Cat Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I work at an elementary school in the morning, about a 2 hour shift. Sometimes, I will bring Caesar into the school to see the kids.
He has a very outgoing personality, and I obviously moniter him very closely while he is there. The kids aren't allowed to pick him up, "So they won't get scratched", but really its to protect my little buddy. :wink:
He will go up to the kids by himself to get pets, and I will allow the kids to give him treats, or play with him with a yarn etc.

He seems to really enjoy his time there, however there are things that make him stress out. The car ride in particular is rough, The first few times I used a carrier, but now I let him free-roam the car, he seems much more comfortable however still stressed :( At times if there are too many kids trying to pet him at once he will get overwhelmed, but usually he just goes and cools off in the closet until he's ready to come out again. Sometimes when we first arrive, he will run around for 5 minutes trying to escape, but for some reason he settles in after the initial shock and then seems to enjoy himself, playing, purring, and cuddling with the kids.

I obviously can't read his mind, so I'm not sure if the negative stressors outweight the positive stimulus he gets there. He is a VERY active cat, and I can only give so much playtime to him in one day. He gets so much stimulus there, gets new sights and smells and people to keep his mind busy. I just don't want to continue bringing him if it is more stressful for him than it is a positive experience.

The kids absolutely love him and even wrote him thank-you cards for coming in to visit them :) I'm lucky none of them have cat allergies. They constantly as me "When Caesar coming back?" "Does Caesar miss me?" etc. etc.

On a note, when I used to bring him in the carrier, he would jump into the carrier every morning, as if he was waiting for me to pick him up and take him with me :) I may be reading too far into that, but thats what it seemed like to me :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
If not kept in the carrier, I'd at least keep a halter on him so he couldn't get out of the car and run away somehow. Might want to be careful to, never know if a kid gets scratched what a parent will do.

I read a note on the wall of the public library in our town "Black cat, male, declawed, lost near interstate at Waffle House. He escaped from our car, please call and we will come get him." It makes me so sad, he's about a 3-4 hour drive away from his home if you take the interstate.

I can only pray one of the 10,000,000 cat haters in this town don't find him, especially with him having no claws.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
My suggestion would be to keep the school visits just for very special occasions - maybe once or twice a year. As awesome as it is to have him near you and that special experience with your students, there's also certain risks that may just be too big. My cat Snow is extremely social, hops in his carrier himself just like yours and loves to go to the vet (until he realizes he's getting a shot :p). I would love to take him more places but there's only so muchr even the friendliest of cats can take. A school full of noisy children, one or two who are bound to not be as gentle or careful, could really startle him at some point. And what if he bolted and got out an open window or door?

And also, keep in mind what trickyspark said. It only takes one scratch, no matter what the situation, to bring an angry parent down on your head.

If you have a little time to play with him when you get home, I think that would probably be good. Cats are pretty good at entertaining themselves. And if you really think he's lonely, is a companion feasible?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
My suggestion would be to keep the school visits just for very special occasions - maybe once or twice a year. As awesome as it is to have him near you and that special experience with your students, there's also certain risks that may just be too big. My cat Snow is extremely social, hops in his carrier himself just like yours and loves to go to the vet (until he realizes he's getting a shot :p). I would love to take him more places but there's only so muchr even the friendliest of cats can take. A school full of noisy children, one or two who are bound to not be as gentle or careful, could really startle him at some point. And what if he bolted and got out an open window or door?

And also, keep in mind what trickyspark said. It only takes one scratch, no matter what the situation, to bring an angry parent down on your head.

If you have a little time to play with him when you get home, I think that would probably be good. Cats are pretty good at entertaining themselves. And if you really think he's lonely, is a companion feasible?

Well, there are no open windows where I work, especially this time of year, however when they are open they are all screened. In order for him to escape, he would have to pass through a series of six doors, five of them that are routinely closed, and two of them that are locked until the security guard "buzzes" them open. He generally stays in a big sub-room of the classroom, in which the only exit is through the classroom, whose door I keep shut. And if someone were to open it, he would need to bolt out of the sub-room, through a classroom, and go past the hall divider doors, (which divide the hallway into 1/2, and remain closed during morning hours), run all the way to the front desk, get past a security guard, who would need to open two sets of doors for Caesar to get out. It is HIGHLY unlikely he would escape. He's never even tried to leave the classroom, as if he gets a little startled, he just goes back into his sub-room, where I don't allow the kids. That is his safe-haven while he is there.
Well, Caesar cannot scratch the children as he has soft paws on both of his front feet. So unless the children pick him up, which I moniter very closely that they DON'T, it is vitrually impossible for him to scratch them with the only claws he has, his back legs. He never exposes his belly while he is there, he is far too busy checking out the sights and sounds, and playing :)


And he does have a companion at home, Juno, he's just so darn curious about everything, constantly looking out the window, constantly getting into things (It doesn't bother me at all, I just find it sad that he has to go to extremes to amuse himself.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
If not kept in the carrier, I'd at least keep a halter on him so he couldn't get out of the car and run away somehow. Might want to be careful to, never know if a kid gets scratched what a parent will do.

