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UWC Feral Cat Project (TUFCAT) – Bellville, Western Cape

| October 2, 2010


The UWC Feral Cat Project (TUFCAT)

The UWC Feral Cat Project is a Trap-Sterilize-Release and feeding programme for the 120 feral cats living on the campus. Homes are also found for tame cats and kittens that are often dumped near the feral colonies.

Contact Person: Sharyn Spicer


Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Modderdam Road

Postal Address:
Private Bag X17

Contact Details:
Tel: + 27 21 715 1125
Tel:+ 27 21 959 3022

Banking Details:
Account Name: TUFCAT
Bank: Nedbank
Account Number: 2011093155 (Savings)
Branch: Constantia
Branch Code: 101109

The UWC Feral Cat Project (TUFCAT) is now officially registered as a non-profit organization (NPO). This is a huge step forward for TUFCAT as it means we now have a constitution, members and even a bank account! This formalisation became essential in order for us to apply for and secure donations of cat food. In addition, we hope it will enhance our credibility and profile so that we are better able to realise all our objectives. An added bonus for our members and supporters is that as a registered NPO, any donations made to TUFCAT are tax deductible. Our first priority is always cat food and every single cent raised is used to feed the 160 cats living on the main campus as well as the off-campus colonies living at residences in Belhar and Bellville South. For more details on how you can help, see our wish list and banking details at the end of this newsletter.


For the past 12 years, it has been only two of us (one with a full time job and one with a business to run) who have been responsible for securing donations of cat food. This has not always been possible and when the donations dry up, we have no other option but to buy the food ourselves. Without donations, this can mean digging into our own pockets for up to 400kg of dry cat food every month! In addition, we spend a minimum of 12 hours a week feeding the cats. When we are trapping for sterilization, this can go up to 25 hours a week! We have also, over the years, rescued and removed literally hundreds of dumped domestic pets (cats, dogs, kittens & puppies) from the campus, and wherever possible, have found new homes for them. All of this has basically become a full-time job of its own and neither of us is able to continue at the pace we have been. TUFCAT needs to become self-sustainable; a project beyond Sharyn and Janine. To this end we are looking for someone to take over the responsibilities of the project including the feeding of the cats in 2009. As an organization, TUFCAT will be responsible for paying this person from funds to be raised. Some potential candidates have been identified and we will keep you updated on this pressing issue.


Another exciting bit of news is that TUFCAT finally has a website, which went live a few weeks ago! Although up and running, the site is still under construction and funds are yet to be raised to pay for its design and the initial setup fees. An essential tool for any charity, the website will enable us to keep people updated about our activities as well as being a way for us to appeal to animal lovers, and particularly to cat lovers, looking for a way to assist. It will also be used to help us realise our ultimate dream of setting up a sanctuary for unwanted and abandoned cats. Unofficially, we already run a small sanctuary, but there seems to be a growing number of cats (and dogs) needing our help. Whether due to the current economic climate, immigration or other, we have the bare minimum when it comes to space and resources and actually cannot take in any more. We need help to be able to help more animals! Visit and see what you can do to help.


Although my proposal of operating a secondhand bookshop on campus to raise funds for TUFCAT has not been accepted by UWC for various reasons, the university has agreed to help with the Project in other significant ways. We will continue to have secondhand book and magazine sales on campus whenever we can to raise funds as these sales not only generate a significant amount of revenue for the Project, they are also extremely popular with the students who are ecstatic at being given the opportunity to buy books at such low prices. So remember, if you are moving house or just clearing space, get rid of some old books and mags by donating them to TUFCAT. Not only are you helping the cats, you are also playing a part in encouraging the students to read. To donate, contact Sharyn on or 021 715 1125 or 072 010 4032.

Our next sale will be on Thursday 26th February 2009, 12-2pm (outside the Student Centre).


A large number of tame, domestic cats and kittens were dumped on campus throughout the year and although we managed to find homes for all 38 of them, the amount of cats and kittens dumped during the December holidays was unprecedented and has really set us back. Like all other animal rescue groups, we are currently experiencing a really bad period and are still trying to help several cats that were dumped in the vac. I can honestly say that we have never experienced a situation like this and are desperately needing good, permanent homes for these cats. These abandoned, tame, domestic pets actually wreak havoc with the resident ferals as many of them have kittens they are trying to protect. They monopolise the food and shelters, preventing the feral cats from eating. In addition, they are rarely sterilized and their offspring are usually wild from having had no human contact. This then sets us back significantly in terms of the trapping and sterilising programme.

