Tag: coronavirus

‘School With Paws’: Cats In Class Help Kids Readjust After Pandemic

When teacher Evrim Mutluay welcomed her students back to school after a long period of remote learning, she noticed they were different.

The kids, who hadn’t physically been to school for more than a year due to the pandemic, were “colder” and less engaged with their lessons and with each other. Many were either ambivalent or didn’t want to be there.

So Mutluay, who teaches at Adagüre Primary School in the rural outskirts of Turkey’s Izmir region, had an idea that might seem radical in most countries, but not in the famously feline-loving nation: She cleaned out an old storage building on school grounds and turned it into a shelter for 12 neighborhood cats.

It was the first step in her “Patili Okul” (“School With Paws”) project aimed at getting kids reinvested in their studies.

The cats — who have been given names like Alaca (“twilight”), Sun and Panther by the kids — have free run of the school during the day, and Mutluay’s elementary school-age students can not only pet and cuddle with them during class, they help take care of the former strays by cleaning their shelters and feeding them. The students “love the cats so much,” Mutluay said, and the program has “endeared the school to the children.”

School With Paws
A student cuddles a calico cat in class. Credit: Adagüre Primary School

The students have become so invested that many of them now show up on weekends voluntarily to feed and play with the cats.

“It also helps them to develop a sense of responsibility, by caring for others,” Mutluay told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, a wire service similar to the Associated Press. “In a way, cats and children grow up together.”

The school, which also has a community garden tended by the kids and holds classes outdoors when the weather permits, offers a chance for children to form bonds with the animals.

Mutluay described one student who was so affected by his time stuck at home that he “didn’t even make eye contact” when the school resumed in-person learning. Except for his nascent connection with a cat named Pied, he was distant and seemingly disinterested. When the student’s attendance fell off, Mutluay appealed to that connection to bring him back: “If you don’t come, Pied will cry,” she told him.

School With Paws
Credit: Adagüre Primary School

Student Cemre Şen is one among many of her classmates who have brought stray cats to the school. There are now 30 cats living on the school grounds, including the lost kitten Şen found. She and her fellow students even incorporate the cats and kittens into games they play during recess, she said.

The cats are not kept against their will: If they want to return to their colonies or street life, they are allowed to leave. Most choose to stay, enjoying the affection and attention from the kids and the guarantee of solid meals every day. (The kids feed them before classes begin and after school before heading home.) It’s an arrangement that works in a nation where caring for cats is seen as a community responsibility, as opposed to the network of shelters, rescues and colony managers who care for cats on behalf of a generally indifferent public in countries like the US.

In Turkey, the idea of cats in classrooms isn’t controversial because the little ones are everywhere — they’re allowed to wander in and out of shops, homes and even office buildings at their whim, and the streets of cities like Istanbul are lined with miniature cat houses for neighborhood felines.

The allure of cats in the classroom is so strong, Mutluay’s program has even attracted transfers like newcomer Ata Yıldırım, who switched schools after he read social media posts about the program.

“I have two cats at home,” he said, “and when I saw so many cats here, I convinced my parents to send me here.”

School With Paws
Evrim Mutluay and her students at Adagüre Primary School. Mutluay has been a teacher for 16 years. Credit: Adagüre Primary School

Happy Thanksgiving From The Buddies At PITB!

Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

With war, inflation and even resurgent Coronavirus strains in our stressful world, we’re grateful for this holiday because it reminds us of what really matters — juicy, delicious, slow-roasted turkey.

Our national day of gratitude traces its origins back to 1621, when the cats of the Plymouth colony and the cats of the Wampanoag tribe gathered together for a harvest feast. The Plymouth cats, just a few months removed from their lives in Europe, were intrigued when the Wampanoag cats brought a strange and fascinating new kind of yums to the feast.

They called it turkey.

From that first bite, the kitty settlers knew they’d found the stuff of life, the essence of deliciousness, the thing they’d been missing all those dreary years in Europe. Here was a land of new opportunity, new napping spots and things to scratch, but never in their wildest dreams did they imagine tasting such a delicious bird.

