Although UFV’s infamous cat family may have left campus, that doesn’t mean they’ve left the UFV community.
Last October, a cat with kittens was found on UFV’s Abbotsford campus and after an extensive search the family was rescued. Dana Landry, a professor in UFV’s communications department has adopted the cat.
Landry first saw the cat in the fall semester near the picnic tables outside of B building.
“I was outside visiting someone that smokes, and this cat just came running out of the bush,” she said. “It sounds so cheesy, but she literally bounded out of the darkness and into the light. Right away, I was like, I want that cat. I don’t even know why, I just really wanted her.”
Although no one knows exactly how long, the cat had already been living on campus with her kittens for several months.
“I learned that she had been there awhile and people knew about her already and everything,” Landry said. “I saw her a few times just when I’d visit friends or whatever, and she’d come along. I just liked her right away.”
Members of the UFV community, namely in food services, had started feeding the cat. Sherry, a manager at the campus Tim Hortons was one of them.
“I tried to grab her, and then Sherry said ‘Oh, she has kittens,’ and she told me that they had been taking care of her,” Landry said.
It didn’t take long until the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) was called and a campus-wide search for the cat was launched.
As a full-time volunteer trapper with VOKRA, Anne Salomon has seen her fair share of unique rescue missions. But she noted that none have compared to the one at UFV.
“It made it different because of the location, time of year, and vastness of the campus,” she said.
The rescue was confused further even after the cat was initially found and brought to a shelter where she was spayed. She had to be returned after VOKRA learned that she had kittens, which were only between five and six weeks old at the time, still on campus.
“We had to return her to the site two days after she was spayed because during the spay we noticed that she had milk, which meant that she had tiny kittens out there,” Salomon said. “We hate doing that, but we had to make sure she would go find her kittens and feed them, and eventually maybe bring them to the feeding station.”
Feeding stations were set up at various locations on or close to campus to trap the cat and kittens, and were checked regularly by Salomon and several VOKRA volunteers, as well as members of the UFV community, and even a bus driver.
“I remember being out there, the power was out on the whole campus that night, and it was 10 o’clock at night and I had five traps set,” Salomon explained. “I went down to Tim Hortons to warm up and I came back, and I got all five kittens in one go that night. I’ll never forget it. I cried, you have no idea.”
After learning that the cat and kittens had been rescued, Landry contacted VOKRA immediately to apply for adoption.
“Because of Sherry, I managed to get into the process before the cat was in circulation,” she said. “If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have.”
“I tried to not be really invested in it, so I just threw it out there. I got in touch with the woman, and then I didn’t really pursue it, I just wanted to see what happened, she had to wait for the kittens to be old enough anyway. Then I got another email asking if I was still interested.”
On Nov. 25 Landry brought the cat, now named Sofie, home.
“She’s totally awesome, she’s very chill and lovey. It’s been awesome and I’m really glad I did it,” she said. “She’s fat, all she does is sleep and eat now. She’s very playful at night. I lay awake at four in the morning and listen to her play with cords and unplug things and jump on tables and hit things off.”
As for the kittens, named Oliver, Twist, Sassifrass, Stormy, and Cousteau, they’ve all found their own forever homes as well.
Salomon noted that the rescue was only made possible with help from the UFV community — and that anyone that spots cats on campus should contact security by calling 1-855-239-7654.
“That was one of the most frustrating, emotional, happy rescues I have ever been involved in,” Salomon said. “We say it takes a village, and it really took a village to get all this.”
“So the moral of the story is that if anyone sees cats, to speak up. If people do see cats or kittens, they are to let security know and they have our number.”