There is no question that animal-lovers abound on campus. However, compassion toward our community cats and dogs must be applied with judicious knowledge of animal care.
To help control our animal population on campus and create a better environment for both humans and animals, here are some dos and don’ts of responsible pet ownership:
If you are a building administrator or are a student/faculty/staff member who cares for the animals in your building:
• Do not feed the cats and dogs indiscriminately. Feed them only at designated times and in a designated place a safe distance from the building. This will train the animals not to scavenge or beg for food, or otherwise make pests of themselves.
• Do close off all entry points to keep animals outside the building itself.
• Do train a cat to avoid a certain place, e.g., a kitchen or dining area, by using a spray bottle to spray their rear ends with water. Also, cats hate the smell of vinegar and anything citrus, so you can put small containers of vinegar or citrus peelings in the area.
• Do respect the cats’ individual personalities and teach the other humans to do so. Some cats like being petted and cuddled by humans. Some cats do not. With cats, as with humans, “no” means no.
• Do get your all your building cats spayed/neutered and vaccinated as soon as possible. Contact FOCA through Prof. Khrysta Rara of the Department of Journalism or through their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/UPFOCA/.
If you are an individual pet owner:
• Do take care of your pet’s health needs. This means getting them spayed/neutered and vaccinated as soon as possible. Male kittens and puppies as young as three or four months can be neutered, while female kittens and puppies can be spayed at six to eight months.
• Do make sure your dogs get enough exercise by walking them on a leash. In case they poop, scoop it up so others won’t step on it.
• Do not let your pet wander around outside. Keep your pet within your home. This decreases the risk of your pet getting run over or injured or, if he/she is still intact, reproducing.
• Do provide for the basic needs of your pet, such as clean water, healthy food, regular baths and regular check-ups at the vet.
• Do have a disaster plan for your pet. Have a proper-sized cage or leash ready, along with around five-days’ supply of food, and pet identification and vaccination records. In case of sudden evacuation, do not tie your dog or cat to a post or a tree. Instead, let them loose and give them a chance to swim or run to safety.
• Do not let your pet be a bother to others. This means cleaning up their poop during walks, not letting them roam around, and training them if they have some behavioral problems.
Always remember: Taking care of a pet is not a right, but a responsibility.