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The Antelope

LoperCats provide help for campus cats

Giovanni Luna provides milk to the shelter at the College of Education. A black cat left the shelter shortly before Luna refilled the food and water.

Volunteers have set out to improve the lives of felines living at UNK


Students, faculty and community members cannot wander around UNK’s campus without noticing the presence of at least a few cats, especially when it is warmer and the cats are more active. These felines, referred to as LoperCats, have a more important role in our campus community.

LoperCats is an organization here in Kearney that works to help the feline population on campus. Two of the leaders of this group are Sherry Morrow and Deb Schroeder. Nearly 20 years ago, Morrow came upon the problem of UNK’s feral cats and saw a need to do something about it. 

Morrow is a cat owner herself and grew up with a strong sense of empathy toward animals. 

“My parents could never stand to see an animal hungry,” Marrow said. “I can’t either, but I was seeing hungry cats on campus and around the community. She has given this same love of animals to the cats in the Kearney community.”

There is an estimated population of around 100 million feral cats worldwide with nearly 60 million just in the United States. Cats, even those that are domesticated, are territorial and often have varying territory sizes. Here at UNK, these cats may stick close to one building or they may spread well out of the 235-acre campus. 

After gathering donations from local construction companies, partnering with the university’s building and grounds department and the UNK Construction Management Organization, LoperCats built several small feeding stations that offer shelter and hold food and water. These stations are placed at seven sites on campus. They are in places across campus that are don’t attract much attention. Three sites, for example, are on the north side of the student union, at the Fine Arts Building and near the College of Education. 

Volunteers have helped LoperCats leaders and assist in maintaining the shelters and watching for new cats that need medical care. LoperCats participates in what is known as a trap-neuter-release program. This is a process in which feral cat colony populations are maintained through removing the ability to reproduce without cutting the life of these animals short. This program promotes a healthy populated colony and helps protect natural wildlife such as birds and small mammals at the same time. 

“I don’t think they should be euthanized because they are part of the ecosystem and should be protected, as well,” said Giovanni Luna, a freshman biology major from Grand Island. “LoperCats are a part of what makes UNK a great campus and becoming involved was an easy way to help out my favorite animal in the world.”

LoperCats welcomes any student who cares about the cat community to become a volunteer and contributor. Possible volunteers are encouraged to reach out to Sherry Morrow, Deb Schroeder or former or current vounteers of this organization.

As with any organization, LoperCats is also always looking for more resources: monetary donations and food, for example. LoperCats is a member of the Give Where You Live Event and donations can be directed to the Kearney Area Community Foundation. Further, food donations are something else that can directly help the cats on campus. The organization encourages community members to look out for any way to get inexpensive cat food. For example, Family Fresh Market recently had a promotion where cardholders could get a free bag of cat food. 

LoperCats encourages students and community members to check out the LoperCats’ Facebook page to keep up to date on events in the community and to see what cat lovers are doing nationally. And remember, if you see a cat around campus, treat it with kindness and know that hardworking volunteers are engaged in giving it a better life. 

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