feral-cat-closes-elementary-school

Visual approximation.

For those of you who hate it when we post things that have nothing to do with hockey, whelp, sorry not sorry.

On Friday afternoon, my brother and I spoke on Facebook chat and he told me about a peculiar thing that happened in Anne Arundel County earlier today.

Richard Henry Lee Elementary, a school in Glen Burnie, had to close its doors early this morning because a feral cat snuck inside the building.

Kelcie Pegher of The Capital Gazette first broke the story:

The feline – whose size and breed have yet to be disclosed – was detected this morning before students got into the building. School officials kept students outside of the building, which typically starts at 8:45 a.m.

Animal Control will be setting up traps for the cat over the long holiday weekend. Robin Catlett, with the Anne Arundel County Animal Control, said the situation is still up in the air. The cat has not been identified by Animal Control yet, so they’re unsure of how they will proceed if they find the cat, Catlett said.

“It would really depend on all the facts,” she said.

That poor, poor cat, but what an awesome way for those kids to get a four-day weekend! I wonder if this would work at my job?

Now while hearing that news made me chuckle (and also thankful no one got hurt), it’s what happened later that day that has me so proud of my home state again.

In the afternoon, the school sent out this tweet.

That’s literally purffect.

This incident comes in the same calendar year as another strange animal-related school closing in Anne Arundel County. In March, two dogs chased three deer through a glass door of Southern Middle school.

No, really.

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  • Chip

    #GlenBurnieFeralCat was trending on twitter for awhile too haha

  • alley881

    This is my sons school. Totally funny to see this since we are huge CAPS fans! The day was crazy and def the joke of the day. Must have been nothing else going on in our county cause my son told me there was 3 helicopters over the school while they waited for buses. Purrrfect way to start holiday weekend

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    THREE helicopters??!?!?! That is hilarious.

  • Emily Wright

    That enigmatic cat needs to backcheck.

  • alley881

    Yup and one each news station. At 4,5 and 6. Lol. Must have been slow news day. Lol

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Feral cat my ass. It’s probably just Milhouse.

    With that said, it’s Glen Burnie, no one was about to learn anything today.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    Ugh stick to analysis of Russian geopolitics and the use of sports figures in propaganda.

  • Sarah

    Sounds like a pussy riot!

  • Mark Gillis

    Can we talk about how the animal control woman’s name is Catlett? CAT-lett.

  • Brendan Maltese

    I teach part time at this school. I was at a different school today, but this is hilarious. Here’s a great news video from it: http://www.abc2news.com/news/breaking-news/feral-cat-prompts-school-closing-in-glen-burnie

  • Shaun Phillips

    #IsItOctoberYet

  • Yo8

    Back in my country on the last floor of my school on the outside emergency corridor there were bats in the early morning and nobody was scare of them. We weren’t suppose to be there but that was our hang up place and not to mention the breeze and the view were amazing. Anyways, one day a bat fell and he apparently had rabies because he had foam on his mouth. We just called the janitor and he took care of it. That was it.

    I would have loved a four day vacation just for that.

  • Sarah

    I grew up out in the country in the US and my dad used to shoot skunks that broke into our chicken coop. Skunks aren’t quite as likely as bats to harbor viruses like rabies, and other diseases that are deadly to people, but they still can… and besides that, it wasn’t the most pleasant thing when my mom and I used to scoop skunk guts into a hole in the ground the next day. Although when I got to kindergarten the boys found me pretty hard to gross out, there was that benefit at least.
    Of course, just as you do with the bats, I now look back and think, “Uh… maybe that wasn’t the brightest thing to be doing,” but oh well. We lived. The down side of the way people here handle these things in the US these days is it’s mostly driven by fear of lawsuits. The upside is it actually does prevent injuries and transfer of diseases sometimes. I guess you take the good with the bad wherever you are.
    What explains the need for three helicopters, though, that I can’t tell you. :D

  • Vicki Albarano Blucher

    You sir, have won

  • Yo8

    I don’t think the shutdown of the whole school is explainable. How hard is to find a cat and get it? Good for the kids to have a free day but like come on this could have been resolved in an hour or less with the help of all the adults and teachers and resume classes.

    Like you said is the fear of lawsuit that makes officials take over the top precautions.

  • Sarah

    Lol! I’m actually quite well qualified to field that question, as a bona fide animal nut who’s done rescue work with dogs and cats, as well as trapping of feral cats in order to spay/neuter, vaccinate and return them.
    1. Feral cats are smart. Feral cats that are not smart are dead. And any cat, feral or not, is good at hiding. Before I leave my apartment I have to check every damn nook and cranny sometimes, because I never know when one of my pet cats decided to hang out in a closet and I shut the door. Finding a feral in a whole school? Ugh, that’s going to take forever.
    2. The humane traps you use for this rely on the cat being hungry, and naive enough to walk into a trap. You put food in the bottom, and when the cat walks in it steps on a panel that triggers the door to close. Some cats are too smart for that, and some of them have been trapped before and are never going in a trap again.
    3. Feral cats, of course, can carry rabies, and even if they don’t, a bite is bad news. Cat bites are deep and introduce a bunch of bacteria. Especially a bite on the hand or on/near a joint can result in some really bad infections if not treated promptly. Plus you need a tetanus shot.
    4. And here’s the kicker. It’s an elementary school. Little kids just see a cute kitty and have no idea the animal is wild and dangerous. They might try to pet the cat. When I trap ferals it’s after dark, so the kids should be inside anyway, but my nightmare is a kid sees a kitty in a cage and tries to stick his fingers in. In the past I’ve just stayed up all night to pick up the traps as the cats go in them, and remove them to a safe place.
    So it actually does make sense to shut the school down. I still haven’t got a damn clue why the helicopters, though.

  • Brendan Maltese

    It’s an open space school, so there are no doors to try to corner it. The cat could be anywhere.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Sarah, great response. They obviously made the right decision here.

  • Sarah

    Thanks! I felt a little weird writing an essay about feral cats in the comments on a hockey blog, but what the hell, not the weirdest thing by half I’ve had to do for animal charity. If anyone wants to know about humane management of feral cat populations you can go here:

    http://www.alleycat.org/trap-neuter-return

    Or, you can witness first hand the scourge of cats in academic environments. Fortunately these are college students, who handle it pretty well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctDL5HGYM6k

  • Yo8

    What? How it doesn’t have doors?

  • Brendan Maltese

    Well, it has exterior doors, but all of the classrooms are in one big open space with half-height dividers to separate each class. It was the trend in the ’70s.

  • Yo8

    Oh, I see. I was thinking that’s how the cat could have been found by closing all the doors have all the adults search for it in each room. I give Sarah the point that not anybody could catch it and has to be someone with experience but finding it is possible with the doors of course.