Imagine that you’re a student walking into your classroom and taking a seat at your usual desk, expecting the day to be an ordinary school day. When you realize you forgot a pencil and turn to your neighbor for help, you see … a cat!
This unlikely situation is a reality for one cat that has adapted to the life of a school student and has been well accepted, likewise, by his peers.
Just another day at school. I think I am learning French. Not really sure.
Bubba, an orange tabby cat living in San Jose, CA, was adopted by her owners from a shelter in 2009. Initially expecting him to stay inside and keep to his own space like their other cat, the owners constantly find Bubba running outside. Owner Amber Marienthal realized the one place that’s keeping him away from the house is the school nearby.
“It’s very funny,” Marienthal said to ABC News. “We tried to keep him as an indoor cat but he refused to stay in.”
Multimedia class is EXHAUSTING! #sleptthereallday
Initially following Amber’s sons to Bret Harte Middle School, Bubba “graduated” with them to Leland High School. Contrary to the notion that most people have about cats being “standoffish,” Bubba is very social and loves to meet new people.
“He’s really social and he has no fear,” Marienthal told Mercury News.
He would be the first to arrive at the school, sitting patiently by the doors and waiting for staff and students to show up. During a typical school day, he wanders down the hallways and drops in from classroom to classroom, taking a rest in whichever chair or desk he finds handy.
Open, open, open…. #cantwaitfortomorrow
Everyone keeps taking my picture and telling me to say "Cheese". #IDontLikeCheese #SayGopherInstead
Bubba has special privileges as a cat student. He can get up from his seat and leave the classroom without raising his paw or asking for a hall pass. If he needs the doors to be opened for him, he just has to meow and someone will gladly open them.
After classes end for the day, he makes his way down to the sports fields, where he stays to watch the students practice. When the students go home, it’s finally time for Bubba to also head home and be showered with more love from his owners.
The owners have not received any complaints from the school. In fact, Bubba has been very popular among the students. The students at Bret Harte even petitioned to have a statue of Bubba sculpted. Although the idea was denied by the school, Leland High did show its love for the cat by issuing him his own student ID!
It's official – I am now part of the Student Body – the best part, mind you.
Bubba also has his own Facebook page, where over 60,000 fans can follow updates on his life. Not only that, Bubba has received much publicity, appearing in the school’s yearbook and newspaper, making the cover of the senior magazine; even National Geographic devoted a four-page-long story about him.
To let people know that he just enjoys being outdoors and is not a lost cat, Bubba wears a collar with “Leland OK” and “Bret Harte OK” printed on it. The Marienthals also set up a voicemail message on their phone explaining that Bubba isn’t a lost cat; he just enjoys roaming around.
I officially graduated High School yesterday, along with 436 awesome kids (many of whom adore me). Although I couldn't…
“He’s like the neighborhood goodwill ambassador, I guess,” said Marienthal. Bubba is certainly beloved company to everyone whom he comes across. His extraordinary friendliness can be the highlight of an otherwise ordinary day.