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For many years, the UMass Amherst campus was home to several colonies of feral cats that took up residence in its barns and outbuildings, and beginning with Leo V. Robinson in 1945, a succession of individuals were moved to feed and care for the cats. An alumna and employee in Human Relations, Marie Phillips (BA '78, MPA '91) took over as feral cat caretaker between 1991 and 2007, joined by her colleague Meg Caulmare of the English Department, and together they supported the colonies along the Cat Corridor stretching from the rear of Munson Hall to the Queen Anne Horse Barn. With increasing construction on campus and careful rehoming, the feral cat population was gradually reduced on campus until 2014, when the last cats to live in the Horse Barn, Mr. Junie Moon and Rusty, were given a home by Caulmare. Phillips wrote about her experiences with two of the more notable cats on campus, Dadcat and Ashes, in her book Dadcat University (2007).
The Phillips collection offers a visual records of the lives of the feral cats on the UMass Amherst campus. A strong supporter of efforts to preserve the declining Horse Barn, Phillips also accumulated photographs, reports, and research materials on the barn and horses at the university.
Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries