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Mission impawsible

Outside Lowell Heiny Hall, a surprise was waiting this past Monday morning. Five kittens and their mother were discovered in the landscaping of the ramp leading up to Lowell Heiny Hall. This feline family was found by students Elisa Bianchi and Patrice Harris who work in the Financial Aid office on the first floor.

“So we've been checking for the past two days,” Bianchi said, “And yesterday, I came out here and I texted Jenna because I didn't know what to do.”

They contacted student Jenna Kretschman who works for local humane society, Roice-Hurst, as the foster coordinator. Kretschman, Bianchi and Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Hancock, PhD, got to work rescuing the kittens and their mother on October 1. They were able to rescue the mother and one kitten first day, who spent a well-rested night at Kretschman’s home. The process for properly rescuing the kittens was slow, but those who had to be left behind the first night were left with a heating pad and formula until they could be reached and rescued. All of the kittens were successfully rescued on Wednesday and are safe in Kretschman home, just in time for the dropping temperatures. The rescue mission garnered lots of attention and support from the campus community.

photo of a kitten

This is not the first litter of kittens to be born on campus. “I actually have one of the cats that was born here 11 years ago” said Hancock, “It used to be like six or seven litters a year.” After the area around Lowell Heiny Hall was paved the cats found other places to have their litters. In recent years the cats returned to “Pride Rock”, as Hancock called it.

Bianchi and Kretschman are both mass communication majors, so they decided to name the kittens after their professors and other staff at CMU. The five kittens and their mothers are named Venter, Martin, William, Stump, Mundee and Mama “Perez” Maverick.

“The kittens here are about three weeks,” Kretschman said. “So they’re not old enough to go to a forever home.”

CMU Alumna and Roice-Hurst Humane Society Executive Director Anna Stout was excited to hear the story.
“We need more people like Elisa and Patrice in the world, people who go out of their way to help other creatures and prevent suffering,” said Stout. “Part of what I love about my job is that despite sometimes seeing the suffering of animals, I get to see the best side of people. This kind of compassion makes our world a better place for animals, and by extension, for people and our whole community.”

The five tabby boy kittens and their mother will be available to adopt in about six weeks at Roice-Hurst Humane Society. Roice-Hurst is a non-profit shelter dedicated to homeless dogs and cats in the Mesa County area. It was founded in 1963 is a socially conscious shelter, which means it never euthanizes because of space or resources and works to create the best outcome possible for all animals. If you find more homeless cats on campus please contact Jenna Kretschman at


Written by Zoe Shanahan