Just when they thought they’d had their fill of wonders for the day, the Plymouth kitties were delighted when the Wampanoag cats told them that aside from being incredibly yummy, turkey also has a magical quality: It induces long, restful naps within an hour of eating it.

The feast was so much fun and the turkey was so delicious, the Plymouth and Wampanoag cats promised they’d do it again the next year, and the next, and the year after that…

And that, my friends, is history.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your friend,
Buddy the Cat

catprint

Buddy Turksgiving

Vote BUDDY 4 America!

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Buddy needs YOU to vote!

As patriotic Americats know, our beloved President Buddy was impeached after jealous rivals claimed his brilliant plan to move the Earth closer to the sun to fight Coronavirus would have been disastrous, and enlisted the help of “scientists” who scared felines into believing our planet would be in danger despite President Buddy assuring everyone that we’d all have nice weather.

Also, there was the small matter of a “scandal” involving turkey embezzlement, but that was never proven in a court of law.

votebuddy2022

Real patriotic Americats know Buddy was the best president of all time, and it’s their duty to lay the groundwork for his triumphant return in 2024 by voting in his hand-picked candidates today! If turkey raining down from the sky, treats aplenty and mandatory siestas 10 times a day sound like good policies to you, then obviously you’re a smart kitty, you’re patriotic, and you should vote Buddy!

If you like the idea of Roombas for every cat, catnip dispensaries on every corner, a new government agency dedicated to developing new toys, and a badly-needed infusion of new boxes, you should vote Buddy! Because you’re smart!

If for some reason a Buddesian-aligned candidate is not listed on your ballot, you should write in “Buddy the Cat” and send a strong message that you’re an intelligent, patriotic voter.

Paid for by BUDDY 4 PRESIDENT and THE UNITED PATRIOTS FOR BUDDY ASSOCIATION. ‘Murica!

votebuddy

How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Cat?

Two stories published in recent days give wildly varying estimates of how much it costs for the privilege of serving a cat.

First we should note that both reports assume the cats are adopted in kittenhood and the average lifespan of a cat is 15 years. That’s in line with current data showing well cared-for, indoor-only cats live between 12 and 18 years, with outliers on both ends. It’s not uncommon to hear about cats living well into their 20s just as some cats sadly pass on before their time, whether due to natural causes, illness or accidents.

A Texas cat named Creme Puff is the Guinness World Record holder for longest-lived house cat, holding on for an astonishing 38 years until her death in 2005.

Caring for a house panther can cost between $4,250 and $31,200 over kitty’s lifetime, according to an analysis of associated costs by The Ascent, a vertical of financial literacy site The Motley Fool.

Kitty Cash
“My moneys, human! MINE! Unpaw those bills!” Credit:@catsandmoney/Twitter

The estimates break costs down into recurring expenses — which include food, treats, litter and veterinary care — and fixed expenses like scratching posts, toys, additional cat furniture, bowls, grooming tools and similar items.

Not surprisingly, the biggest expense is food, the cost of which has been exacerbated by inflation, rising fuel costs and lingering supply chain issues that caused a cascade effect during the pandemic. Everything from sourcing metal for cat food tins to meat availability was impacted as ports were closed and meat processing plants were shuttered at various points since early 2020.

An unrelated estimate from OnePoll, based on a survey commissioned by pet food company Solid Gold, put the lifetime estimate of cat servitude at $25,304. Like the Motley Fool analysis, OnePoll’s respondents cited food as the primary expense, followed by veterinary care.

The wide range from the Motley Fool analysis could be attributable to geography, how well the cat is fed, and how many extra things caretakers do for their cats. A person who lives in Manhattan, splurges on bespoke feline furniture and buys ultra-premium cat food at almost $3 a can is going to spend significantly more than an eastern European cat servant who feeds raw or home-cooked food and builds their own ledge loungers and scratching apparatus.

