Student creeped out by cats

Krista Tschetter

Krista Tschetter

Sophomore Jason McKelly finds the decor of his advisor’s office “creepy” and “unsettling.”

The offense?

Too many pictures of cats.

His advisor, abnormal media psychology professor Gary Hermann, has over 70 pictures of cats around his office.

They include framed photos of his cats, a “Cats in the Movies” calendar, kittens-playing-in-yarn-basket wallpaper on his computer, and a giant poster of a cat hanging from a tree branch, inscripted with the saying “hangin’ in there.”

“I just don’t really like cats,” said McKelly, who is originally from Tabor, SD.

“But even if it were pictures of something less menacing, like turtles or chimps, it’s just the sheer number of them. I mean, doesn’t this guy have a life besides cats?”

McKelly first noticed the pictures during his first advising session when he was a freshman.

“There weren’t so many of them, so it wasn’t as noticeable,” he said.

“But I did notice he had, like, three of the same photo, all framed. The cat was playing with wrapping paper, with a bow on its’ head … yeah, it was all the same photo.”

In an interview, Hermann admitted that he is indeed a cat lover, and made no apologies for the “pretties” around the office.

“They really are remarkable creatures,” he said.

“Cats can be toilet trained and they are cunning hunters. Oh, and they always land on their feet,” he continued, as he doodled what appeared to be a large fish on a piece of pink cat-shaped stationary.

“I’d have to say these are my best friends in the whole wide world, ever since Linda left with that bastard excuse of a mailman,” he said, as he picked up a jade cat-shaped paper weight.

“This is my favorite,” he said, holding the figurine up to the light. “This is my precious.”

Associate vehicular science professor Ken Mitchum, who has an office next door, said the number of cats has indeed increased since Hermann’s divorce in 2001.

“Well, he was always fond of felines,” said Mitchum. “At first it was just a picture here and there, but now … I don’t know. That ‘Have a Meow-ey Nice Day’ doormat. That may be overkill.”

Department head Randy Chaler said, while they acknowledge McKelly’s concern, they won’t take disciplinary action against Hermann unless his teaching is affected.

In the meantime, McKelly feels it is too late to change advisors before his graduation in May.

“I just have to tough it out, I guess,” he said.

“I mean, he’s a nice enough guy, but I think I heard him meow last time I left his office. I’ll be glad to be done with it.”