Teacher's Pet

Judy Rosenberg is an imaginative teacher. A few years ago, in her never-ending quest to make learning fun, she got the idea to bring her favorite feline to her second grade class on a regular basis. A 10-year-old Persian with an impressive pedigree, Boo is a sweet, fun-loving cat, making him the ultimate teacher's pet.

Boo's Theatrical Debut

To introduce him to the students, Rosenberg wrote a play for Boo and created a special costume for him. Clad in a "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" costume, Boo was ushered into Rosenberg's lively second grade classroom, much to the delight of the students. While the song Rudolf-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer played softly in the background, Boo played his part impeccably. He waved his fluffy tail good-naturedly at all the right times and his eyes twinkled happily.

Bringing a new cat home to your children? Read Children and Pets for useful tips.

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A Cat with Many Costumes

The students sat spellbound. At the end of the play, a few children were convinced they heard a lively "Ho-Ho-Ho" from Boo as he took his final bow. Besides enthusiastic applause, Boo received bouquets of grins and bright smiles.

As Boo's popularity has increased, so has his wardrobe he's now up to nine outfits. On Valentine's Day he appears in a red, heart-shaped costume. For Halloween, he dons a plump pumpkin outfit. Easter finds him wearing a bunny suit with pink, floppy ears. His most unusual costume may be his daffy dalmatian dog suit. Also in his wardrobe are a chef's outfit, clown suit and Santa Claus costume.

Rosenberg believed Boo would serve as a Muse for her students. She was right. "The students think Boo is just so cool he's a wonderful teaching tool," Rosenberg says. Do you like dressing up your cat? Send us your favorite photos and we may post them on our website. Find out how.

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Feline Muse Inspires Books

The children were so delighted with Boo that Rosenberg decided to embark on another exciting endeavor. Four years ago, her students eagerly began writing and illustrating books about Boo.

The first 120-page book was called Our Teacher's Cat, Boo and featured five hilarious, illustrated tales, including "Boo at Halloween." There have now been four annual editions. The excitement is contagious, according to Rosenberg. "One class's parents donated t-shirts that read "Boo The Cat Our Mascot," she says. "And other parents help typeset and reproduce the books."

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Happily Ever After

Eventually, word spread about the friendly feline that loves kids. Local media ran stories about Boo, and due to her creative teaching methods, Judy Rosenberg, a veteran teacher for over 20 years, received the Teacher Appreciation Award. The school faculty, friends and family members were there to honor her. And so was Boo. So what's next for Boo? He's going to continue his visits to Rosenberg's second grade class. Each year, the new class of students is excited about creating the stories and pictures that will be assembled into another book.

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Boo Eats IAMS ®

Rosenberg feeds Boo IAMS® Canned and Adult Dry Cat Foods. "Nutrition is key. It's the best food we can give him," Rosenberg says. K.W. Gilpin, DVM, of the Shenandoah Veterinary Hospital in Martinsburg, W.V., agrees. "A good quality diet such as IAMS ® Cat Foods, and a good quality home, is the ideal environment to bring out the best in any cat," Gilpin says.

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Operation Outreach-USA

Like Rosenberg, Judy Golden, President of Operation Outreach-USA (OO-USA), believes animals can play a vital role in educating children. OO-USA is a non-profit organization that is partnering with IAMS®. The mission of OO-USA is to teach kids compassion, responsibility and self-esteem, while also improving literacy skills by using stories about animals. "Teacher feedback has been very positive," Golden says.

To date, over 730,000 children have been provided books in over 30,000 classrooms. This material has been donated free to schools by OO-USA. "The involvement of IAMS over the last four years has enabled the program to grow dramatically," Golden says. For more information on OO-USA, please visit their web site.

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