Cats on Zoom: Slice of Life #sol21 3/31

A few things you are guaranteed to experience during any class I teach on Zoom:

  1. Poetry.
  2. Hearing me say “Ok, I’m going to share my screen now” approximately 12,000 times.
  3. Cats.
Ready for class to begin

Surely I’m not alone in thinking that pets–more specifically, cats–are the best thing about Zoom school. Only one of my six has never made a Zoom appearance. Four of them are daily visitors to the Zoom classroom, swirling in front of the screen as I’m trying to teach, pulling my headphones out of my ears, displaying their bottoms for all to see as they hop into my lap. Lifting a cat out of the way so that I can see my own slides has become a frequent Zoom teaching move.

I think my cats find it a bit pathetic how I sit all day long alone in a room talking to myself. They come over frequently to check on me. They curl up in my lap to offer some comfort.

It’s welcome companionship. I am thankful that our school culture de-emphasizes cameras, but it does sometimes feel a little lonely. A purring lap of cat can’t help but feel encouraging. And petting them gives me something tangible to do during those extra long Zoom wait times.

Of course, because they are cats, there is also an annoyance factor. Toast and Chipotle are wire chewers, and I have to pry their jaws open several times a day to rescue my headphones or my ring light wires. Smudge sheds, covering my keyboard with fine black hairs that waft onto my face and get stuck in my lipstick. Zorro visits the Zoom just to steal pens, chew on my writer’s notebook, and knock books off my desk. Even on Zoom, he’s a lot of kitty.

Still, cats on Zoom are what I will miss most when we return to the building and resume teaching in person.







31 responses to “Cats on Zoom: Slice of Life #sol21 3/31”

  1. TammyB Avatar

    Love it! Kitty pics make me so happy! hahaha
    Last night on a meeting we were laughing about the antics of my friend’s 3 legged cat. She wanted us all to see her!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That sounds like the best meeting! Kitty pics always make me happy too. I’m a sucker for a pet slice!

  2. glenda funk Avatar

    Of course your cats are on Zoom with you. Where else would they be? You know I’m all in for cats contributing to the lesson and love reading about their antics and seeing their furry faces.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Cats definitely should be contributing to lessons! I wish so many people weren’t allergic. I’d totally advocate for an emotional support cat in the building!

  3. Juliana Ellington Avatar
    Juliana Ellington

    So many photos of Chipotle!! I love this post, of course!!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Isn’t Chipotle wonderful? I promise to include some Oliver photos some other time.

  4. arjeha Avatar

    When I hold a ZOOM meeting for our school retirees it is a given that Dustin of Ned will put in an appearance. Although at a “How to Conduct a ZOOM Meeting” workshop we were told that pets should be kept out of the picture I feel that this is their house and they allow me to live here so if they want to ZOOM it is fine with me. Love your pictures.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That’s so silly when everybody knows the first rule of Zoom is “show the kitty!” Really, any pet will do. I’m thrilled to see dogs, birds, turtles, whatever. But cats are, of course, my favorite. I have a colleague with 4 cats and love getting a peek into her zoom and seeing her feline family!

  5. jarhartz Avatar

    Love your cats. And what will they do when you aren’t there? Leaving my cat will be the hardest part of leaving my Zoom world. He has been a constant presence. Mostly sleeping in a basket beside me. Occasionally he decides to join us. Mostly I think he feels sorry for me, talking to myself.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Leaving my cats will be the hardest part of leaving the Zoom world for me too. I have really enjoyed getting to spend so much time with them. And I think they love having the people home all the time–laps on demand 24/7.

  6. Ramona Avatar

    Woo hoo! The cat post I’ve been waiting and watching for. I’m so disappointed if Lisa Desjardins cat isn’t on screen for PBS Newshour, although your cats are imminently more photogenic! And please tell your cats I LOVE them!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      LOL!! They are very ready to be Internet famous!

  7. Amanda Potts Avatar

    Chipotle! I love that your cats come to visit your classes – and of course they do. My two are often checking in on their boys rather than bothering with boring old me, though Hera does like to come around just to see if maybe I’ll forget it’s not dinner time & feed her early. This line made me laugh, “I think my cats find it a bit pathetic how I sit all day long alone in a room talking to myself. They come over frequently to check on me.” What must they think now that their people are around all the time? (Well, we’re in person at school, but my partner is home & they definitely take advantage.)

