A stranded faculty cat regains her playful methods at Helen Woodward Animal Heart

Children across the country are keen to start school again. The devastating effects of the pandemic on the younger generations are clear to parents everywhere. What may not be so obvious are the challenges faced by another group of schoolyard enthusiasts – school cats. The homeless cats, known to visit school halls, playgrounds, and sandpits, regularly become the random property of caregivers and teachers who feed and socialize with them year round. Tragically, with schools closed from coast to coast, these cats are exposed to isolation, hunger and freezing evening temperatures. The Helen Woodward Animal Center welcomes one such cat whose sweet playful nature has earned it the name Recess.

The recess is healthy again and ready to be adopted.


Last month, a California interior rescue group contacted the Helen Woodward Animal Center about a cat roaming an abandoned schoolyard. The cat, known throughout the neighborhood during the school year, had become a convenient feature in the halls of a local high school, where staff set up food, a bed, and shelters. When COVID-19 regulations closed the school, the cat appeared to be disappearing. However, recent sightings indicated that the cat suffered from drastic weight loss, exposure to the elements, and lack of grooming.

“It’s possible that no one thought of helping because they assumed she was wild,” said Dora Dahlke, adoption services manager at the Helen Woodward Animal Center. “There is a difference between feral cats and homeless cats. A feral cat does not make eye contact and refuses to approach people. Homeless cats are people-friendly, can become dependent on the people they see on a daily basis, and often crave for touch and pets. There are wonderful organizations out there that offer tips to help both wild cats and homeless cats. “

The Helen Woodward Animal Center was ready when the rescue group brought in the nearly two-year-old cat and named her recess as a tribute to her former home and playful nudges. Food, warmth, and kindness were the perfect cure. The break is healthy again and ready to find the comfortable life it deserves. She is available for adoption today.

“It takes a lot of vigilant people to take care of the weakest,” said Dahlke. “We are grateful to community members and animal lovers who keep their eyes open for these beautiful creatures. In the midst of our own challenges, it is easy to forget that school cats are dependent on humanity and we cannot give up on them when the situation changes. “

The Helen Woodward Animal Center is reminding the community to remain vigilant of school cats that may have had problems since the school closed last year.

For more information about the Helen Woodward Animal Center or introducing Recess, visit www.animalcenter.org or call (858) 756-4117 x 313.

For information on how to help a cat you believe is wild, please visit https://www.alleycat.org/resources-page/.

– Helen Woodward Center press release