By Kayleigh Farias, Copy Desk Chief
The Lone Star College-Kingwood campus has always been a haven to stray animals in need of food and shelter. For a long time, the students and employees of LSC-Kingwood gave the animals just that, especially the cats. It was very common to walk on campus and see cats sitting on benches or sunning themselves on beautiful days. Unfortunately, over time the cats dwindled in numbers due to age and illness. Eventually, there were no more strays on campus.
Several years passed when a pregnant stray cat made Lone Star its home. Over the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, she unfortunately got herself locked in a building on campus which resulted in her kittens being lost. In March of that same year, she had another litter of kittens that prompted the need to have her spayed and tested for any possible diseases. The momma cat was not very warm and friendly but it was imperative to capture her and her 4 kittens to ensure our campus was not overrun again with feral or sick cats. After a few weeks of trying, the kittens were captured and put into a box. As they were being carried off campus, several LSC Kingwood students decided to adopt the kittens and open their homes so that all could have a forever home. It took many tries, and a lot of trust building, but finally the momma cat was captured.
Mrs. Kristi Hunger is a member of the Lone Star College-Kingwood staff that goes above and beyond to take care of the Campus Kitty. She brought her to the Loop 494 Animal Hospital to be vaccinated, tested and spayed to prevent more kittens from being born on campus. Knowing the cat’s living situation, the veterinarian decided to hold her an extra few days so that she may properly heal without any infections upon returning to campus. With a clean bill of health the Kingwood campus president, Dr. Katherine Persson, approved her stay on campus. She was named Kitty and became the official campus cat.
Hunger fed Kitty twice a day, including weekends and holidays, and she faithfully checked on her throughout the day. Kitty quickly became a sensation to those who had seen her on campus and many gracious Kingwood employees contributed to her care with donations of food and toys
Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Hunger consulted the veterinarian at Loop 494 Animal Hospital to get an opinion on where would be the safest location for Kitty during the storm. It was decided that she would remain on campus because that was the environment she knew best. Hunger agreed knowing she would check on her routinely.
Then Hurricane Harvey hit and everything changed. Mrs. Hunger decided it was too dangerous and she would bring Kitty to her home. She grabbed a pet carrier and made her way to the campus in search of Kitty. Upon arriving, she saw the campus had flooded and the water seemed to be getting higher. Hunger became worried about the state of LSC-Kingwood’s beloved cat and the real possibility of her drowning. This motivated Hunger to purchase a boat and waders for her and her husband to get on campus to look for Kitty. When arriving the next day on campus, the waters had receded and Hunger was greeted by a Lone Star Kingwood police officer. She quickly inquired about Kitty and was told that Kitty made it through and had just been given a fresh order of pancakes. Hunger swiftly made her way to the facilities area where Kitty liked to stay. She began to call for Kitty and to her relief, Kitty came out from under a raised storage shed. After many hugs, she fed Kitty and made sure Kitty had not been harmed.
Later that evening Hunger received an email from Dr. Persson stating that the campus had been deemed a biohazard. Naturally, Hunger sprang into action and went to rescue Kitty the next day. Kitty must have known that is was time to go as when Hunger called out for her she came right away. Currently, Mrs. Hunger is introducing Kitty to her own 6 cats so that they can live together as a happy unit and has promised to share Kitty updates.
Unfortunately for the LSC-Kingwood students and employees, they will no longer be able to see the Campus Kitty on the grounds but Kitty will forever more have a warm, loving home to live out the rest of her years. We can only be thankful for those like Mrs. Kristi Hunger that go the extra mile for the animals of Kingwood. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll have another campus pet seeking refuge on the Lone Star College-Kingwood campus.