My dad sent me a link to a Wikipedia listing featured on BoingBoing about cats with fradulent diplomas. The Wikipedia article compiles a list of cases in which cats have been enrolled in suspected diploma mills, resulting in degreed felines and prosecution of the academic institutes in question. To wit:
“Colby Nolan is a housecat who was awarded an MBA degree in 2004 by Trinity Southern University, a Dallas, Texas-based diploma mill, sparking a fraud lawsuit by the Pennsylvania attorney general‘s office.
Colby Nolan belongs to a deputy attorney general. In looking to expose Trinity Southern University for fraud, some undercover agents had the then six-year-old Colby Nolan obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration for $299. On the cat’s application, the agents claimed that the cat had previously taken courses at a community college, worked at a fast-food restaurant, babysat, and maintained a newspaper route. Then the school informed Colby that, due to the job experience listed on his application, he was eligible for an executive MBA for $100 more. The agents then sent for Colby’s transcript, which claimed that Nolan had a 3.5 grade point average.
Jerry Pappert, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, filed a lawsuit against Trinity Southern University upon learning that the cat had received the degree. In the lawsuit, Pappert also told the diploma mill, which had used e-mail spam to sell degrees, to provide restitution to anyone who had ordered a degree from them.
The Wikipedia page also presents the cases of Kitty O’Malley (aka Spanky), Oreo Collins, and Tobias F. Schaeffer, among others, all kitties with sham degrees – Tobias was a Certified Real Estate Appraiser, and displayed his certificate above his litter box. All this is, naturally, is hilarious and led my dad to muse on what sorts of degrees our own cats would get. This is kind of a fun exercise because cats are so possessed of singular personalities that it’s easy to attribute qualities to them that one might associate with certain interests.
So here are our four cats, and the vocations we believe might have been their callings, had their owners been mischeviousness enough (and in possession of a spare few hundred bucks) to encourage them to pursue their dreams:
Davinci: A burly Abyssinian with a sleek coat and yellow eyes, I see him as a literature major specializing in nature poets (thesis on Walt Witman, of course). Davinci was discovered in a woodpile in the backyard, a scraggly kitten that my parents joked was half-rat when we took him in, but he grew into an elegant, muscled beast. With a regal bearing and independent nature, I can see Davinci offering rambling critical theory on solitude and wildness, even as he struggles with his own, compulsive desire to lay purring in front of an indoor fire and have his belly massaged by his slippered humans. He would spend his whole life reconciling his two selves, and isn’t averse to a bit of the ‘nip. Fondest memory in his old age: When the baby squirrel fell out of the tree literally a foot in front of him. What does it all mean?
Poppy: My dad nailed Poppy as a political scientist. A specialist in public policy with a shrewd economic mind, Poppy was the runt of the litter with a clipped tail, rescued from a box on the street in a liberal New England college-town. Poppy has never suffered fools, and her arrogance would serve her well as an academian. Though her bristly exterior and sharp claws would never make her popular, she would be grudgingly admired for her take-no-shit attitude and witheringly incisive commentary. She would have the nasally, headache-inducing voice of Sarah Vowell and the same blend of strangeness and wit. She would eschew fashion, likely develop her own peculiar style (possibly themed in drab colors accentuated with feathers and wooden owl pins), and live surly, alone, and pleased with herself.
Felix: Felix is a cuckoo-bird. Dad sees him as an art history major, but I am inclined to see him in graphic design, which might combine his innermost geekery and artistry to stunning effect. The strangest cat I have ever met, I can see him as something of a dandy with coffee stains down his shabby-chic front, financially successful due to his genius but perpetually scatterbrained and disorganized. He’s a little-buddy of a cat, and will follow me around the house talking to me, and actually spoon me at night, watching me with wide blue eyes until he falls into twitchy slumber. Felix would start his career in programming before progressing to design, a natural escalation of his creativity, which he couldn’t help but share constantly with those around him, chattering incessantly to keep pace with his whirling walnut-brain. He would evolve into something of a celebrated character and find the whole business socially awkward and perplexing.
YoYo: YoYo would be an academically-mediocre communications graduate and move on to a low-level marketing position she couldn’t quite get the hang of. Content with her lot in life and aware of her lacking intellect, her inherent sweetness and generosity would nonetheless see her rewarded. Also known in our house as “The Love Sponge,” YoYo just wants everybody to be nice to each other and if she can sit in their lap and purr like a motorboat, so much the better. YoYo was found, flea-ridden and diseased, in a gutter on Halloween and despite her mean start in life, grew into a cuddly, dim lovebug. YoYo would find happiness when swept of her feet by a mid-level manager at a chemical plant and settle into a comfortable housewife routine. She would raise good-natured children and volunteer a lot at her church and know she was the luckiest YoYo in the world.
So, those are my cats! What are yours? Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs? Do tell.