Finding a home may be tough for stray animals, but Zeytin and Betül are lucky when it comes to their human caretakers. The stray cats have become very special members of the classroom at Soğucak Middle School in Turkey’s Aegean resort town of Kuşadası after they were adopted as the sixth-graders' "class cats."
Zeytin and Betül sit in on the lesson with the students, walking on the desks during the lessons from time to time. But mostly, they sit quietly through lessons while providing company to the teacher and her students.
The students saw first the cats in the school garden about three months ago. Then they told their math teacher, Bendegül Uyaroğlu, that they wanted to take care of the cats. When the school administration agreed to the students' request, the cats underwent health checks and were given a home in the classroom.
Uyaroğlu and her students later made houses from vehicle tires and waste materials in the classrooms for the cats to sleep in.
Stating that she is proud that the students have taken on such social responsibility, Uyaroğlu said, "We are having a great time with Betül and Zeytin."
"We hosted the cats at first and bought them food. Then they decided to stay here. When they adopted this place as their home, we built a home for them. Now we have started to leave them in the lessons. The children take care of the cats and feed them. It became a responsibility for them too," said Uyaroğlu, adding that the cats are fed regularly.
"We also leave food for the cats outside. They are permanent guests of our school. We are happy with them, even if they sometimes lie on their books," she said.
Tanem Kavak, one of the students, also said that the classroom is more colorful with cats.
"They are a source of joy in our lessons," said Kavak, adding that she helps feed the cats.
"Cats are a source of joy in lessons. They listen to lessons and sleep on our desks. We love them very much. They love us too. It is a very nice feeling," Kavak told Anadolu Agency (AA).
Aymila Tokmak, another student, said that she loves cats very much.
Emphasizing that it is important to adopt stray animals, Tokmak said, "Thanks to them, we have taken responsibility. We take care of them very well, the lesson goes very well together. Betül and Zeytin accompany us," she added.