Anne Gelhaus reports for the San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 19, 2015, that the Marienthal family adopted Bubba the cat in 2009 and tried to make him an indoor cat. But Bubba likes to roam and has become a fixture in two nearby schools — Leland High School and Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose, California.
Amber Marienthal said “He’s really loud” and that she still gets calls from staff and students who see him on campus and think he’s lost.
Like many members of Leland High School’s student body, Bubba is a social animal — he attends sporting events, hangs out on campus with his buddies and has a Facebook page dedicated to his exploits. Bubba even has a Leland student card.
But unlike Leland’s other students, Bubba can roam the school’s halls freely during class. And if he wants to be excused, he doesn’t have to raise his paw; he just meows.
Bubba is known and loved by many at both schools, as his 600-plus Facebook followers attest. Marienthal, the administrator of Bubba’s Facebook page, says Bubba’s fans want him to branch out into other social media. She says, “People want me to get him on Instagram” but “I only have so much time to devote to my cat’s social life.”
Bubba has been featured in other media. He’s been written up in the high school’s newspaper, senior magazine and yearbook. Marienthal says “The students at Bret Harte petitioned to have a statue erected in his honor,” but their petition was denied.
Both of Marienthal’s sons attended Bret Harte and are now at Leland. She says Bubba started hanging out on campus about a year before her oldest son Matthew, who just started his sophomore year at Leland, entered sixth grade at the middle school. And she says the cat is likely to stay in school even after both of “his boys” graduate.
Marienthal says she’s gotten no complaints from staff or students at either school about Bubba prowling the campuses. Her main worry is that Bubba has come close to shaving off one of his nine lives on several occasions. She’s seen him lay down on Leland’s soccer field in the middle of practice and wait for one of the players to pet him. “He’s really social and he has no fear,” Marienthal says. “I’m surprised he’s still around.”
While he usually makes it home at night, Bubba did have a scare when he wandered onto the Leland campus during registration last month and accidentally got locked inside a classroom for 36 hours. Luckily, a security guard heard him meowing and set him free.
Since Bubba meanders freely in and out of classrooms, teachers have learned how to deal with his presence. “One teacher made the mistake of buying treats for him,” Marienthal recalls, which led Bubba to sit by his classroom door and wait to be fed. “Bubba would meow for treats. [The teacher] got sick of the noise.”
Marienthal says she’d like to see her cat included in another important campus activity: “We’d love it if they let him do cap and gown in 2017. That’s the group that’s been with him through Bret Harte and Leland.”
Meanwhile, Bubba has developed attendance habits that students may want to emulate. “He waits for school to start, and he doesn’t come home until all the sports are done,” Marienthal says. “As long as he’s alive, I think he’ll hang out at the school.”
Bubba’s Facebook page is at facebook.com/bubbatheschoolcat.