Another Minnesotan male is in trouble, but it’s not for what you think.
Max, an orange tabby cat in St. Paul, has caused an internet uproar because of his propensity for books.
Apparently, he’s been sneaking into the library at Macalester College, and now he’s facing the repercussions. The library banned him with a Wanted-like poster on the door.
The evidence: About a month ago, Max was caught on security camera scampering among the stacks and looking guilty as ever.
A library worker posted on Twitter that Max lurks outside the library and “tries to run in as soon as someone opens the door.”
And the internet can’t get enough of it.
Max’s story blew up on the Macalester campus, as well as on Twitter and Reddit, where people have been posting artwork inspired by this children’s book just waiting to be written. (Even the Washington Post has a story.)
A Macalester art student drew up this comic.
Someone made Max his very own library card.
A rogue artist at the library tagged a dry erase board with #FreeMax.
Even the Star Tribune’s own D.C. reporter, Jennifer Brooks, lent her felt ornament-making talents to the story.
But the most intense tribute was this rhyming story by Twitter user @relsqui.
Apparently, Max can read in a number of languages. He was previously caught in the tutoring office of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. “We taught Max how to say ‘gato,’” the post says.
His human, Connie Lipton, “grounded” him for his wayward behavior, according to her Instagram account (@cool_cat_max_and_gracie), which has garnered almost 6,000 new followers in two days.
Thanks to an upcoming construction project on campus, Max has since become an indoor cat, only allowed out on a leash and harness. And he’s not so happy about it.
“He cries a lot,” said Lipton, whose husband is a Macalester professor.
They adopted Max a little over a year ago from a rescue, and had no idea how social he was until they started letting him out over the summer and found him romping around on the campus green.
“I think he was kind of a wanderer,” Lipton said. “That’s probably why he was picked up by animal control.”
Lipton hopes she can train Max as a therapy cat, once he adjusts to the new restrictions on his freedom.
“Max is very gregarious; he’s a people guy, and I think he just makes people happy,” she said.
Schommer works at the library, and had returned from parental leave when he spotted a hand-written sign on the door that said, “Please, do NOT let the cat in!”
Schommer’s job includes library signage, so he drafted up his more sophisticated message. His sign hung for about two weeks, until Max stopped coming around. Then, out of the blue two weeks after that, it blew up online.
With Max’s newfound fame, Schommer and Genc Celik plan to write their own children’s book about the tabby. Updates about the book will be posted at letmaxin.com.
“People know Max around campus, and now they know him even better,” said Schommer, who spoke to the Star Tribune Friday while meeting with Lipton and Max for tea.
Indeed, Max has been a campus-wide topic of conversation for a while. His interest in academia knows no bounds. He’s been spotted everywhere from dorms to science buildings, trying to get a little pet and a way inside, said Mitch Carlson, a Macalester junior in international studies. “He does prey on people’s sympathies just to get inside,” Carlson said.
Other than the few complaints about cat allergies, it seems Max has been a welcome presence lately.
“I think it has brought this campus together a little bit,” Carlson said. “It’s a cute problem to have to deal with, and I think everyone’s kind of on the same team, because we want to have Max around.”