Cats Take Second Place as Teacher’s Favorite Pet


Beth Pellerito

Science teacher Fred Pellerito has two cats, three goats and two dogs. Pictured is goat Penelope.

Cats are the second most popular pet choice among Southfield High teachers, according to a survey conducted by The Southfield Jay.
Eleven of the 54 respondents said they owned at least one cat, for pet’s sake, and five reported owning two cats.
Perhaps the biggest cat lover on staff is math teacher Stephen Sharp, who has two feline friends. Tiger – named for his stripes and Sharp’s love of the Detroit Tigers – is the more outgoing one of the pair. She is 13 years old. Sharp’s other cat, Midnight, is seldom seen by visitors because (he or she) hides when anyone visits. Sharp says cats have been a part of his life since 1987 and he has come to accept life with a little cat fur on it at all times.
Due to the long hours teacher work, cats are the perfect pet because they are so independent, says Sharp.
Another staff member with two cats is music teacher Chris Kuhn, who named his kitties Fat Cat and Baby Girl. Kuhn is not ashamed to admit that on Halloween he gleefully dressed both cats up in winged costumes. “Fat Cat had bat wings and Baby Girl had fairy wings, and they didn’t like it,” says Kuhn. Both cats tried to escape their costumes, but just like Kuhn’s students, he made them put in the time.
Biology teacher Jennifer Bargardi is a cat owner by default. “My apartment wouldn’t let me have a dog, so I got a cat,” said Bargardi. “He keeps me company,” says Bargardi of her pet, Oliver. “He’s cuddly, playful and protective.”
But Bargardi says he cat does have an annoying habit of trying to bat the ornaments off of her Christmas tree. “It wakes me up at night; I can hear him playing with the ornaments on the tree.”
Another science teacher with cats is Fred Pellerito. He has two cats named Princess and Naila., who crawl around in his barn but nowadays are mostly inside for the winter.
Pellerito says his cats curl up in bed with him at night, along with his wife, Beth, and their dogs, Cali and Clyde. But after spending all school day in one room with up to 32 students, five in a bed is no big deal, he says.
Like Pellerito, English teacher Debbie Bowen and gym teacher Ernie Taber each have two cats.
Other teachers with cats are Chantay Williams, Virna Hobbs-Calhoun, Joshua Carl, Andrew Green and Charli Migoski.
For them, cats are purr-fect.