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This cat is all set to receive an honorary degree from the Vermont State University

He would not be receiving an honorary degree on stage with other students because they do not want to stress him out.

This cat is all set to receive an honorary degree from the Vermont State University
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Vermont State University Castleton Campus

It is an unusual thing for a cat to be granted an honorary degree, but Max the cat has done his share of hard work to get it. He has been part of campus tours, got into more than one psychology lecture and took rides on top of students' backpacks at the Vermont State University's Castleton campus for the past four years, reports The Washington Post. He is even named on the staff roster at the university and given a separate email address. So. naturally the next step was to give him an honorary doctor of "litter-ature" degree, which made him part of the graduation class of 2024. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Ihsan Adityawarman
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Ihsan Adityawarman

His diploma was full of cat puns and shared on Instagram before the university's commencement ceremony on May 18. The picture also had Max wearing a graduation cap. The diploma reads, "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." Max the cat belongs to a special educator teacher, Ashley Dow. Her family lives down the street from the main entrance to campus. However, the cat does not mostly stay in the house.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Vermont State University Castleton (@vermontstate_castleton)


 

Dow started letting him out when he turned 1 and he used to go straight to the college to get all the students' attention. Dow said, "He usually goes over in the morning at about 8 when I go to work, and he'll come home in time for dinner, or one of the students will come over and drop him off." Rob Franklin, a photographer and social media manager at the university, posted pictures of Max on Facebook and captioned them, "Who is Max?" The pictures garnered so much attention that he thought of using one of the photos to congratulate this year's graduation but then thought why can't Max also be part of the graduating class?



 

Though the university doesn't give out doctoral degrees, Franklin thought it would be fun to give Max one. Besides being a vital part of the student's college life, Max has also been a great source of emotional support for some students. Ali Impomemi, a junior majoring in media and communications, shared that Max appears when she misses her four cats the most. She said, "He purrs and follows me everywhere he's just the friendliest guy to everyone." "It's hilarious that he now has a doctoral degree — but he really deserves it." She even once made a shrine for Max because he hadn't come to the campus for a while. She put up some candles and a framed picture of him. 

Dow is happy that her cat helps students who are homesick for their pets. "Everyone looks out for his welfare," she said. "If they don't see him for a few days, I'll get a call from somebody on campus checking up on him." She added that everyone sees him as an "emotional support animal" and he loves all the attention that comes his way. Once, she said that feral cats were attacking Max in the neighborhood, so she put up a sign that asked people to drop Max back home if they saw him after 5.

"And students did actually bring him home. Or they — they have my number, and I'll get text messages from random students, it's like, 'He's OK, he's up by the greenhouse,' and all of that. So yeah, it's been pretty interesting to be Max's mom," she told Vermont Public. However, Max would not be receiving an honorary degree on stage with other students because they do not want to stress out the cat and overshadow other students' achievements.

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