Students that attend the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana in Mexico city get something extra with their education, a free lesson in compassion courtesy of some four-legged friends.
The university, which is located in an old convent, is known as a university that helps teach students to respect cats.
Before the university was open the first cats on the property were thought to have belonged to the nuns who would have kept them as companions and to keep rodent populations down to help prevent plagues.
In 1979 when the university officially opened it was decided to continue the tradition of having cats on the property, as people continued to abandon cats and kittens there and felines kept showing up on their own. The university decided to take steps to help control the population after it grew to over 100 cats in 10 years. They introduced spay and neuter, adoption and a public education campaign to create awareness around the cats.
The population slowly came under control and adoptions were monitored with background checks and follow-up, and according to 3 million dogs, there remain about 20 cats who currently live on the property. This successful TNR campaign is due to the humane treatment of the cats by the university as well as students who volunteer to help by being responsible for re-homing cats they have fixed and vaccinated.
The cats all have names, are known to be very friendly and can often be seen hanging out in the “Patio de los Gatos” or The Cats’ Yard. The university makes sure the cats have everything they need like food dispensers, water, beds, toys and even scratching posts, throughout the property.
Cats have become an integral part of life on campus and the relationship is clearly mutually beneficial making this an ideal university for cats, and people.