Tombi is a little orange cat that walked into a public elementary school in the Turkish city of Izmir and chose to make the kids there his friends.
According to The Dodo, the cat, now named as Tombi, originally appeared on the premises of the primary school and spent a few weeks pottering around the school garden.
Tombi was always confident and sociable, despite the fact that he was a stray, and he quickly began attending courses.
Zlem Pnar Ivaşcu, a third-grade teacher, was taken aback by the new student in her class. She said to The Dodo:
He walked into our classroom and sat down. He was a big hit with the kids.
Tombi now has a warm, safe home and a large group of friends who can play.
Ivaşcu and the kids make sure Tombi is always hydrated, and Ivaşcu has even taken him to the doctor to get him vaccinated.
Tombi was fast to make friends at his new school and even helped the kids focus in class, despite the fact that he might have easily become a nuisance.
Ivaşcu found that caring for Tombi offered the kids a sense of responsibility and a new way to participate in their classroom:
The kids are punctual for school and take good care of Tombi. This is beneficial to them.
However, not everyone was happy for Tombi to be a part of the class.
Tombi was removed from the class after a parent complained to school authorities about his being a health concern.
Everyone was sad to see him depart, and Tombi was no exception, despite Ivaşcu’s best efforts to find him a nice new home:
Tombi was placed in a home and lived there for three days, but he was sad. He had stopped eating, so I took him in to my home, but he was not happy there either.
Tombi’s classmates even wrote him notes in an attempt to cheer him up.
But, when Tombi’s condition didn’t improve, Ivaşcu decided to take more severe measures, launching a social media campaign. She explained to The Dodo:
On every television news, the story received a lot of attention and support. Many people, including my manager and the director of education in zmir, lent me their support.
Officials finally gave Tombi permission to return to class when the complaining parent dropped her complaint.
His heartwarming story has inspired others across Turkey, and a drive to give every class in Turkey a cat is gathering traction.