KokoCat, Inside and Out is a story about an indoor cat that escapes and experiences the outdoors. With each page turned, KokoCat experiences the challenges associated with life outside compared to living indoors like she is used to. This book can serve as a discussion starter on the ways to show empathy towards frightened pets, as well as compare and contrast human and animals needs.
Why use this book?
- Demonstrates the importance of keeping a cat indoors, unless the cat is being supervised on a leash or in a catio
- Demonstrates the needs of cats and expression of their natural behaviour
- Identifies responsible pet ownership behaviours
Ask your students:
- What is the main idea of this story? Did any part of the book scare you? Did any part of the book make you sad? Why?
- What do cat owners do to take care of and protect their cat?
- How do you think KokoCat felt when she was lost? Have you ever been lost? If so, how did it feel?
- How do the illustrations show KokoCat feeling safe? Frightened?
- Why do you think KokoCat dreams about her food bowl, window seat and soft spot on the bed?
- How do you think KokoCat felt when she was found by her owner?
- What is a veterinarian? Have you ever been to a veterinarian’s office before? How is it similar to or different form your doctor’s office?
- How do you think KokoCat felt when she was given a shot and had salve put on her wounds by the veterinarian? How do you feel when you need to get a needle?
- What can a pet owner do to comfort or calm a frightened pet?
- What is KokoCat wearing around her neck in the last picture? What do you think the ID collar is for?
- Was KokoCat safer indoors or outdoors? Why do you think that?
- What can happen to cats that are allowed outside? What effect can cats have on wild animals?
- Indoor cats need things to do so they don’t get bored. What can you do to help them stay active?
- KokoCat Says… – There is a lot of rich vocabulary in this book! Ask students to imagine that they are a cat and as a class act out each of the vocabulary words while discussing their meaning. Note that some of the words are synonyms. Once students have learned all the words, play “KokoCat Says” following the same rules as Simon Says. For example, “KokoCat says lunge forward”.
- Vocabulary List: stalks, bats, boxes, runs, swishes, stretches, preens, streaks, lunges, races and darts.
- Describing Cats – Have students use three to four of the vocabulary words from the previous activity and write a poem or paragraph about their own pet or an imaginary pet.
- Comparing Cats and Kids – How different are we from cats? Divide your class in half – one side kids and the other side cats. Read the needs form the list below one at a time and have students raise their hand if it is a need for them. You may want to record the answers on the board. After completing the exercise discuss the similarities and differences between cats and people. There are some examples that appear to be differences, but are just different ways to meet a common need. For example both cats and people need to exercise, however people ride bicycles and play sports while cats play with toys and use scratching posts.
- Needs List:
- Food and water (cats and kids)
- Visit a veterinarian (cats)
- Use bicycles, balls, and skipping ropes (kids)
- Use a scratching post (cats)
- Play with toys (cats and kids)
- A collar (cats)
- Sleep (cats and kids)
- Family and friends (cats and kids)
- Love (cats and kids)
- Needs List:
- What Cats Need – All pets (including cats) have basic needs. As a class, brainstorm the needs of pets – including food, water, shelter, grooming, veterinary care, exercise, and love. Discuss how the specific needs of a cat differ from other animals, such as dogs.
- Purrfect Construction – Have students construct a model of a purrfect toy, bet, or play space for a cat. Brainstorm a list of appropriate materials that would be safe for a cat then have students share their models with the class. Have students compare the models that have the same purpose (ie: the toys). How do the models differ? What parts make them the same? EXTENSION: Have students share their models with staff from a local shelter. Shelter staff may be able to suggest improvements to make objects safe for cats, or so that cats will get the most use out of them. Have students construct the most popular models of toys and beds and donate them to the local shelter.
Additional Resources Related to Book:
- Cats and Birds has great information on the impact cats have on birds, and includes resources and ideas on how to care for your cat outside in a responsible way.
- Learn more about the status of Cats in Canada (Humane Canada Report 2017)