The BYU-Hawaii Cat Club is seeking students to help control the cat population on campus. The Cat Club catches, feeds, and neuters cats to reduce the cat surplus on campus, said club officials.
BYUH Cat Club Vice President Cyra Olsen, a senior from Texas majoring in international cultural studies, explained how Hawaii is the No. 1 state for cat overpopulation, and BYU-Hawaii is no exception to that problem.
According to BYUH Cat Club Advisor Tatyana Lukov, the cat population on campus has never been controlled because cats were being caught and killed, which didn’t fix the problem. Olsen said, “We want to help moderate the cat population, and fix the adult cats that already have territory on campus so that more don’t come in and make the cycle continue. We also get kittens fixed and adopted out.”
Lukov said, “Very often, not only students, but also people are just annoyed and they say, ‘Stop feeding the cats,’ but if you don’t feed them, then they’ll go to more fertile places where they can find food and won’t stay here. We want them to stay here, because they’re already fixed and they will not allow other cats to come. They keep their territory.”
According to the BYUH Cat Club President Lilly Otbontuya Tumursuki, a freshman from Mongolia studying molecular biology, the club was founded this year and had 44 members sign up at World Fest. She explained how the club needs student’s help in fund raising and feeding the cats on campus.
“Cat food is expensive, and we need to feed the cats because it’s helping the school,” Tumursuki said. “We want to raise the funds to help.” She explained how fund raisers would provide help to pay for cat food, medical expenses and traps.
Lukov said she has been paying the costs out of her own pocket. Since February, she has trapped 42 cats and kittens on her own and taken them to the Poi Dogs and Popoki clinic to be fixed. She also explained how the younger kittens are put up for adoption, while the older ones are put back on campus to keep other cats out. “All kittens, except two older ones, have been adopted.
She said she drives around every single night and feeds the cats, and because of this, she has developed a relationship with the cats on campus.
“We are currently feeding 14 on the main campus. Only one is not fixed,” she continued. “But, I’m sure there are many more I don’t know of. That’s why I need help from students who are on campus.”
The Cat Club was created to continue what Lukov said she has been doing since February. She explained how time consuming it can be by herself and how club members can help lighten her load.
“It’s really difficult and sometimes I get so discouraged and I feel like there’s no end like I can’t do it anymore,” Lukov said. “It’ll be really helpful to have more people. It’s not a one-person job. It’s seriously not. It’s overwhelming.”
The presidency members said they hope the club will grow and more students will become involved in feeding the cats every night.
“We also want to expand and hopefully do more complex activities in the future,” said Olsen. “But right now, we are just trying to establish ourselves as a club and promote our cause to help take care of this beautiful campus and all the creatures that live here as well.”