier. We’re still having some litters… for a while people weren’t doing anything and the cat population exploded,” Rodriguez added.
If you are interested in volunteering in feeding or trapping the cats contact Faculty Advisor Barbara Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or Margie Nelson Rodriguez at email@example.com.