Ms. Z. and Her Feline Companions
January 6, 2021
Any student who has ever had the pleasure of taking an English class with FCHS’s Victoria Zavadsky must certainly know about her intense love for felines. Zavadsky has been teaching English and AP Language and Composition at FCHS for many years. One thing that has and will continue to be associated with her is cats.
Zavadsky officially takes care of three male cats and unofficially takes care of two strays. Buddy is her oldest cat and also the most affectionate. The other two, Oscar and Otis, are younger and love attention. Throughout her education career (having received an administration degree from George Mason University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University in addition to teaching for many years), Zavadsky’s cats have played a large role in her stress relief.
Perhaps surprisingly, when she was the age of her students, Zavadsky was not a fan of cats at first. But all of that changed when she was gifted her first kitten. Now, she claims that her felines “are like part of the family.”
The subject of cats periodically comes up in Zavadsky’s class, whether using the acronym SPACECAT to analyze different writing works or telling her students her latest cat story. “If [Zavadsky] didn’t bring up the cats, someone else would,” said Sam Hagan (‘18), a former student. Zavadsky’s students appear to be excited to hear the latest shenanigans of their teacher and her feline friends.
When asked if the cat stories brighten her day, current student Riley Yowell responded with “100% yes. They’re funny and entertaining, and honestly, they serve as a great reminder to people that teachers do have lives outside of school.”
Zavadsky also shares her love for cats with her coworkers. English and AP Seminar teacher Chris Zema says that he receives “many random cat photos” from Zavadsky in their text messages. Zema even admits that he is somewhat jealous of Zavadsky for her trademark niche. “Everybody knows what to get her for the holidays,” Zema said. “I wish I had my own niche like that.”
Coworkers and students have noted that Zavadsky has many exciting stories, like getting licensed in cosmetology, working at UVA hospital, or even working in photography. However, even with her encyclopedia of fantastic tales and traits, the people of FCHS may continue to remember her best as “the cat lady” for years to come.