Master of litters: cat named Max given honorary degree by US university | Vermont

Men named Max have won the Nobel prize (Planck), the Oscar for best actor (Schell), and multiple Formula One world championships (Verstappen).

A cat in the US named Max now joins those lofty ranks, having earned a doctorate in “litter-ature” when Vermont State University bestowed an honorary degree on the campus-dwelling tabby in recognition of his friendliness, a gesture which quickly achieved virality in corners of the internet dedicated to spotlighting light-hearted news.

The cat – full name Max Dow – has proved himself to be a skilled napper and hunter of mice, and “has been an affectionate member of the [campus] family for years”, the school in Casleton, Vermont, said in a pun-laden Facebook post recently announcing the unusual degree conferral.

“With a resounding purr of approval from the faculty, the board of trustees of … Vermont State … has bestowed upon Max Dow the prestigious title of doctor of litter-ature, complete with all the catnip perks, scratching-post privileges and litter-box responsibilities that come with it.

“Congratulations Dr Max Dow!”

The diploma for Max. Photograph: Rob Franklin/AP

Max Dow is not participating in Vermont State’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, although the school plans to deliver his degree to his owner soon thereafter.

The local news website Vermont Public seized on the honorary degree announcement to delve into Max Dow’s life story.

He once was a feral kitten in the Vermont town of Fair Haven but for the last five years has lived with his human, Ashley Dow, in Castleton.

Max Dow has been trekking out to Vermont State’s Castleton campus for pretty much the entire time he has lived with Ashley. There, students scoop him up and give him rides in their backpacks, snap pictures of him for their photography classes and otherwise draw emotional support from him, Vermont Public reported.

The Associated Press added that Max Dow accompanies prospective Vermont State students on tours that embark from a building across his family’s house.

Not every creature has been as pleased with Max Dow’s presence. Feral cats in the neighborhood have attacked him. But once that became known, members of the campus community sought to protect him. And they have honored requests from Ashley Dow, contained in signs she put up around the school, to bring Max home if he is ever seen out and about after 5pm.

Students with Max the cat. Photograph: Rob Franklin/AP

“Students did actually bring him home,” Ashley Dow said to Vermont Public. “Or … they have my number, and I’ll get text messages from random students [saying] like, ‘He’s OK, he’s up by the greenhouse,’ and all of that.”

Dow recounted how one extended absence from campus for Max led students to erect a shrine commemorating him.

“It had candles and everything – and the picture of Max that they had printed out and put in a frame,” Dow recalled to Vermont Public.

“So yeah, it’s been pretty interesting to be Max’s mom.”

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *