Campus cat program watches over feral and stray felines who call UTEP home


Miners Pick Catz officers visit with Mr. Darcy on the UTEP campus Photo credit: Elisha Nunez

Every now and then, visitors to the University of Texas at El Paso campus might notice a cat scurry into the bushes or lying down in an open space. These cats live on and around campus and are looked after by Miner Pick Catz, a student organization at UTEP.

Since 2021, Miner Pick Catz has supported these feral felines with food and medical care in case of an injury or illness. Before the campus group formed, another feral cat organization, Cat Rescue Corporation, helped the cats and is still one of the partners continuing to help today.

“They’re nonprofit, so they pay for the food that we use, all the supplies, also the money for getting them fixed and then also getting their shots and any surgeries that they need,” said Penelope Vega, president of Miner Pick Catz.

Members of the group put out food and water to make sure the cats stay nourished. If the cats are injured, Miner Pick Catz takes them to the three local veteranarians they work with. They also participate in the Trap, Neuter, Release program.

“So all the cats here at UTEP are neutered and then they all have their vaccines,” Vega said. “We also try to help them to get them fostered or adopted, especially our house cats that have sadly been dropped off here at UTEP.”

The group estimates around a hundred cats live on or around campus, which can be hard to keep track of. The cats are constantly moving and can even be picked up by someone and taken away.

“So cats that, like, have names and stuff we do keep track of fairly regularly and try and figure out which stations they’re moving to or going around campus,” said Anneliese Frensch, the vice president for Miner Pick Catz.

Miner Pick Catz president Penelope Vega, left, and vice president Anneliese Frensch, right.

Miner Pick Catz president Penelope Vega, right, and vice president Anneliese Frensch. Photo credit: Elisha Nunez

Other universities like Texas A&M and theme parks like Disneyland are known for having official community cat support groups such as Miner Pick Catz.

I always remember coming here when I was little and seeing the cats walking around and being like, ‘Oh, what are these little guys doing here?’ and then when I found out that there was finally an organization to actually take care of them, I really wanted to join,” Frensch said.




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