Cat Keeps Daily Middle School Crosswalk Vigil

VIDEO: Sable the Cat Acts as Crosswalk Guard

A strong superstition is that it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. But one 15-year-old black cat named Sable in West Richland, Wash., is making it his daily effort to disprove that belief.

Sable has become an honorary crossing guard for Enterprise Middle School, equipped with his very own bright orange safety reflector vest. For an entire year, the cat hasn't missed a single morning or afternoon of greeting the students on the corner as they're walking to and from school, making sure to keep a watchful eye out for oncoming traffic.

"The cat just showed up one day," Monti Franckowiak, the school's safety patrol officer, told "It lives on the house on the corner right where we do crossing guard and it doesn't miss a day. This cat has some biological clock built in or something. It just totally amazes me that this cat knows when to be there. The cat was there this morning. He's just part of the crew."

Sable's owner is Tammy Morrison, who moved into her mother-in-law's house on the corner across from the school about a year ago while she and her husband were in transition after selling their last home.

"He usually ventures out about five minutes or more before the students show up," Morrison said. "He sits at his post and it's just amazing. He's very, very, very old, but he's really taken on to what our family refers to as 'his job.' It's always, 'Oh my goodness, there he goes.' He just sits there to wait for the safety patrol team to come out."

The students have really taken to the cat also, whom they fondly refer to as their mascot, which is rather appropriate because the school's actual mascot is the Enterprise Wildcats.

"They just love the cat. They stop by and pet him. They think the cat is just really part of the team," Franckowiak said. "And I'm looking at the cat thinking, 'Oh there goes our famous kitty.' It's definitely our mascot now."

Sable isn't fazed by inclement weather either.

"It's so cute. Doesn't matter if it's snowing or not, he's there," Morrison said.

And Franckowiak confirmed the same. "If we're out there in the snow, the cat is out there in the snow. If we're in the heat, he's in the heat. Freezing cold like this morning, the cat is there in the morning, and he's there at the end of the day when the students leave."

Morrison thinks it's ironic that black cats are often thought of negatively.

"The irony behind it is he's a solid black cat. They get bad raps. Everyone's heard, don't cross the paths of a black cat. And it couldn't be more opposite," she said.

And the Enterprise safety patrol team couldn't agree more.

"It's just awesome. I'm always on one side of the street, closest to the school and the students. And I can look across the street on the other sidewalk and see the cat," said Franckowiak. "It's like this connected bond. It's comforting to know I have someone else, even though it's a cat, looking over these kids with me."

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