In the United States, anyone who attends college, whether they are a foreign student or a natural born American, knows how valuable the possession of a college ID can be. It opens the door to a wealth of discounts and opportunities. One example is Amazon Prime, where the existence of a college ID and academic email address will save you about 50 percent off of the non-student annual rate. Everything from discounted text books to deals on pizza can be had on a number of places on the Internet. Whether this is true in the Netherlands, where a cat given the honorary title of Professor has also been assigned his own student ID. At the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, a cat has been seen roaming the campus grounds, sticking his head into classrooms and generally making himself available for some much needed attention. His formal moniker is Professor Doctor Doerak. For the record, it is not known if he has used his college ID to its fullest extent, apparently being content to play hide and seek with the other students at the university.
As a matter of history, Professor Doctor Doerak is actually the third cat to hold such an honor. However, in prior years the influence of social media was not as expansive, so of the three Doerak has received the most fame and notoriety. You can find his daily ongoings on Instagram where he continues to have literally thousands of followers. With hundreds of actual University of Groningen students seeking and recording his whereabouts every day, you are likely to find something new to talk about and share with your friends. How popular is Doerak? You can begin by recognizing that the college bookstore actually sells merchandise with the cat’s picture on them. Follow that by searching out an ebook whose authorship is attributed to Doerak that is a collection of all the other colleges and universities around the world that have recognizable pets roaming the campus. However, you will need to buy the ebook to find out how many other college pet denizens actually have their own college ID.
Inexplicably, there are people who find the presence of campus pets more of a nuisance than a delight. Here is where being a finicky feline is a huge advantage. Doerak doesn’t mind if you just keep on walking because he is only interested in people who are interested in him and his earned credentials. He simply walked on to the campus, so no admissions tests or applications were required for entrance. His annual tuition is $0 and he manages to survive on the generosity of students and other professors. When school is out for the year, he finds resting places throughout the university grounds, and is able to feed and fend for himself.
Without looking at the 20-odd cats that grace the pages of Professor Doctor Doerak’s ebook, the question for students and administrators serving in the United States is whether it is fair to the student population in general to allow a cat or any other campus pet their own ID. Other than getting free admission, being a student on an American campus has an unknown number of perks. It was mentioned earlier that Amazon offers a 50 percent discount for students, so should a cat such as Doerak be allowed to buy cat food, catnip, and scratch posts at discounted prices? And what percentage of space where these campus cats are located should be allotted for storage on publicly supported colleges and universities?
Our investigation turned up scant information on the legal ramifications and the rights of accepted campus cats and assorted pets. With a college ID, do the cats have all the legal rights and privileges afforded to paying college students? When on campus, are they required to always have their ID with them to ensure they are properly registered? Depending on their age, are they required to have a parent or guardian vouch for them should they find themselves involved in some type of college prank? The potential legal entanglements are wide and varied.
But there is another consideration to be had here, and that is the general concept of the rights of cats and pets in general in other countries. No one seems to be too concerned whether Professor Doctor Doerak is infringing on anyone’s rights in the Netherlands, which may mean that cats are treated as equals regardless of whether they are on campus or off. It is also worth noting that there isn’t an overpopulation of Professor type cats roaming the university grounds. Maybe it is because the criteria for such an honor is exceedingly high. Or maybe it is because there is a dearth of cats who are interested in attaining such a position, preferring to aimless wander the areas outside of the campus and not trying to better themselves.
Whatever the reason, Professor Doctor Doerak is a unique breed of cat and has chosen the high road to life. It is safe to say that both Doerak and the students learn from one another. Socialization is a key to higher education and the general college experience, and Doerak affords everyone equal access to his furry and sometimes finicky disposition. He has found his own safe space, or more accurately, safe spaces, throughout the campus and no one is objecting. Cats, being tidy little creatures, tend to be very low maintenance and make themselves available whenever they want.
The idea of a cat having its own school ID, regardless of age, may seem a bit over the top to some people. But accepting pets, whether they are cats or dogs, into the normal social structure of a college or university campus can solve a number of problems, including whether or not pets in dorms are allowed. The ID offers pet control and prevents unwanted troublemaking furs from staying around too long.