It’s hard to believe that we’re back to school in my town.

Plenty of classrooms will have their own pets as the year goes on, but none quite like this one.

Here’s the story of Room 8, the stray cat turned school cat turned legend.

Back in 1952, students at Elysian Heights Elementary School in Los Angeles noticed that there was a stray cat in the classroom.

The kids convinced the teacher to give the kitty some milk; it also helped itself to some of the students’ lunches and took a nap before leaving.

The next morning, the cat came back to the school along with the students.

After a few more days, teachers and students alike realized this cat had chosen their school as his new home.

One kid suggested that he be named Room 8, after the classroom where he first appeared.

But really, the whole school was his domain.

He got plenty of food, regular checkups and lots of pets.

He also slept wherever he wanted, though he would occasionally be moved if he was distracting any learners.

(One of the school rules was, apparently, “don’t bother the cat.”)

Room 8 would even sit with the sixth graders for their class pictures!

And much like the students, when the school year ended, Room 8 would stop coming to school.

But each year, when school started up again in the fall, he returned.

As the years went on Room 8 started getting attention from newspapers, and fan mail from all over the country.

The students wrote replies to the letters as part of their writing lessons.

Room 8 lived to the ripe old cat age of 21.

He was buried at the same pet cemetery in L.A. where celebrities laid their animal friends to rest.

His obituary was in newspapers across the US.

And Elysian Heights Elementary School has multiple tributes, including a massive mural and a student’s poem written into the concrete:

Without a name
to Room 8 he came
to give our school
the greatest fame.

The Michigan State Fair is getting underway today.

The event dates back to 1849, at least officially.

According to, there was actually a fair a decade earlier.

But the 1839 event had only two exhibitors because quote “exhibitors forgot it was opening.”

Room 8, The Cat That Adopted An Echo Park School, Died 50 Years Ago Today (LAist)

The Michigan State Fair (

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Photo by Paul Narvaez via Flickr/Creative Commons