Hampden St School students with Socks the cat at the school last week. They students are from left; Jakob Fletcher, Jack Burrows, Rhys Sharland, Reegan Lawton and William Daniell. Photo: Andrew Board.

School fundraises for cat’s vet bills

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Pupils and staff at Hampden St School left for their summer holidays last Friday feeling a lot happier, knowing that one of the school’s most-liked members is on the road to recovery after having surgery last week.

Socks, the school cat, has been part of the furniture at Hampden St since she “just turned up at the school one day nine years ago”. But earlier this month one of the parents, vet Meg Irvine, noticed Socks was looking a bit thin and lethargic and an examination revealed she needed a tooth removed and medication for arthritis.

When Meg told principal, Don McLean, that the ageing Socks was ill and needed an operation and medication to get better, he knew there was only one option. “It was a no brainer. She’s an old cat but all the staff and pupils wanted to help Socks get better, so Meg operated on her and put her on medicated food formula.

“Then all the kids started raising money to pay the vet bills. They held a coin trail and we got donations from parents and even former parents of the school.

“I was shopping in Noel Leemings one day and a former parent came up to me and gave me $20 for Socks. We’ve raised around $480 so far and the bill was $550, so we are nearly all paid.”

Don says Meg, who is a director at Stoke Veterinary Clinic, also helped out with a “heavily discounted” fee for treating Socks.

Teacher Denise White, who is the unofficial owner of Socks, is especially delighted that Socks is feeling better. She says the school wouldn’t be the same without Socks lounging around the “staffroom, classrooms or wherever there is a sunny spot”.

“She just showed up one day and started hanging around the school. Claire Doris and I put some food out and that was it. She started turning up every day and became a member of the school.”

Denise says she feeds Socks every morning during the school term with a little help from caretaker, Ray Adams, while neighbouring parents take over the feeding duties during school holidays.

Meg says Socks was a model patient and is “recovering very well from her dental procedure”.

“The new medication should make her arthritis feel much better too. We have enjoyed her company at Stoke Vets, but we’re very happy that she can go home to her loving and very large family at Hampden St School.”