The idea of a cute kitty being in my classroom sounds like the ultimate distraction; I would never get any work done. But apparently that isn’t the case in a school in Turkey where a stray cat wandered into a classroom. In fact, the students are thriving more than ever!
One day, Tombi the adorable orange cat, wandered into the school grounds of a public elementary school in Izmir, Turkey. The cat seemed at home straight away, as he walked up to students at break time, allowing them to cuddle and play with him.
But Tombi didn’t stop there. He was so at comfortable at the school that he decided to turn it into his permanent home.
Making his way into a third-grade classroom, the street smart cat clearly wanted to get an education alongside his human friends. Teacher Özlem Pınar Ivaşcu allowed the inquisitive kitty to remain in her room and the cat became an accepted member of the class.
While most people would think that a cat would be a distraction in a place of learning, Tombi’s presence actually had an opposite effect. The cat’s playful curiosity actually made the children more excited to come to class.
While before, the children had taken their time to get to lesson, they now rushed to be there on time because they wanted to see Tombi. The cat increased their focus and engagement in lesson.
The arrangement is not only great for the children, but also for Tombi as he is loved and taken care of. Miss Ivaşcu took Tombi to the vet and made sure he was healthy and vaccinated, of course.
But a problem threatened to ruin Tombi’s new happy home. When a parent heard that there was a stray cat with free reign of the classroom, they were not impressed and lodged a complaint with school officials. So poor Tombi had to go.
To say that the class were devastated was an understatement and Tombi was upset too. Miss Ivaşcu tried to re-home Tombi but he became depressed quickly.
We found a home for Tombi and he stayed three days there, but he was not happy. He stopped eating. So I took him in at my house, but also here he was not very happy.
The students wrote Tombi letters to try cheer him up, but the poor kitty desperately wanted his classmates back.
Seeing how much the separation was affecting Tombi, Miss Ivaşcu wrote on social media about his sad story and from there, word spread like wildfire.
The story got a lot of attention and support on all TV news. I had a lot of support from many people, including from my manager and the director of education in İzmir.
Even the parent who had complained had a change of heart, and eventually school officials gave Tombi permission to return to class. The children and Tombi were ecstatic to be reunited.
The once stray cat has finally found where he belongs; happily learning alongside his human friends and teaching them how to care for animals. Since Tombi’s story got out, a grassroots campaign has been spreading across Turkey to try get all classrooms to adopt a cat.
I think if that happened, it would be safe to say that kids would never want a day off school again!
Do you think that having a cat in your classroom would have made you enjoy school more as a child? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and share cute Tombi’s story with your friends. 🐝