Peaches the stray cat has a better life thanks to some students at Duke University.
For many Duke University students, Peaches, a stray cat who lives on the university's West Campus, is a beloved part of campus life. In the past, students have provided makeshift shelters and food for the calico cat, but after a wave of cold weather hit Duke last week, some worried students decided to come up with a better way to look out for their feline friend.
When junior Anna Li, a residential assistant, could not find Peaches during the storm, she created a Facebook group called "Caretakers of Peaches (The Calico Cat)."
"I've kind of thought we've needed a group like this for a while now," Li said, in an interview with Duke's The Chronicle.
"I've noticed a lot of times people feed her and then other people feed her, and I wished there was a way for us to all connect with each other because I knew we all cared about her. Like what if she got sick?"
Though the group only launched on January 8, it has already grown to include 282 members, and has become an excellent way to keep tabs on the cat's whereabouts.
"Once the Facebook group was created, her location kept getting updated, so if you wanted to go see her, you could," sophomore Alexandra Sánchez Rolón wrote in an email.
After the snowstorm, Li noticed that Peaches was moving slower, had gastrointestinal distress, and communicated with a "raspier meow," so last Wednesday, she and sophomore Anna Matthews created a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $300 toward providing veterinary treatment for Peaches and other campus cats.
So far the campaign has raised $950, far exceeding its goal. The money will be used to bring both Peaches and MamaBean, another calico cat that lives near Wannamaker dormitory, to a veterinarian, and may also be used to help other community cats in need.
"We know that they're spayed, but we don't know if they have their rabies shots," Matthews said. "A couple weeks ago in the 'All Duke' [Facebook] page, people were like 'I saw a fox on campus, and I think it might be rabid' because you don't normally see wildlife unless it's rabid."
Since Peaches has been seen hunting wildlife in the past, getting her vaccinated for rabies is the students' first priority. They would also like to deworm both cats.
Matthews hopes the community of cat lovers continues to grow, and that they can work together for the good of all cats on campus; Li agrees.
"If anything happens to the cats, they kind of have all these adoring Duke students as their backup," Li said.
"I think if there was some sort of big medical need, I'm sure we would all chip in enough to get that taken care of -- it's kind of like a Peaches fan club."
What do you think of Duke's community cats? Let us know in the comments below!
All images via Her Campus.
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