Cats on Campus dinner at Merge

While being having a primarily vegan lifestyle, and trying to cut animal products from your life as well, is a step towards making the Earth a better place for all creatures and species, it is always great to get out their and participate in projects, events and gatherings that help directly change the lives of animals and increase awareness.

Let me start by saying that my friend Morgan Dunbar was key in organizing this event/fundraiser. I met her during my last semester of college while taking Ethics. We ended up being partners in a debate, arguing the ethics being animal experimentation, and how our use of animals is ethically wrong. Our debate was strong, and it was obvious that we had intimidated the opposing side. Our conclusion was the beginning of the documentary “Earthlings,’ which eloquently explains how our exploitation of animals is ethically wrong. During this time period, it was Earthlings and examining my own relationship with animals that converted my from a vegetarian to a vegan. It really was a turning point in my life, and since has made me examine my actions in all regards in a more thoroughly, or at least more thoughtful, manner.

Morgan and I had recently both dropped the Veterinary Technology major from our lives at college, after realizing it was not what we had originally thought it to be, and also over the questionable ways the animals on campus were being used/handled/kept. After learning how to give injections and draw blood from my small lab rats, I had fallen in love with them and brought them home, not able to bear the thought of them being killed. Morgan as well has rescued numerous mice and rats from euthanasia at the college. The disposable nature of these animals and their apparent worth to us, among other things, had shown us that the life of vet techs was not for us. Morgan has since transfered schools, and truly has become the voice for animals. Her passion and drive is highly contagious, and the animal world is lucky to have her.

At her new college, she started the Companion Animal Rescue Society and on behalf of this organized the Cats on Campus dinner at the local Merge restaurant. Merge is known for having a particularly great vegan menu, as well as serving raw and gluten-free foods. Having the event here, in a space where there was room for a significant amount of people, a presentation, and an entirely vegan buffet was pretty ingenious. The event sold out, and I am sure it is safe to say that everyone had a great time.

The dinner/presentation was aimed to educate people on feral cats, and what one can do to help them. This included a demonstration on setting up live traps, the proper way to handle a feral cat population, and the pros and cons of trapping, neutering/spaying, and releasing. It was extremely informative, and everyone was able to meet inspiration and active people from the local organization 10th Chance Cat Rescue, wonderful individuals who have been caring for hundreds of feral and stray cats.

Obviously, an awesome part of this night was the food that was served. For many in attendance, this was the first time they would be consuming an entirely vegan, cruelty-free dinner, and I must admit that hearing people try to repeat ‘seitan’ and ‘quinoa’ was quite entertaining. The dinner included: an amazing garden salad with “green goddess dressing,” sweet potato fries, bbq and hot seitan ‘wings,’ smashed potatoes, red quinoa, sweet potato curry and a mushroom stew. It was all fantastic, and I particularly enjoyed the sweet potato fries (I could have ate the entire platter myself) and curry. Morgan had even brought mini red velvet cupcakes and brownies. Everyone loved the food, and I think it was a great opportunity for others to try things they may never had tried otherwise on their own.

waiting to eat! yep, that's me in the black and white stripped sweater.

happy people eating great food

After food and the presentation, everyone mingled to talk and discuss future events, as well as vegan pot lucks that would be occurring down the road. The Companion Animal Rescue Society had put together a fantastic basket full of tons of goodies for cats for a raffle, which I can only hope has raised a lot of money. A table full of informational packets and ways to get in touch with others and help feral cats was set up as well.

The night was fun, food was great, more people were educated on how to help feral/stray cats, and most importantly, awareness was increased and money was raised to aid organizations and events that instrumental in helping these animals.


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