March 11 2014 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Thursday, December 12, 2013
An extra name has been added to the register at a Hellesdon infants school, though this particular pupil is of the feline kind and answers “meow,” when his name’s called.
For staff and pupils at Arden Grove Nursery and Infants School have adopted Thomas, a stray domestic short-haired cat after discovering him under a bush in the school grounds off Cottinghams Drive during the summer.
Now the two-year-old black and white cat has become a familiar sight in and around the school and he often wanders into lessons and assemblies where the pupils can stroke him.
The only students who can not touch him are those with medical conditions, while the children have also been taught to look for signs the cat may not be happy being stroked.
Daniel Thrower, the school’s headteacher, said he has also been given a purpose built kennel in the school grounds and access to the boiler room, where he will soon be getting a car flap.
The staff also provide him with a bowl of food, while provisions are also made for him at weekends and during the school holidays.
The school council wrote to a local vet, who has agreed to sponsor him and pay for his annual check-ups and innoculations.
Mr Thrower said: “He is a stray cat and started coming to the school during the summer months and when we returned to the school he looked a little bit unkempt so we tried to find out if he was a stray and when no one came forward, we adopted him.”
The school’s staff spoke to local residents to see if anyone had lost a cat, but nobody came forward to claim him and the cat did not have a name tag or a microchip.
Mr Thrower said the cat had also given the children the opportunity to learn more about the welfare of animals, how to look after them and how to judge their moods by observing their body language.
He added: “The children absolutely love him. It is unique. He has adopted us so we decided to adopt him.”
Pupils Georgia-May Jones, six, from Aylsham and Evie Baker, six, from Hellesdon, accompanied Thomas on his first visit to the vet when he was given the all clear and declared to be in very good condition.
Georgia said she was already familiar with animals as her family has five chickens and one dog, adding: “We really love Thomas, he purrs and he is just good company. He had his jabs done and a chip when he went to the vets.”
Evie added: “We’ve learned that when he wags his tail that means he wants to be left alone and when his hair goes back he also wants to be left alone.”