Purr-manent housing for purr-fect pets


Photo Courtesy of Purrs and Spurs

This cat, Beans, is currently available for adoption. If interested in adopting contact Purrs and Spurs at [email protected].

Purrs and Spurs is an organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the well-being of feral cats on campus.

The Purrs and Spurs organization follows the “Trap-Neuter-Return” method in order to educate campus residents and community members on the importance of taking care of stray animals in a humane manner.

Purrs and Spurs organization focuses solely on providing food, water and shelter for stray cats around the Stephenville campus. This student-run organization was originally founded in Fall 2012.

The organization utilizes a Trap-Neuter-Return method that maintains the health of the cats, as well as preventing new litters of kittens from being born.

Aside from providing for feral cats, the organization teaches members of the community how to properly care for feral cats. The organization also encourages pet owners to educate themselves on the Trap-Neuter-Return method.

“The program was envisioned by a student for a technical writing project in 2012 and was established after proposing the program to the Student Affairs Department and other entities necessary for the approval process. The program is much the same as it was when it originated; we do have some very enthusiastic members now,” Purrs and Spurs Advisor, Dr. Jeanelle Barrett, said. “If anything, I would say that the makeup of the membership is much more broad than it was in the beginning. Students from all disciplines have made up the numbers recently and it’s exciting to see. We have a very enthusiastic and compassionate executive committee and that helps a great deal.”

Volunteers are trained to safely trap and transport cats to local veterinary clinics. Volunteers that are designated to one feral cat colony are referred to as “Colony Caregivers”. Their mission is to provide food and water to the cats in their specific colony, as well as report any new cats or kittens they might see near their colony.

The organization is open to all students and membership can be granted to any student that attends the monthly Wednesday meetings and pays the $20 dues. Membership is open all year long and information about meetings can be found on Texan Sync.

Students and members of the Stephenville community are encouraged to help the organization in any way possible. There is currently a group of supporters on campus that regularly aid in taking over feedings when students leave campus for extended periods of time. These are everyday animal lovers who have done a phenomenal job helping take care of the cats after the university shut down last spring. Many of the volunteers consist of staff, faculty members and people from the Stephenville community.

Purrs and Spurs is also open to taking donations of any kind, whether it be food, time or even a feral cat. The organization is constantly striving to better itself,
by aiding as many homeless cat situations as possible.

The organization’s most needed supplies include: newspaper, copy paper, spill resistant bowls, hand sanitizer, Walmart gift cards, heavy duty gloves, canned cat food, dry cat food and zip ties. For those that wish to lend a helping hand, the organization also accepts building supplies and completed shelters. Monetary donations are also accepted, via mail or through hand delivery to, room 327, in the O. A. Grant Humanities building. Aside from donating, adoption is also an option to help the stray cats and Purrs and Spurs.

“On rare occasions cats have been adopted, but as these are feral cats, they aren’t always socialized enough to be adopted. Every once in a while we have one who is better socialized and has been adopted,” Barrett said.

One issue that many pet owners face each year is the matter of proper pet care during drastic weather changes. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way animal care should be handled. During the sweltering Texas heat, the best way to maintain the wellbeing of the cats is to provide as much water as possible.

Due to the fact that cats are fairly low maintenance animals, heat fluctuations pose less of an issue, however, as the cold season approaches, Purrs and Spurs’ main focus is to prepare each shelter with more insulation. Aside from the extreme weather conditions, both hot and cold, maintaining the safety of the cats is quite easy.

As far as COVID-19 is concerned, there have been no major changes to how they operate. The services the organization provides is very low-contact and COVID-19 has yet to pose a threat to the members safety. In the past six months, the safety of the campus cats has yet to be challenged. Each of Tarleton’s feline friends has remained happy and healthy and as long as students and community members continue to provide their services, the wellbeing of each stray cat will be maintained.

“Since its founding in 2012, we have probably trapped, neutered and returned 15 to 20 cats. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, the trapping is always difficult because cats are rather wary, especially the feral ones,” Barrett said.

Although only eight years old, Purrs and Spurs has continued to serve as a humane society, that not only rehabilitates feral cats, but also brings together Tarleton students from all around. This student-run organization is both all-inclusive, as well as knowledgeable about the proper care needed for the rehabilitation of feral and homeless cats. Whether students choose to donate, volunteer or join the cause, Purrs and Spurs is an all-inclusive club that aids in the wellbeing of stray cats on campus.

Purrs and Spurs is dedicated to doing an essential job on campus, as the stray cats population needs their supervision and care in order for the cats on campus to be as healthy, as safe and their population as under control as possible.