Max Dow: a stray cat with an honorary degree

The kitten Max Dow often takes refuge at Vermont State University, being cuddled by the students: he has now received an honorary degree in "litter-ature"

Max Dow, a former stray cat who lived on the streets of Fair Haven, Vermont, until five years ago, has recently been awarded an honorary degree in “litter-ature” by Vermont State University for his positive impact on the campus community.

Adopted by a local family, Max’s adventurous spirit led him to frequently visit the university campus in the Castleton district. Over time, he became a familiar and beloved presence among students and staff. His importance was such that the university decided to honor him with an honorary degree, celebrating his role in bringing joy and comfort to all students.

The degree conferral ceremony took place after the graduation of the senior students. Max, described as “a loving member of the campus family for years“, received the honor accompanied by a warm applause from the faculty and board of directors. Max fully deserved this recognition for his ability to improve the mood and well-being of the students.

Students take care of Max

Ashley Dow, Max’s owner, shared that the cat began frequenting the campus about four years ago, quickly becoming a source of emotional support for many students. Students enjoy carrying him in their backpacks, taking selfies with him, and petting him.

However, Max also faced challenges, such as encounters with other wild cats in the area, prompting the university community to actively protect him. Ashley even distributed posters throughout the campus asking anyone who saw the animal after 5:00 PM to bring him home. As a result, many students did so on numerous occasions. Others have her number and send messages reassuring her that they have seen Max and he is well.

The concern for Max’s well-being was so great that, after a prolonged absence, students even erected a sanctuary in his memory, fearing something bad had happened to him. Fortunately, however, Max returned safe and sound, continuing to bring joy to the campus now with an additional honorary title to “boast” about.

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