Tenders the cat will not be removed from her home outside the Tolbert Area — despite worry and speculation that she would, UF confirmed to The Alligator Friday.
UF Facilities Services has no plan to remove Tenders or any other campus cats, UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan said.
Panic ensued online after Tenders’ cardboard “home” and bowl, usually outside the entrance to a dorm building, went missing Wednesday.
Students circulated the information online through Instagram, Snapchat and Reddit. One Instagram commenter on Tenders’ unofficial Instagram account, @gatorcats, wrote they hadn’t seen Tenders or her things for several days, and area desk staff told them she would be removed.
A Reddit post asking what had happened to Tenders’ bowl was followed by a comment saying they had too heard she’d be removed, though they heard third-hand.
By Thursday night, Gatorcats had planned a protest to prevent her eviction.
Roldan said UF did remove Tenders’ belongings from the area desk, but never planned to remove Tenders herself. Instead, they were concerned that a food bowl near the building entrance could attract unwanted pests, like raccoons or rats, she said.
Devon Limcangco, a 22-year-old electrical engineering junior, said she was upset by Tenders’ possible removal, considering Tenders has lived near Tolbert for several years and is beloved by the student body.
“UF is her home,” she said “I don't think we really consider her a stray cat because we take pretty good care of her.”
Though the cats won’t be removed, feeding and harboring stray animals is prohibited as per Housing and Residence Life standards, Hannah Farrell, a spokesperson for the Division of Student Life, pointed out via email.
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Alissa Gary is a journalism freshman and university administration reporter at The Alligator. Aside from writing, she loves spending time with her cats, catching up on Jeopardy, and seeing the latest movies.