Max the Cat Receives an Honorary ‘Doctor of Litter-Ature’

Vermont State University considers Max a beloved member of the community.

May 22, 2024


Community, Pet
Max the Cat Receives an Honorary ‘Doctor of Litter-Ature’ | Vermont State University considers Max a beloved member of the community.

Universities often give honorary doctorates for people’s life achievements and a school in Vermont has just bestowed one on a beloved member of its community. But the honoree is not a person, it’s a cat.

Vermont State University’s Castleton campus has bestowed the honorary degree  of “doctor of litter-ature” to a cat named Max, reported AP News. And it wasn’t for his mousing ability, it was for his friendliness. He’s been socializing with the students and staff for years.

“Commencement is this weekend! To celebrate, we’re announcing a very special honorary degree recipient. Max the Cat has been an affectionate member of the Castleton family for years,” the school said in a Facebook post.

“With a resounding purr of approval from the faculty, the Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Cat-leges 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.”

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Meet Max
Max lives in a house with his forever family on the same street as the main entrance of the campus. His human mother Ashley Dow told AP that he enjoys going on the campus and just started hanging out with the students,

“He’s been socializing on campus for about four years, and students get excited when they see him. They pick him up and take selfies with him, and he even likes to go on tours with prospective students that meet at a building across from the family’s house,” she said.

Max was once a feral kitten in the town of Fair Haven before he was taken in by his human mom five years ago, according to Vermont Public. Since then he has enjoyed his visits to the  campus and the students have enjoyed looking after him and giving him rides in their backpacks. He is an unofficial emotional support cat for many.

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On one occasion when Max did not appear on the campus for a while, students put up a shrine dedicated to him Dow said. “It had candles and everything. And the picture of Max that they had printed out and put in a frame.”

Not all creatures love Max
While humans love Max, feral cats in the area do not, and have frequently attacked him so Dow put up signs asking the students to help. The signs said: ‘If you see Max out and about after five, could you bring him home?’ and students have brought him home or texted his location to Dow.

He has become such an integral part of the campus community that giving him an honorary doctorate is a pawsitively way to recognize this special relationship. While Max did not actually receive his diploma at the commencement ceremony which was held on Saturday, May 17, it will be delivered to his home.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.