University students may be donating money to a local no-kill pet shelter thanks to a cat that was living in a drainage system near Austin Hall,  and efforts to help him by the residents of Austin Hall, a freshman student and her orientation counselor.

The stray cat lived where the drainage system underneath Dougherty drains out near Austin Hall. The cat was seen wandering around the bushes near the residence hall. Students from the dorm took notice of the cat and warmed up to it immediately.

“It was a young cat,”  freshman Laeka Brenninkmeyer says.  “It wasn’t a kitten, but it wasn’t an adult cat either, so we called it a catten.”

Though no one can pinpoint its exact day of arrival, students and faculty had seen the small grey cat around Austin Hall for a while.

“People have been seeing the cat since day one,” says Alexandra Ma, the freshman who later took the cat to a local shelter. “I remember that the last day of orientation, I was on my way to O’Dwyer, and I saw the cat wandering around.”

For several weeks, students fed Belle Air grilled chicken breast to the cat, and Milo made himself at home. Pretty soon, however, students started to worry about Milo’s safety with winter coming on.

An anonymous Austin resident set out to raise money for the cat and created a donation webpage with a goal of $200.  This was the ideal amount because it would be the cost of one visit to a veternarian for a standard cat check-up.

The webpage explained that the donations would be used to get Milo to a vet and to get him proper bedding until a permanent home could be found. In one month, 14 people donated and $185 was raised.  However, about three weeks ago, Francis Cunningham, an Orientation counselor, brought to Ma’s attention the importance of finding Milo a home before the winter. Cunningham and Ma spontaneously devised an action plan.  Ma would take the cat to her residence hall and hold it for a night, and the next day Cunningham would find a car in which they would drive to a local no-kill pet shelter that would take Milo in.

“I took him in on a Monday night,” Ma says. “I was happy that no one was in O’Dwyer so that I could sneak the cat in.”

Milo stayed in Ma’s room for one night and the next day, she and Cunningham drove to Francis Vale Home for Smaller Animals, which accepted Milo.

“Because the shelter was already full, the owner was hesitant at first, but then she accepted him,” she says.

Milo has been living at that shelter for about three weeks, and now a student named Alborz Lordgooei has expressed interest in adopting the cat. He went to the shelter to talk to the owner, and she told him they had to keep Milo a little longer to get him neutered. After that, he can fill out an adoption form online.

“They said there is no adoption cost because they’re a non-profit,” Lordgooei writes. “But the suggested donation is $150.”

“Maybe they’ll use the money they raised for the donation,” sophomore Corey Gaston says.

With that hope in mind students are happy Milo has been placed in a safe home. for now, and maybe a University home in the future.


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