Suspected Bobcat Who Shut Down A School Turns Out To Be A Rare Housecat

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on June 10, 2021

Here’s another of the million-and-one reasons cats are great…they get you out of school!

Need proof? How about the smart cat who figured out how to give a whole Pennsylvania high school an extra day at home?

The Tuesday after a long weekend started like any other school day at West Scranton High School, but an intruder brought about an unexpected early dismissal. When school officials spotted what they thought might be a bobcat on campus, they immediately dismissed classes in a move to protect students and staff while looking for the wild cat.

Scranton School District Superintendent Melissa McTiernan applauded the emergency dismissal, telling WNEP-TV:

“I don’t think anyone would have predicted this, of course, but again, our staff and students did a wonderful job not reacting, just quietly got out of the building and we will let the professionals, animal control, do their job.”

School administration contacted animal control officers to capture the cat, but upon seeing the feline on school surveillance footage, officers decided to get the game commission involved as the cat indeed resembled a bobcat.

Bobcats are the only big predatory cats in Pennsylvania and rarely seen, so having one roaming the campus was certainly a surprise. But the cat was indeed there, investigating the cafeteria when first spotted on the surveillance video. And as cats do, the feline intruder was walking across the tables in the footage.

Capturing A Cat

After a two-hour search of the campus, wildlife officers captured the rogue feline, but the culprit in question wasn’t a bobcat after all.

Though a housecat and not a wild cat, the intruder actually proved to be rarer than a bobcat. The kitty who shut down the high school was discovered to be a rare cat breed known as a Clouded Jack. An experimental hybrid, Clouded Jacks are an exotic cat breed that resemble bobcats. And with this kitty’s docked tail, the wild pattern, and big ears, the Clouded Jack cat indeed looked like a bobcat on video.

While this is not the Clouded Jack cat in question, Jupiter provides an excellent example of the breed.

“It looks, I mean, identical. [It has] the colors of a bobcat; it’s missing a tail,” Game Warden Jon Bowman told WNEP-TV. “So just err on the side of caution. We wanted to make sure all the students are safe, and staff are safe.”

And this Clouded Jack, in particular, was missing from home.

Lost and Found

After wreaking his cat curiosity upon the school by first setting off alarms and then canceling school, the mischievous mister was taken to Golden Pond Animal Society. There, staff learned he had a microchip.

Medical and Intake Manager for Golden Pond, P.J. Regan, revealed the cat in question was named Kakashi, and he’d been missing from home for 3 months. Once notified, Kakashi’s mom, Sheanine Johnson, came running!

As Sheanine told WNEP-TV, Kakashi “had us for a little bit of a run around town, trying to follow up leads and stuff, and then behold, he’s at West [Scranton High School!]”

The relieved cat mom also said, “So, sorry, guys.”

But we’re pretty sure those students didn’t mind missing school. In fact, they probably want to thank Kakashi for the day off!

In all seriousness, though, Kakashi found his way home because of his microchip. Time and time again, microchips have made miracle reunions possible. Consider one for your cats, if you haven’t already.

Feature Image: @stacylange/Twitter & P.J. Regan/Facebook