Teh Bank of Kitteh
“Welcome to Teh Bank of Kitteh, you may make a deposit but not withdraw!” Credit: @catsandmoney/Twitter

Here in New York the cost of cat food in local grocery stores has spiked dramatically, but online prices have remained steady. Keeping in mind we’ve never really endorsed any particular brand or vendor on PITB, I switched from occasionally buying food online to Chewy auto-shipments during the pandemic because Bud’s favorite food was becoming very difficult to find locally, and that arrangement has worked out cost-wise as well.

Bud’s a true Pain In The Bud when it comes to “leftovers” so his primary wet food is Sheba Perfect Portions. It’s reasonably priced, comes in variety packs and helps avoid waste since each meal comes in its own 1.3oz recyclable blister-like plastic package. (Recycling is especially important with these single-serve packages, tiny as they are.) His dry food is Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Chicken recipe, although occasionally I’ll buy the weight control version of the same dry food when it looks like Little Man has gotten a bit chubby. He doesn’t protest, thankfully.

I feed him two 1.3oz wet meals a day and fill his dry bowl less than halfway at night so he can have his late snack and doesn’t have to wake me up if and when he gets hungry overnight. Sometimes I’m dimly aware of him sliding off me, padding over to his little dining nook and munching on dry food before hopping back onto the bed and dozing off again.

Overall it works out to about $21 a month, so I’d call it an even $25 with treats. You can schedule your auto-ship at any interval you choose, edit it at any time, and prompt the shipment immediately if you’re running out of food, so you can save more by ordering a few months’ worth of food at a time and taking advantage of free shipping on orders of more than $50.

Has inflation impacted cat food prices in your local area? How much does it cost to feed your cat(s) every month?

Rich Kitty
“I’m a nip dealer, so what? Stop judging!”

Buddy Quarantines His Human After Learning Cats Can Get COVID

NEW YORK — Citing a recent article about the possibility of humans infecting their pet cats with Coronavirus, Buddy the Cat took the extraordinary step of quarantining his human, sources said.

The tabby cat, who is normally infamous for his deep loathing of barriers, had constructed an elaborate series of intra-apartmental checkpoints and procedures designed to keep him separate from his human, Big Buddy.

Under the new procedures, Big Buddy was banned from his own bedroom and had his snuggling privileges revoked.

“I just can’t take the chance, especially not with this Omicron variant infecting everyone,” Buddy said of his decision. “It’s not just about getting sick. Did you know sometimes COVID destroys your sense of taste and smell? It’s true! What life is worth living if you can’t taste every delicious morsel of turkey, if you can’t savor the aroma of dirty socks?”

As of Friday, the cautious cat had placed ads on Craigslist and other local sites.

“Seeking Temporary Servant,” the ad reads. “Must serve my meals, clean my poops, feed me snacks, allow me to sleep on you, and give me massages while telling me what a good boy I am. Applicants must agree I am a very handsome cat, and you will be expected to write a short essay about why you’re excited to serve me. THIS IS NOT AN ENTRY LEVEL POSITION. Experienced cat servants only!!!”

Cat in mask
“Back away, human, and return to your designated quarantine zone!”

The new quarantine measures mark the second time Buddy has taken drastic action in response to fears about COVID. The silver tabby constructed an air tight, clinically sealed dome around his food and water bowls in November after three snow leopards at a Nebraska zoo fell ill and died from the virus.

A second, larger dome meant to encapsulate his human’s his bed was under construction when Buddy was convinced to delay his plans for the holidays in order to spend time with friends and family. Now construction on the bubble has resumed.

Pharmacy techs at CVS refused to vaccinate the domestic shorthair after he showed up for an appointment in early January. A spokesman for the pharmacy chain said the vaccines were not FDA approved for cats, and Buddy isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

Meanwhile, efforts to get Big Buddy to secure a dose for Buddy have been fruitless.

“I’m not asking much,” Buddy said. “All I want him to do is steal a vaccine from a highly secure area, educate himself on how to inject me, calculate an appropriate dose for my species and body weight, and give me the jab. How hard is that?”