Alumna’s “Opera Cat” Goes Viral

August 19, 2022

When people think of opera, their minds typically turn to stunning costumes, gorgeous performance halls, and … cats? Well, they do now, after a UIW alumna went viral on TikTok for the sweet operatic vocals of her cat, Max.

Maura Navarrete Bojalil graduated from UIW, where she studied music education and vocal performance, in May 2021. After graduation, she put her passions to use as a choral director in Southwest ISD, while she continued strengthening her own vocal technique. Though she’d shared videos of herself performing on her TikTok account before, it was a recent post of her cat’s vocal chops that really took off.

“I was recording one of my practice sessions on my webcam, singing my heart out, and all of a sudden my cat jumps on my desk and starts meowing his heart out,” she shared. “It was the most random thing ever!”

That random moment has since racked up millions of views across multiple online platforms. Maura and Max’s story has even been picked up by national news outlets like Newsweek and People. As an aspiring vocal performer, Maura is grateful for the attention, though she does admit it is a bit strange.

“It doesn't feel real,” she explained of the virality. “It's been really fun and hilarious, but I've had to keep an eye on my mental health and make sure I'm not spending too much time online scrolling through comments!"

Maura always knew the now affectionately called “Opera Cat” was something special. By her side for more than 10 years, the Persian cat spends his days “purring, screaming, being adorable, and sleeping.”

“He’s been my best friend since fifth grade,” Maura shared.

We asked Maura what opera role she would cast Max in if given the opportunity. “I would cast Max in Mozart's Don Giovanni,” she said matter-of-factly. “Because he has millions of ladies who are in love with him.”

She has a point.

“That cat is a musical genius,” shared one commenter named Sarah.

“He deserves a Grammy,” said another.

As for Maura, she’s looking ahead to big things with her feline friend by her side.

“My future is looking pretty exciting right now, given how much of a following I've gained online,” she said. “It's not 100% certain, but there's a chance I'll soon be moving to focus on my career as a performing artist!”

We wish Maura – and of course, Max – the brightest of futures.