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That’s an added bonus for them: my desk is mere feet from the food bowls, so I notice if they’re empty. My husband makes them wait for meal time, but I always take pity on those hungry bellies and give them a snack.

  8. Lisa Keeler Avatar

    This is ggreat! Making the most of this crazy time. Also I love that poetry is something that is always a part of your Zooms.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There is no poetry in our curriculum. Can you imagine??

  9. Art of the Beat Avatar

    Kitties! Kitties! All day! Thank you for sharing your furry friends with us 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Any excuse for a cat post!

  10. Trina Avatar

    I continue to love your cat posts, especially that I have cats of my own now. I would love to be a student in your class WITHOUT cats, but I am certain that the cats make it even more enjoyable

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m convinced that the cats make it better–even for those surely rare students who don’t like cats.

  11. margaretsmn Avatar

    My cat is so attracted to a screen with voices to hear. She rubs against my computer leaving behind a spray of white fur. Yes, you must bring your cat. They come anyway.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      My keyboard and screen are currently coated in black hairs from Smudge’s most recent visit!

  12. carwilc Avatar

    This is too funny! Dogs are often prominently featured in my Google meets!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Oh, I bet they do! Your students must LOVE seeing your dogs! One of my colleagues has a gorgeous elderly Great Dane who naps on the couch behind her. The first time I saw this in a meeting, I didn’t even realize what i was looking at until maybe halfway through the meeting the dog lifted its head. I’m guessing its sleeps A LOT.

  13. karpenglish Avatar

    I had to jump in today to get an update on your cats. One of mine will stay with me all day UNLESS I sit around all day and talk to myself, and then she leaves in a huff. The other one prefers to stand at my ankles, demand that I open the window, demand that I close the window, and generally swear at all the birds. She also likes to jump onto my lap at random moments, shed into my eyes, toe type mystery messages to my students, and then try to lean me right out of my desk chair so that she can sleep on it. I agree that cat-in-lap perks are definitely great for working from home in lonely teenaged Zoom silence, and whenever my cats walk through, I get jolted from thinking I have been abandoned by all the silent little boxes on my screen because my chat box lights up with cries of “KITTY!!!!!!”

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes to the toe type mystery messages! Chipotle has a way of closing the Zoom screen too, which always has me panicking. There is so much desk space here. Why do they have to step onto the keyboard?? I have several cat loving students who are always excited when they spot a cat–which isn’t hard to do at my house. And a few now send me regular photos of their cats too, which I very much appreciate!

      1. karpenglish Avatar

        When my students wrote news articles about what it is like to be a student during a pandemic, many of them mentioned staying home all day with their pets as a big benefit. We played a game in homeroom one day where I asked them to find random things in 60 seconds and show them on camera. The last one was “find something fluffy” and my camera shy 8th graders suddenly put on all their cameras to show their dogs and cats and a parrot and a rabbit. Pets are great icebreakers! Now if we could just get them off of the laptop keyboards.

  14. livinglife816287820 Avatar

    Oh you’ve made me miss my cat back in India even more, I can only see her via a zoom camera and unfortunately no one there realises how much cats mean to me and how I need to see her! Occasionally when I zoom with my little students she is sitting in someone’s lap or on the table and that makes my heart happy! Your cats are gorgeous and so dignified looking apart from the chewing side….They sure will miss you when you’re back in the classroom!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Oh, it’s so hard to be without our cats! I’m so glad you sometimes spot her. Once I’m at work, I might have to Zoom with home during my lunch time just to see what the cats are up to!

  15. Completely Full Bookshelf Avatar
    Completely Full Bookshelf

    I’m glad your cats have been keeping you company on Zoom! There definitely are a few benefits like this to working from home. Also, I completely relate to your screen-sharing announcements—I’ve been on video calls where I have to stop and start sharing over and over, and I end up asking if they can see the screen every single time. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Every single time. “Can you hear the video? Can you see? I’m going to share my screen. I’m going to stop screen sharing. I’m going to share again.” These poor students!!

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