Feeding the Embry-Riddle Cats

Embry-Riddle Cats

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus is home to several colonies of cats. Some are friendly while others avoid people. Before we moved into the new library in 2018, I sometime sat outside the temporary library during lunch. Often I would be surrounded by cats and I usually gave them some of my lunch: fish, turkey, and chicken. Around that time, some students, with the support of faculty and staff, formed a club to help feed and care for the campus cats. They called it P.A.W.S. or the Protecting Animal Wellness Society.

P.A.W.S. placed and maintained a few feeding stations around campus. Periodically the students trap and release cats after getting them their checkups, shots, and spaying or neutering. They foster kittens and find permanent homes for cats that are suitable for adoption. For wild cats, they return them to campus.

Students run P.A.W.S. but we faculty and staff help support them financially. Each year I give a few hundred dollars. Normally, students keep the feeding stations filled with food and water, but during this Winter Break when most students are away from campus, local staff were asked to sign up to feed the cats. Because I would be in town, I volunteered to take several evening feeding times.

Embry-Riddle Cats

My first time feeding the cats was Monday, December 16, 2019, directly after leaving work. I had been given a list of instructions along with the combination for the several locks on the feeding station. I found the station against the rear wall of the fitness center. Although the cats still had dry food, they gathered around me, eager to get their dinner of wet catfood. On this occasion, only one silver-striped cat let me pet it. But I refilled the bowls with dry food, portioned out the food from the can, and cleaned and refilled the large water bowls. I counted six cats.

Embry-Riddle Cats
Embry-Riddle Cat
Embry-Riddle Cats

I was scheduled for the following evening, but the weather was rainy. Patty, the P.A.W.S. staff coordinator, texted me to say that she had looked after them at lunchtime so it wasn’t necessary to go in the rain. So I missed one feeding.

My final scheduled feeding was Wednesday, December 18. Because this was a half-workday, I had to return to campus in the evening. At least the weather was good. Again the cats swarmed around me while I prepared dinner. This time, three black / black and white cats let me scratch their backs while they waited. Fed and watered, I locked the station and snapped a few more photos. I think there were five cats this day.

Embry-Riddle Cats

Read more about P.A.W.S. from these sites:

If you want to donate to P.A.W.S., go to https://givingto.erau.edu/paws.

Heart Walk 2019

Heart Walk 2019

I enjoyed participating in Heart Walk 2018, so when the event was announced for 2019, I quickly signed up. Last year a Hunt Library team was formed after a few of us had already signed up for ERAU, so this time I immediately created the Hunt Library Team and invited my colleagues to join. Due to previous commitments and other reasons, only my boss Suzanne and I could walk. However, Hunt Library staff donated a total of $320 to the American Heart Association.

One of the reasons I like this event is that I get to drive into the infield and even on part of the road course of the Daytona International Speedway, where the event takes place. After parking in the garage area, we signed in and gathered in the Fanzone for snacks, photos, and instructions.

Heart Walk 2019
Heart Walk 2019

At 6:30 pm the walk began. Suzanne likes to run instead, so as soon as we entered the track on pit road, she jogged off. I joined the crowd of walkers heading down pit road, taking in the sights of the Speedway.

Heart Walk 2019
Heart Walk 2019

For the next hour I briskly walked around the oval track, again enjoying the rare chance to be on the tarmac of the famous Daytona International Speedway. The weather was perfect.

Heart Walk 2019
Heart Walk 2019

At the finish back in the Fanzone I found Suzanne. She reported on her run and I described my walk. We grabbed some water and left the Fanzone. Walking to my car, I noticed an open space in front of the row of garages. So I asked the security guard if I could park my car for a quick photoshoot, and he agreed. I parked in front of garages and took several great photos. That completed, I drove back down part of the road course, through the tunnel, and exited the Speedway. A fun and productive Friday night.