Elysian Heights — It’s been 50 years since Room 8 Cat passed away this month after roaming the hallways and classrooms — especially Room 8 — of Elysian Heights Elementary. But while Room 8 is gone, he’s far from forgotten.
The famous feline first appeared on campus in 1952 and soon ingratiated himself with students and staff, according to the Echo Park Historical Society and other sources.
Word eventually spread about Room 8, attracting reporters to the campus to conduct interviews and take photos. Fan mail addressed to Room 8 would be opened and responded to by fifth and sixth graders, some of whom were not too keen on serving as the cat’s secretaries. A book — “A Cat Called Room 8″ — penned by the school’s principal was published in 1966 and Room 8 even had some TV appearances.
Room 8’s reign finally came to an end when he pass away on August 13, 1968, according to some cemetery records. In a story about his death, Los Angeles Times reporter Dial Torgerson wrote that Room 8 “took fame with feline equanimity, posing casually for countless pictures, becoming ruffled only once, when asked to put his [aforementioned] paw prints in concrete in front of the school. (He left so fast he provided a tail print, too).”
His remains are buried at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas but there are numerous reminders and tributes to Room 8 at his old school. On one of the school buildings a mural of the feline stares out upon Echo Park Avenue while tributes to Room 8 are inscribed into the sidewalk surrounding the school. Says one tribute:
Without A Name
To Room 8 He Came
To Give Our School
The Greatest Fame
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