Security guard or cat guru: always trailed by cats

By Adrienne Esposito, Staff Writer

The notorious campus cats, it seems, are especially fond of one member of the Newman University security team.

Mike Burns, a two-year member of the team, spends his days patrolling campus, and he frequently tends to Newman’s resident cat population.

Students and faculty who spot Burns on campus will often see a herd of cats following closely behind.

“I started on third shift, and I would feed them every night,” Burns said.

Now the cats know him well and are able to recognize when he’s coming.

“My jingling keys or the sound of my truck; they know my truck, and they’ll be waiting for me,” Burns said.

After Burns arrives at Newman, the cats will often trail him around campus. He’ll often find them waiting for him to return to the security office.

“If the campus is calm and the weather is good, they’re always out and about,” Burns said.

Burns said he’s owned animals all his life and has always loved them. He has five cats and three dogs of his own.

Burns said he enjoys the cat company on campus throughout the day. He even said that the cats carried some weight in his decision to sign with the new security company when Newman made the switch.

“I do enjoy having them around. It makes the day go by so much faster to turn around and see them running at me and squeaking, wanting to hang out with me in the middle of campus,” Burns said.

He said there are a few other staff members and students on campus who help care for the cats, including student and dining hall staff member Alicia Camacho, Dana Beitey with university relations, and head of security Mo Floyd.

“Mo makes sure they have food every day,” Burns said. “He leaves us a

weekend note telling us what’s going on, and always at the end of the note, ‘Feed the cats.’”

Even some off campus groups have pitched in, including Friends of Felines.

The organization has spayed and neutered all but two of the campus cats, Burns said.

“It really is a group effort, I just get to reap the benefits,” he said.

PHOTO: MIKE BURNS, A CAMPUS SECURITY MEMBER, has a special connection to the campus cats, who like to wait around for him to show up for his shift. Courtney Klaus, Editor-in-Chief