The Facts Behind Felines: An up-close look at the ‘Hofcats’

Across from the gazebo at Hofstra University in Hempstead, seven “Hofcats” congregated after receiving treats from a student. Their similar black-and-white coats are a likely sign of inbreeding. // Photo by Hunter Spears/Long Island Advocate

Many Long Islanders have had firsthand experience with the feral cats that call the Island home. In Hempstead, however, Hofstra University seems to have a particular history that is intertwined with the fates of these felines. What do the ghost of a university founder and the pandemic have to do with today’s rampant cat population? For the Long Island Advocate, Hunter Spears has the story.

A curious Hofcat emerged from the bushes in front of Hofstra’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex, while others looked on from the background. // Photo by Hunter Spears/Long Island Advocate


Inside the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter’s cattery, a tower of world-weary rescue cats observe visitors with caution. // Photo by Hunter Spears/Long Island Advocate


At Hempstead’s shelter, 2-year-old Tulip gazed out the window. Since she is more social, she lives in the open-air cattery, though an abundance of shelter cats means that many spend most of their time in cages. // Photo by Hunter Spears/Long Island Advocate