Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

The purr-fect teacher’s pet

Photo by and used with the permission of Joe May

Teachers may start out their classes in many ways. Reading a daily objective, collecting homework assignments, or telling a short joke to set the mood for the lesson, are all common introductions for an educational setting. Not many teachers, however, share a picture of their cat.

(Photo by and used with the permission of Joe May)

Joe and Courtney May, English teachers at Lake Zurich High School, have gone out of their way to incorporate their cat, Bae Arthur, into their classes. Bae Arthur, who earned her name from the Golden Girls actress named Bea Arthur, has been an important part of the May household for four years. Mr. and Mrs. May adopted Bae Arthur in 2019, after finding pictures of her an animal shelter website. Mrs. May had cats growing up, and the couple had a cat in prior years as well. After it passed away, they decided to wait to adopt a new one. However, they could not wait very long to introduce another furry friend into their family. 

“[Cats are] funny. They’re really funny; they’re fun to watch, fun to play with, [and] they’re easier than dogs,” Mr. May said.

Other than there being nothing not to love about the felines, the Mays knew what they were looking for from the start.

“We knew we wanted to get an adult cat because everybody adopts kittens, and I saw pictures and thought she was so cute,” Mrs. May said. “She was very shy, [and] it was hard to get her into the cage. When we first got her home, in April, she really wasn’t very social till about July. She was in the shelter pretty much her whole life, so it took her a long time to get used to us and the house.”

However, once Bae opened up to them and her new home, she became an important part of the Mays’ lives.

“We do have a lot of pictures, and we do show people those pictures. We have friends of ours who are of our same age who oddly also have cats and talk about them way too much. Then [we] have to stop [ourselves] and be like ‘this is ridiculous. We should really not be talking about a cat this much,’” Mr. May said.

(Photo by and used with the permission of Joe May)

And as Bae Arthur became an important part of their lives, she also made her way into their classrooms.

“For me, it [started as] a goofy thing I did [during the COVID-19 pandemic],” Mr. May said. “I had made a little presentation for my classes and this was the first year that we had her. I just made a joke […] about how she was kind of a cantankerous cat, but now we’re best friends. And [then] I just kind of decided that I’m gonna go all in on this and make it really goofy. I made a lot of cat references because I just thought people wouldn’t expect [me] to be making cat references all the time. I thought it was really funny.”

Aside from entertainment purposes, Mr. May believes sharing photos of Bae has benefits to his students’ education.

“You know, I think if a kid’s having a bad day, sometimes looking at a cute cat [could make them feel better],” Mr. May said.

In addition to his daily photo of Bae at the start of each of his classes, he has taken to projecting a picture of her on the whiteboard during assessments as a “calming factor” for his students.

(Photo by and used with the permission of Joe May)

“I think [the pictures] just give you a moment to take a break, relax with something else, and then [go back] to your work; [I think that] can be helpful,” Mr. May said. “And it also helps that [she is] the most adorable thing in the world to look at.”

According to Mrs. May, seeing Bae on her screensaver during a difficult class can make all the difference in her mood as well.

“She calms me down if I have a rough class. I pull up the picture I have on [my computer] and she’s cuddling, like almost holding my hand and leaning against it. And it just instantly [gets rid of] whatever [problem] I had,” Mrs. May said.

From the home to the classroom, the Mays have found that Bae Arthur has become the center of their lives in many ways.

“Cat people are weird people,” Mr. May said. “And people love their pets; they’re members of the family.”

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About the Contributor
Sadie Good
Sadie Good, Staff Writer
During her second year on staff, Sadie will continue writing for LZ Life and is looking forward to fulfilling her role of Junior Editor-in-Chief for the Bear Facts Magazine. In addition to journalism, Sadie is involved with the LZHS Literary Magazine; after school, she works at the Fish Market in downtown Lake Zurich. Outside of work and school, she enjoys reading, experimenting with new recipes, and spending time with her loved ones. In the future, Sadie aspires to become an investigative journalist.  

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