One afternoon, after collecting my 5 year old son from his Reception class after school, my son happily presented me a grey plastic box and announced it was his turn to present his “Mystery Box” to the class. He said very few words, other than that it needed to be a surprise and that the teacher had said that they were not to bring toys in to school.
Fast forward a few more hours and a little more digging, we established that it was supposed to be a fun exercise for his classmates to ask him questions to guess what was in the box. He, in true 5 year old fashion, then reached across to a pair of dirty socks – recently worn that day, and haphazardly threw them in closing the box with much gusto, announcing proudly that his homework was done! After all, as it turned out, his mate who presented last week had offered up his school jumper! Thankfully, Miss 6 came to our rescue and said that she was certain that his teacher would be most disappointed if a pair of socks was the culmination of all his Mystery Box efforts. She then turned to me, scrunched up her nose and said “Mum, I just DON’T think it’s a good idea” with all the dignity of a sister one year above her younger brother. Master 5 then sat, cross legged on the floor and pulled out the socks from the box, “Well, I don’t CARE what YOU think anyway. Just because YOU got to bring in a kitty last week for ‘Show and Tell’, yours was easy!”. A mother’s guilt is never an easy thing, just two weeks prior, Miss 6 had brought in a Mist kitten for ‘Show and Tell’, she’d revelled in the adoration of her classmates who were understandably enamoured with her pet and Cloud had appeared to love the fuss as well. Master 5 however, had been most put out that he’d missed all the fun! I’d then promised Master 5, that at some point he could have a turn as well. I simply hadn’t thought that time would swing by so soon!
After checking with a bemused teacher and reassuring her, that it was and would be indeed okay for us to bring in a kitten for Master 5’s presentation, I wondered to myself how I thought 4 month old Cloud would do being placed into a plastic box (with holes), dragged into an unfamiliar environment surrounded by unfamiliar people and handled by 33 rambunctious children. I knew Cloud had performed exceptionally during Miss 6’s presentation, but in that situation all children had remained seated, Cloud had arrived in her familiar cat carrier and spent a majority of the presentation on Miss 6’s lap.
The day of the presentation arrived and needless to say I was pleasantly surprised by the way it turned out. Cloud trusted us implicitly, despite our placing her in an enclosed box. She remained calm and tolerant, peeking out inquisitively through the holes and gaps, realising herself surrounded by faces, smells and sounds she was unfamiliar with. Never once did she show any traces of fear, she never hissed and lifted her paws to scratch, even when the delighted class descended into uncontrolled chaos when the box lid was lifted. When the majority of children stood and rushed towards Cloud to touch her, disregarding their teacher’s frantic calls to order and when her attempts to keep everyone seated failed, I thought surely Cloud would spring up to flee. Yet still she sat, then lay in the box patiently suffering the hands and noise, until a little girls’ voice could be heard across the din “Listen! She’s purring!”. The room fell silent and for a moment, and all the kids froze. The teacher looked at me in shocked wonderment and silently mouthed “I can’t believe she’s doing so well!” then immediately took advantage of the break in momentum to swiftly regain order.
Questions then flowed, the children sat in a circle and Master 5 was allowed to bring the kitten around – one at a time, to show each child his kitten and allow pats if the child so chose to do so. Finally completed, Master 5 turned and thanked his classmates, buried his face in Cloud’s fur and kissed her on the head. He told her, she was the best kitty ever and that now she could go home with Mummy and rest. He placed Cloud back into her carrier and the event concluded rather uneventfully, much to our pleasure and glee.
Never have I been so proud, of my cats and my son. It provided me reassurance that my breeding program was producing well socialised, beautiful and loving pets. Seeing the joy on those children’s faces, the look of amazement of the teachers and other parents, made me realise how lucky I was to be part of something that could provide so special an experience. The comments and questions about the Mists from others came thick and fast, a common recurring comment being ” There’s no way, my cat would ever handle themselves so well in a situation like that!”
I have attached below some pictures of the event, that I take pride in sharing with you all. A glimpse at how I feel small events can make some small differences in our day to day lives and change perspectives of the young generations coming through. The event not only provided an education assignment for my son and his class, but also reinforced the passion I feel for the Australian Mist breed, and highlighted the reasons why I believe, Mists will almost always make the perfect family pet.
Katithanda Adelaide Clouds
Primary school “Show & Tell” presentation, 2019
Katithanda Adelaide Clouds
Primary school “Mystery Box” presentation, 2019