From commentor Cat Hair Everywhere:
My cat Zinnia was part of a feral litter born under a bush at my former school several years ago. The custodian was watching over the litter (he loves cats too) and one day when the kittens were only two weeks old, he found the mom kitty dying. It appeared she had gotten into some kind of poison or something. He was devastated, and called the SPCA to come put her down. When I came through the office, the box of kittens was sitting next to the secretary’s desk. I grabbed the box and took it back to my classroom. The teacher next door called her husband and he brought us kitten formula and bottles. The custodian, much relieved, made the kittens a comfortable bed in the box and, with the help of my students, we bottle fed the kittens. The custodian took them home with him at night, and we traded off weekends. My principal pretended he didn’t know what we were doing, and conveniently never
visited my class during the weeks the kittens were there.
My first and second period class was a English class for students who didn’t qualify for special education, but were reading 3-grades below level. It was kept under twenty students, but many of them were drug or alcohol babies and many had emotional and/or behavior issues. Because the class was my smallest and because it was the time when the kittens most wanted to be out of the box, I let them wander around the classroom. Several of my tough boys told me they didn’t like cats. I told them that was their loss, but they always had the option to ignore the kittens. I also warned them if they were mean to the kittens they would be in big trouble. Pretty soon, I noticed those same boys were holding their pencils under their desks, trying to lure the kittens over to play. Then I started hearing, “Mrs.! Mrs.! The kitten is sitting on my lap.”. I would tell them that they could gently put the kitten on the floor if it was bothering them, and they would reply, “Oh, that’s okay.”
In the first two pictures, you can see Zinnia’s brother and sister, Stripe and Duchess sitting with a coupleof my ‘cat hating” boys. When the kittens were old enough, I took Zinnia, the custodian took Stripe and the other boy, and Duchess and the other girl went to loving homes. The custodian and I trapped one other feral who we thought was an sister to our kitties from a previous litter and had her spayed. She still lives at the school, and the custodian still feeds her on the patio outside the teachers’ lounge.
Zinnia (bottom picture) is still a little shy, but she is a sweet and loving cat. She brings my husband live rats and bugs for the two of them to “play” with. I’ll never forget the time he was lying on the floor doing the crossword and Zinnie dropped a huge, live bug right on the crossword, then looked at him like, “look what I brought you!”