Duke Administration: Protect Duke's campus cats. They are part of our family.
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Duke has a number of cats that live on campus and enjoy treats from students and provide us stress relief, moral support, and love in return. Over the years, they have become more and more tame and are now part of Duke's family. Two cats in particular, Peaches and Mamabean, live around the Duke residential dorms and are much beloved by students with a Facebook page dedicated to caring for them with over 700 people, mostly students but also containing community members and alumni who love the cats. These cats are always there for the students and have been called by many students "better than CAPS", which is the counseling services at student health that Duke provides. However, Duke administration currently does not even recognize or support the presence of these cats on campus. Veterinary bills to care for the cats have been fundraised via a GoFundMe launched by students which raised over $1800 to get the cats vaccinated, microchipped, etc. Given the enormous positive impact these cats have on the Duke community, it's time that Duke administration joins the student body in recognizing them as part of our family. We have three main conditions we'd like the cats to be protected under:
- Winter housing for the cats will be available in a heated cat house and will be available every year. Should temperatures drop to extreme colds, Duke will temporarily authorize a student to keep the cats in their dorm, provided the student takes responsibility for any damages to the room.
- Unless an emergency arises, Duke administration will not attempt to remove the cats from campus in any way and will allow them to live peacefully. One designated student will be responsible for communicating with Duke administration and providing records of vaccination, spay/neuter, etc.
- Food provided in food bowls for the cats will not be disturbed unless a sanitation issue arises, in which case Duke administration may communicate with the designated student overseeing the cat feeding if the situation is not immediately resolved.
- Duke will provide up to $400 a year to care for the cats' renewal of vaccines and medical expenses. This may be provided in the form of funding for a student club chartered by SOFC, which we are in the process of getting approval for.
We believe these cats are critical for the mental and emotional well-being of many students on campus and we would like Duke to recognize the important role they play. These conditions are essential for protection of these beloved members of the Duke family, but we are open to negotiating with Duke administration if they believe any of them are unreasonable or present safety concerns.
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