We also managed to help a number of dogs last year with a total of 8 dogs and 4 puppies rescued and homed, and only one very sick puppy that was put to sleep. In one instance, during winter last year, an entire family of dachshunds (mother, father and 4 tiny pups – their eyes not even open yet) were dumped in the pouring rain, on an open field between UWC and Hector Petersen Residence in Belhar. Fortunately an extremely caring security guard who patrols the area contacted us to fetch them after which they were all taken to TEARS who found wonderful homes for the lot. Something needs to be done to prevent UWC from being used as a dumpsite for unwanted pets. We have plans to distribute flyers and put up posters (emphasising that it is not only morally wrong but illegal to abandon an animal) and the “On Campus” newspaper will be running a story to create awareness. Notices have been posted via email to the entire campus community and security services have been informed to be more vigilant about unauthorised people bringing animals onto campus.


Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has donated their services and their time to helping the Project as well as to those who have so generously given money, cat food, magazines, shelters and books to TUFCAT. Thanks in particular to Dr Lesley I’ons of Southfield Veterinary Clinic for your dedication to helping the UWC cats and also to Carol and Angela – you are the best! For donations of food, big and small, regular and once-off, we’d also like to thank the following:

Pets Welcome SA (publishers of The South African Pet-friendly Directory); Nestlé PURINA; Cheryl-Anne Michaels (English Dept. UWC); Western Province Cat Club; Lianie Els (Hill’s Pet Nutrition); Joachim Fassman (BAT); Plumstead Animal Hospital (Paulette); Lize; CPUT Cats – Cheryl-Ann & Louis; Caroline Hartley (ex UWC); Joe & Christie Pelser; Dale & Bridget (RPWC); Wendy & Yolanda of IAMS (SA) and Catherine Welsh.

A special thank you to Carol Mancktelow for fostering some of the abandoned cats at her boarding cattery in Zeekoevlei and to Paulette & Dr Duncan Stevens of Plumstead Animal Hospital for taking in, treating and homing so many of the abandoned dogs we’ve found on campus; to June Bradbury for all her support, advice and assistance, especially with trapping and homing; to Joe & Christi Pelser who sent a huge amount of Whiskas cat food all the way from Bloemfontein – that was a real treat for the cats – thanks so much!; to TEARS for the generous donations of all the secondhand books they cannot use – our sincere thanks go to Marilyn, Alison and Merilyn; a special thank you to Hilde Schoeman from the Plumstead Post Office who not only collects books, plastic containers (for food & water) and all sorts on our behalf, but has also facilitated the tinned food donations we receive every 3-4 months from Nestlé PURINA; to Rustenburg Girls High School who came to our rescue at the end of the year and donated money for cat food to help us get through the December period – thank you so much! Thanks also to Katherine from RSP and Mareletta from Loud Advertising for all the brand new magazines donated for our book sales – the students go mad for them! Thanks also to all those people who adopted animals or helped us find homes for them. Once again, Dr Lesley I’Ons, Carol and Angela, as well as Dr Duncan Stevens and Paulette Stevens of Plumstead Animal Hospital, Marilyn Hoole from TEARS and Anita Perks. Many of these animals would never have found homes without your kind intervention.

We also want to thank UWC for supporting the Project by opting for the humane option in terms of feral cat management. Just to mention that this has not gone unnoticed and several institutions including Pollsmoor Prison, Wits University, Stellenbosch University, CPUT (Cape Town campus) and Sun City amongst others, have all gone the TSR (trap-sterilise-release) route.

If we’ve left anyone off, we do apologise!

How you can help TUFCAT

  • Distribute tins and/or co-ordinate this function. Even distributing and looking after ONE tin at your favourite local shop or at your vet will help us enormously.
  • Help with shelters – build, sponsor or obtain wood and/or old dog kennel donations.
  • Donate, purchase or just help us collect secondhand goods (magazines & books) in your area.
  • Adopt (or even foster) one of our tame cats and/or kittens.
  • Sponsor a feral – it costs about R40.00 per month to buy dry food to feed one cat.
  • Help us to organise fundraising events, sell raffle tickets etc.
  • Buy a raffle ticket (we are currently raffling a pair of Crocs shoes) – donation R5.
  • Assist with the newsletter, sell advertising, organise sponsorship etc.
  • Help us organise posters & flyers.

Wish List

  • Cash donations to pay for food and cover veterinary expenses – even the smallest amount can help support a cat.
  • Dry and tinned cat food (any type at all).
  • Food bowls – heavy glass or ceramic etc.; your old cat/dog bowls & 2-litre plastic ice-cream containers.
  • Old sheets or single duvet covers (to cover traps).
  • Wood and/or varnish.
  • Unwanted kennels, pet travel boxes and any other suitable shelters.
  • Secondhand magazines and/or books.

Category: Feline Resources, Rescue & Shelter Directory

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