Cat and gown: Feline ‘graduates’ from UT-Austin after attending owner’s online classes

AUSTIN, Texas — Purr-fect attendance was rewarded on graduation day.

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A woman who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin included her cat during the school’s spring commencement. Suki, an 18-month-old feline, attended all of Francesca Bourdier’s online classes, attentively watching the Zoom sessions, KTBC-TV reported.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bourdier spent most of her college career at home, taking her courses online.

“I was pretty much at my apartment for most of the time and I had my cat next to me,” Bourdier told KTBC. “Whenever I would have my Zoom lecture on, it’s like she almost wanted to listen in on it, and she would always just sit by my laptop.”

When it came time to receive her sheepskin ... um, diploma, Bourdier said she had to include Suki on her big day.

“I kind of wanted to celebrate her and kind of have her along with me,” Bourdier told KTBC.

Bourdier searched online and bought Suki a cap and gown that matched her own outfit.

“A lot of people relate to having their pet with them, you know, attending their Zoom lectures because everyone was pretty much at home,” Bourdier told KTBC. “She’s just kind of my special graduate.”

The good news is that Suki will not be liable for any student loan debt -- they are apparently deferred for cats.