Another week brings another cause célèbri-cat.
This one, a gentle ginger named Max, comes to us from St. Paul, Minnesota, where he lives with his people, a married couple, near Macalester College.
In an interview with The Washington Post, they revealed that their 3-year-old tabby is the social type who's allowed to roam unchaperoned.
And explore he does: Students, professors, and college employees have spotted him all over campus, from the quad to the science buildings, and pretty much every cozy little nook in between.
But there's one place the prestigious liberal arts college wants everyone to know Max isn't permitted: the library.
Why? It seems this good boy had been caught slinking into the building previously, as the security cam screenshot below attests to.
In fact, he's stolen his way inside with such frequency that the library's staff artist mocked up not one, but two signs announcing him as a persona non grata (persona non cata?).
Spelled out in simplistic language fit for a small child, the terms of this scofflaw's banishment were taped to the front door of the for all to see:
"Please do not let in the cat".
And there the story likely would have ended, a funny yarn for the community to kick around, but unlikely to surface outside of it.
Enter Erin McGuire, a local illustrator who happened past the feline flyer this week.
Curiosity piqued, she reached for her mobile device, snapped a portrait, and uploaded it to Twitter, where it quickly spread far beyond her 3,000+ followers and trended onto the microblogging platform's coveted "Moments" tab.
Naturally enough, people rallied to his side with some spicy takes.
"All this does is make me want to let Max in the library even harder", wrote this man.
"LET 👏 CATS 👏 READ", quipped a second.
"Dollars to donuts, Max is behind that sign right now.", wagered a third.
Not surprisingly, people also had questions:
"I need to know more ... What shenanigans does Max get up to?"
As the story — and the inquisitions — mushroomed into the day's biggest news beat online, one of the college's librarians stepped in to unpack Max's alleged transgressions, which, as it was, weren't all that, well, un-catlike:
"Well, mostly he just blocks the door to the library and tries to run in as soon as someone opens the door. The legend of Max might end up being a LOT more fun than the real Max. ;)"
(It was subsequently reported that one of the librarians is also allergic to cats, which makes his 86'ing that much more understandable. Plus, there were concerns he might get locked inside at night.)
But it wasn't a total wash for the outlaw kitteh.
Poems were penned ...
... cartoons were paneled ...
... and honorary library cards were drafted.
The same viral buzz also spilled over to Max's Instagram, which he shares with his "sister", a black mouser named Grace.
As noted by the Post, the account exploded from 135 to 7,100+ followers in less than 36 hours.
Bringing everything full circle, there was even chatter about spinning the whole thing into — get this — a children's book.
Seems fitting, no?
Would you harbor this furry fugitive? Share your thoughts in the comments below!