Out of the Cage! logo and skyline

Young New Yorkers Love the Littlest New Yorkers

Shortly after her visit to the preschool class with class with NYFCI Director of TNR Education, Kathleen O'Malley, Coyote the kitten was adopted.
Shortly after her visit to the preschool class with class with NYFCI Director of TNR Education, Kathleen O’Malley, Coyote the kitten was adopted.
This past spring, Kathleen O’Malley, the Director of Trap-Neuter- Return (TNR) Education for the NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, was invited to visit a preschool class at the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood that was in the process of learning about cats. A then-seven-week-old, adoptable kitten named Coyote accompanied Kathleen to participate in her talk to 17 engaged four-year-olds.

“For this age group I focus on the adoptable-kitten rescue part of TNR,” says Kathleen. So, she told the class, “Coyote was lost in someone’s back yard in Brooklyn. She didn’t know where her mother was and she was hungry. My friends at the Animal Haven shelter rescued her. They will get her adopted to a nice family.”

As the class gathered around Kathleen and Coyote in Room 212, they eagerly shared what their teacher, Ms. Acosta, had just taught them about cats. They talked about how a cat uses its tail to balance, what whiskers are for, and more. Kathleen recalls these young students even knew that a cat doctor is called a veterinarian and says that one “brave little girl pronounced the word perfectly.” The class also presented Coyote with a bag of cheesy cat treats they had baked especially for her, and she thanked them by nibbling on one.
Some of the new little cat lovers included drawings with their thank-you notes to Kathleen and Coyote for visiting their preschool class.
Kathleen enjoys when young children share their own experiences, learning, and enthusiasm for cats and kittens with her, just as much as she loves an opportunity to address kids. “It’s enriching and enlightening for everyone concerned,” she says, “even for the kitten, who got her first exposure to little kids. I told the class that some kittens are shy around children, but thanks to them we now know that Coyote is ‘kid-friendly’ and that is good information for Animal Haven to share with potential adopters.”