I read a note on the wall of the public library in our town "Black cat, male, declawed, lost near interstate at Waffle House. He escaped from our car, please call and we will come get him." It makes me so sad, he's about a 3-4 hour drive away from his home if you take the interstate.

I can only pray one of the 10,000,000 cat haters in this town don't find him, especially with him having no claws.

Well, I always keep the doors and windows locked in my car (I thought of that what if he steps on the automatic window open button). So the actual drive there is not a worry. I wrap him up in a blanket (cold weather) while carrying him into the school, he doesn't seem to mind, and usually tries to snuggle closer to my body (maybe for warmth?), and never struggles. But if he did get startled and start to struggle, I make sure none of his feet are exposed and could scratch me, causing me to drop him (I wrap them all up in a blanket, and as I've said I never have had any complaints from him about it)

Also, I have soft paws on his front paws, and there is a NO PICK UP RULE, so the chances of the kids getting scratched are slim to none.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,194 Posts
I think it's awesome that you take your boy to school with you!

There are a few suggestions I have from my own experiences though. My youngest cat, Muffin, is a certified therapy cat. My current work schedule doesn't allow for us to have a regular spot anywhere, but he has gotten to come to work with me a few times and I take him out to the pet store about once a month. I say if they love it go for it, but you do need to be careful.

I would strongly suggest harness training him. Muffin wears a harness whenever he's out of the house and it has prevented some possibly bad situations. If needed I can pick him up by his harness to remove him from a scary situation. He's 15 lbs, and the harness distributes his weight in a way that makes this sort of 'rescue' safe.
Get a good harness, and start at home. Put it on for a few minutes every day and give him lots of treats while he's wearing it. When he's completely comfortable wearing it for quite a while he should wear it when you take him out.

Make it clear to the kids that they are NOT to pull on his harness. It is only for his safety and it should only be used to lift, move, or restrain him in an emergency or a sticky situation. If you do it too much he'll start hating the harness, making it counterproductive.

He needs a safe spot in the classroom, a place that the kids are NOT allowed to bother him. You mentioned that you have a closet he has access too. I would suggest teaching him that a kennel is his safe spot, and put the kennel in the closet along with his litter box.
My cats love their kennels, and when I take Muffin out I always have his kennel nearby so he can retreat to it if he feels overwhelmed.

The kennel is also the safest option for transport. Even if you are as careful as possible accidents do happen. Even wrapped in a towel if he were to become startled he could jump away and you could lose him. I always carry Muffin into the building in his carrier, then find a quiet spot to attach his leash. (I put his harness on at home, it's part of his routine.) This way I know he's safe when we're outside. He's an indoor cat and I constantly try to be ahead of the game when it comes to keeping him safe.

I love the softpaws idea, it's a great way to keep the kids, and him, safe. Muffin won't tolerate them, so I use a dremel and carefully dull his claws the night before we go anywhere. For his own safety, and mine. If he were to get startled while I was carying him he could inadvertently scratch me, which (even if I'm used to it and would shrug it off) can look scary to the people wherever we are.
This has happened before. I forgot to dremel his back paws before one of our hospital visits, and when I held him in the elevator he got scared, and tried to climb to my shoulder...irritating the skin on my bare arms when he did so. After that I always dulled all his nails, and wore long sleeved shirts as well. The welts didn't bother me, and went away after an hour or so, but they started some of the patients we visited who had never owned cats.

I think you should still bring him in, but up your safety procedures a bit. You could also see what the requirements are in your area for therapy cats and see if he passes the test. That way you have a bit of protection in the event of an accident.

BTW I'd love to see pictures of him enjoying pets from the kids in your class :) Muffin LOVES his friends!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
I used to bring him in the carrier, he would jump into the carrier every morning, as if he was waiting for me to pick him up and take him with me :) I may be reading too far into that, but thats what it seemed like to me :)
Honestly, I'm in a similar situation to you, now that you mention it. I don't know if Milky likes going out or not. But I do know that every time I take out Milky's carrier bag and place it on the floor, he just jumps in himself as if waiting for me to take him out too.

I am guessing that he likes it though, because if he didn't enjoy going out, he wouldn't get into the bag so easily, nevermind waiting!! If he didn't like it, I'm sure it would be quite difficult getting him to stay in the bag. Have you tried letting him wait in the bag before to see what his reaction is if he waits a while?
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top