Inside Clemson

Feral cats and other wild animals on campus

Date Published: September 5, 2013

Photo of NewberryBy Robin Newberry, Chief Environmental Safety Officer
University Facilities

With the beginning of the new school year, it’s time to once again remind faculty, staff and students about Clemson’s “wild population.”

Being surrounded by uninhabited or sparsely inhabited areas — and with Lake Hartwell close by — Clemson’s campus is frequently visited by various forms of wildlife. In addition to the skunks, opossums and raccoons you may see from time to time, you may also see a number of cats on campus. These cats have to be counted among the wildlife since they are entirely feral. They may have an ancestor that was once someone’s pet, but they have been undomesticated and wild for generations. In short, these are NOT tame pets like you may have at home, but animals just as wild as any opossum or raccoon that you might see on campus.

For your own safety and the benefit of the campus community, please:

  • Do not feed any of the wild animals, including the cats. Feeding them not only encourages them to stay on campus but also attracts other animals, such as rodents and insects. Leftover, spilled or spoiled food attracts insects.
  • Do not approach any of the wild animals, including the cats. It is never a good idea to approach a wild animal, since they can be unpredictable and attack if they feel threatened.
  • Do not tamper with animal traps you may see on campus. University Facilities sets out these traps to catch skunks and other nuisance animals.

If you see an animal acting oddly, it may be rabid or have some other contagious disease. Contact the Clemson University Police Department at 656-2222 and report the animal type and location. Pickens County Animal Control staff will attempt to capture the animal for evaluation.

Clemson has a “no pets on campus” policy, so please do not bring animals to campus. The feral cat population grew from pets that were brought onto campus years ago, abandoned at the end of the school year, and left to fend for themselves and bred with other abandoned or feral animals. Feral cats need appropriate care. A local organization, Concerned Citizens for Animals (CCA), regularly conducts education in this area. For more information about CCA’s programs, services and events, visit ccaweb.org or contact Kim Ledford at 864-243-4222.

Contact me with any questions at 656-1806, or by email at wnewber@clemson.edu.