UT students to create new organization for campus cats in honor of Domino

Claire Stevens, News Reporter

This article first appeared in the July 12, 2022 flipbook.

When biology junior Brianna Baskin attended the memorial service for Domino, the beloved campus cat, she knew she wanted a way to honor his memory.

“I was sitting there that fateful night as the sun was setting, and I said, ‘I want to do something,’” Baskin said.

Thus, the Longhorn Cat Coalition was born. Previously, volunteers from groups like Cats of West Campus and the Campus Cat Coalition fed and provided vet care for Domino and other cats living on campus, Carin Peterson, who runs UT’s Animal Make Safe program, said in an email.

Baskin said the Longhorn Cat Coalition will be a student organization dedicated to caring for and learning about the cats that live on and around campus.

“It’s a way to ensure that there will always be somebody looking after these cats,” Baskin said. “It’s our campus. We live, we work, we go to classes there. It makes sense that we’re the people that would help take care of them.”

Baskin said she plans to register the group as an official student organization in the fall when registration for student organizations opens. Baskin already has a group chat with more than 80 students interested in joining the club.

Biology sophomore Sofia Bautista said she wanted to care for the cats she often saw outside her dorm building and heard about plans for the new organization at Domino’s memorial.

“Part of me wants to play an active role in their lives, or really just a helpful role if I can,” Bautista said. “It’s something I’ve been interested in — helping stray animals — so I think actually learning how to do that is something I’m looking forward to.”

The Longhorn Cat Coalition will fundraise to provide shelter, food and vet care for local cats, Baskin said. With help from other organizations, Baskin also said she plans to teach students how to identify when a cat is sick and how to get them help, based on her own experience volunteering for animal groups. 

“If you see an injured cat or any animal in need of help on campus, please contact (UT’s Animal Make Safe program) at 512-471-2671,” Peterson said. This number can be used for after-hours calls, while calls between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. can be made to 512-471-2287. 

Peterson said that given UT’s urban environment, populations of stray and feral cats are common, and she encourages the UT community to admire them from afar.