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Bader's A Cat In Class By Herself

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Bader’s A Cat In Class By Herself

By Mary Jo Frank

(News School Reporter)

Bader is one up on her fellow felines who are common house, alley or barn cats. She’s a school cat.

To the 135 students at Bader Elementary School, for which the cat takes her name, she is Top Cat.

The butterscotch-colored cat, with golden eyes, stalks the halls, classrooms and offices in the mornings, occasionally stopping for a drink in a classroom sink, a walk across the piano keys or a visit to the Bader goldfish and gerbils.

In the afternoon she can be found napping next to secretary Alice Gerlach’s purring electric typewriter.

An open window in the school office provides access in and out of the building for Bader. She sometimes joins the students in recess or plays with a neighborhood squirrel.

When the school day ends. Bader, sometimes called ‘‘Dixie Bader” for those who get confused by a school and a cat bearing the same name, retires to the boiler room.

There she has food, and litter, compliments of the teachers and secretary, and a warm boiler to curl up on.

Fifth grader Karen Eglington says she and some friends found the cat being mistreated by older students near Tappan Junior High School. She and her sister Ann brought the stray cat home. Bader later followed them to school and apparently decided to stay.

Mrs. Gerlach says Bader’s presence has removed some of the traditional stigma of the school office.

‘‘Some children who are shy come in daily to the office to say ‘hi’ to Bader,” Mrs. Gerlach says.

As she roams the school, Bader gets an occasional tweek behind the ear but she doesn’t cause much of a stir.

Dean Smith, fifth and sixth grade teacher, says, the presence of the cat causes the same feelings a cat might at home.

‘‘The students don’t make a fuss about her. They pet her as she goes by. She is part of the feeling of the school,” he says.

Karin Asplund, kindergartener, recalls one day when Bader climbed on a desk nearby and started to take a nap.

Jane Graves, first grader, thinks the mascot may be doing more than just napping on Mrs. Gerlach’s desk.

‘‘She is taking typing,” Jane says.

Among Bader’s friends are Clea Finkle and Mary Beth Schroek, fifth graders.

Mary Beth says, ‘‘I like her. She’s a good companion.”

Clea adds, ‘‘She doesn’t usuallv scratch except when someone tries to pick her up. She is a shy cat, a very quiet cat.”

Mrs. Gerlach says plans have been made to declaw and spay Bader.

Smith says student keep an eye out for Bader. Every morning Custodian James Anderson lets Bader out for a walk. Students usually bring her back.

Bader may be a Top Cat but she won’t rate any ‘‘perfect pussy” titles.

Art teacher Joan Otis recalls the day Bader brought in a dead bird to play with in the art room. Anderson cut that game short when he disposed of the bird.

In addition to Mrs. Gerlach’s desk and the boiler, Bader also likes to curl up on Principal Frank Tarzia’s desk, coat or chair.

In invading the principal’s office, Bader may have gone one step too far. She recently ate Tarzia’s lunch.

Bader Often Naps Next To Secretary Alice Gerlach’s Typewriter