Cats on campus

By Duke Komomua

Ka La staff writer

One student says they stink.

A staff member says they are fine.

A couple of people say they should be controlled.

A security guard says he hasn’t received any complaints about them.

They are the Honolulu Community College cats. You either love them or hate them or maybe don’t notice them at all, but make no mistake, they are an issue and the subject of a hot debate on campus.

Last month, members of the Keiki Center on campus complained that the cats, which can be seen in great numbers at night, were posing a danger to children and others on the school grounds. Cat feces, urine in the sand box, and fleas are some of the concerns staff members raised about the cats.

“I am respectfully asking you to please stop feeding the cats, so our school can be a safe place for everyone,” ASUH-HCC President Kaleo Gagne wrote in a plea to others on campus.

Brian Furuto, vice chancellor of administrative services, said the school has set up 13 cat traps around campus to deal with the problem. When cats are trapped, they are taken to the Hawaii Humane Society.

The school hopes to buy more traps, which cost between $200 and $400 each, in the future, he said, but the administration is not intent on eradicating the cats entirely, Furuto explained.  “Everything is good in moderation; we do need to reduce the numbers,” he said.

Others, though, said they didn’t see the need for action. Several staff and faculty members were seen feeding the cats, which largely go unseen by most students during the day time.  One staff member said the cat population seems to increase around February, when there are a lot of kittens, which some people feed.

“A hungry cat is more dangerous than a fed cat,” one faculty member said.

Despite few vocal complaints, some agreed that the cats pose a problem.

“They probably carry fleas,” said one student even though she hadn’t heard about the children center’s issue with fleas.