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Room 8

One day in 1952, a cat showed up at Elysian Heights Elementary School in Los Angeles and became a fixture there for the rest of his life. He hung out with the sixth-grade students in room 8, so his name became Room 8. He would vanish each summer, then return when the children came back to school every autumn.
The gray-striped tabby roamed the halls of the Echo Park school for 16 years, sauntering in and out of classrooms, sleeping on kids' desks and, to a teacher's dismay, wiping out a chalked lesson with his fur as he crept along the eraser tray below the blackboard.

"My first recollection of Room 8 was Miss Mason introducing him to our kindergarten class," said student Angie (Medrano) Nicolai. "She wanted us to know that he belonged to the school and that there may be times he would come into our classroom to visit. She put him down and he immediately jumped up on the desk next to the window to take a nap in the warm sun."

The students weren’t the only ones who noticed Room 8. He eventually became the most famous cat in Los Angeles!
The local news media began to take notice of his annual autumnal return to school. His renown spread after Look magazine ran a three-page spread in November 1962 titled "Room 8: The School Cat."

Weekly Reader, a national magazine for elementary school pupils, featured the feline in January 1967. Art Linkletter had the cat as a guest on TV's "House Party," and Room 8 also was featured on "Big Cats, Little Cats," a television documentary that aired in 1968.

According to his biography, Room 8 received more than 10,000 fan letters from 47 states and several foreign countries -- sometimes more than 100 letters in one day.

Room 8 was adopted by a family who lived near the school after recuperating from pneumonia in 1964. He was 22 years old when he died in 1968. His obituary appeared in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and he was buried at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, where a 3-foot granite headstone was erected.

But the legacy of Room 8 lives on. Former school principal Beverly Mason and teacher Virginia Finley wrote a book, "A Cat Called Room 8" published in 1966. There is also a no-kill shelter for homeless cats named in his honor, the Room 8 Memorial Cat Foundation. Room 8’s pawprints were embedded in a sidewalk near the school.

Link to article.

There’s more at the author’s website on Room 8. Link

Related: Five Famous Felines. Link

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Leo Kottke also wrote an instrumental called "Room 8" after viewing the inscriptions in concrete in front of the school where Room 8 lived. It's on his "Mudlark" album.
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Rilo Kiley (also from L.A.) wrote a song called "Room 8." I've never associated its meaning with a cat, but then again I've never paid attention to the words.
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