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Students Pick Mummified Cat For Mascot (w/ pic)


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Logan Students Pick Mummified Cat For Mascot

LOGAN, Utah The Egyptians have King Tut, the Incas have ice maidens and one Cache Valley school now, officially, has joined them with its own preserved artifact.

Students at the Cache Valley Learning Center, a private school in Logan that moved to a new location this fall, voted Tuesday for the school's first mascot: a Mummycat.

The idea didn't just come from nowhere. A real, naturally mummified cat sits on a shelf in the 116-year-old building's basement, just a few feet from where it was found in a dark crawl space. About 3 feet long, the cat appears to have died while on its back, looking upward and stretched out. While parts of it seemed to have decayed, others are completely intact, including its whiskers and ears.


The cat was discovered just before Halloween, bringing several rumors of mummycat curses and mummy ghost stories, science teacher Bill Masslich said.

"It was thrown around as a joke for a while,'' he said, before some of the students started to seriously suggest the cat become the school's official mascot.

Of the 78 students who voted at the K-8 school, 35 students wanted to be the Mummycats. A wolverine and raven came in second and third in the mascot poll.

School Director Anne Desjardins said the new – and school's first – mascot is OK with her, as long as the kids can come up with something visual to use as the mascot. And it can't be the actual mummified cat downstairs, she said.

Student Christian Seiter has some ideas already worked up. The eighth-grader has been the brains behind the mascot election, heading up a student committee for the process. He's also a firm supporter of becoming a Mummycat.

"I thought we needed something to define us,'' he said, adding that he thinks of Aggies when Utah State University comes to mind and other mascots for other schools. ``Mascots kind of define a school.''

Christian saw positives in all three nominations, which were filtered through after students dropped more than 20 nominations in a box in the lunchroom. The Raven would have been known for its intelligence, the Wolverine for its toughness and the Mummycat for its uniqueness.

This is the first school year the Cache Valley Learning Center kids have spent in the building at 75 S. 400 West. The building had been used for about 15 years by Bear River Head Start, and was used as a church before that.

Sometime after school started this fall, school handyman Chris Weber was doing maintenance work in the building's basement and crawl spaces when he found the cat.

"I was almost afraid to touch it,'' he said, although he ended up dragging it out on a little sled. "I kind of thought, 'This would be cool for something.'''

The conditions within the crawl space must have been perfect to preserve the cat, Masslich said. Natural mummifications require colder, arid environments, much like the snowy peaks decades-old mountain men and women have been discovered on in South America. There's no telling how old the Learning Center mummycat is, he said, unless a professional examined it.

"The kids have been urging us to preserve it,'' he said, which is something he'd been hesitant to do before election results came in.

The cat has already helped in some lessons, he said. It was discovered while students were learning about Egyptians, so it was neat for them to see a "real natural mummy,'' Masslich said. All students in fourth- through eighth-grade have been invited to trek downstairs and see the cat, while the younger students have been kept away because they might get scared, he said.

For now, the school will continue developing a design to use as the mascot, possibly voting on that once ideas materialize. Masslich said he'll look into getting a glass case for their not-so-furry friend downstairs, too.

"One thing is that we've been trying to teach with this building – there's a lot of history here,'' he said. ``A lot of things have happened in here.''

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