Cats Are (As Yet) Always Good Content!
“Cats are always good content” has been an unwritten and irrefutable marketing law since the commercial internet was invented. No great surprise, really, since the fluffy pet tiger still tops the list of Germans’ favourite animals. Ten famous cats from art, politics and social media.
By Sarah Klein
You, by the way, are living proof that cats are good for guaranteed clicks on the internet. After all, instead of choosing one of our more sophisticated articles on cultural or social issues, you clicked on the picture of the adorable kitty.
Internet users’ clear preference for cute cat pictures has not gone unnoticed by those who publish content on the net. If you have nothing else to say or have run out of ideas for what to share with humanity on a given day, rest assured that a well-placed kitty cat will garner thousands of likes and shares. This would, of course, never happen to us – we always have something to say (please check out the aforementioned articles on culture and society). But we find Germans’ favourite pet very hard to resist too. Yes, you read that right – a dog might be humankind’s best friend, but in terms of popularity the humble house cat leaves dogs in the dust. An incredible 16.7 million cats live in German households compared to just 10.3 million dogs. Admittedly that is not a small number, but only enough for second place (click here to read the study if you would like to know more).
What cats have kept us so entertained for decades both on and offline? We have put a little overview together for you. And our social media team will be also delighted – there is plenty of material to post!
Please Smile for the Camera! Oh Wait, That’s Grumpy and That’s Just Not Her Style.
Raise your hand if you’ve never seen a picture of Grumpy Cat. Probably the world’s most famous cat, Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat. Well, perhaps not THE most famous, but surely the crankiest and for a while the most viral. Though she has sadly died in the meantime, Grumpy was a very bright star in the meme sky. The odd B-lister can only dream of a fan base like Grumpy’s, who had a total of over 13 million followers on all her social media channels. Rest in peace, dearest Grumpy. May you enjoy heaven as much as we enjoyed your frowning face.
‘Why Does Your Cat Grin Like That?’
“It’s a Cheshire cat, that’s why!” Really, Alice, could the answer be more obvious? This little vignette is from the book Alice in Wonderland. In the film adaptation as well, the strange animal’s cryptic statements frequently confuse poor Alice. Sometimes the floating cat is there, sometimes he is not, but he always leaves a lasting impression. After the Mad Hatter, he is probably the most enigmatic figure from Lewis Carroll’s novel.
More Power to Cats! Mayor Stubbs
Already the boss in any household, the beloved four-legged creature’s leadership qualities make them ideally suited to higher callings too, such as the office of mayor. This is exactly what happened in Talkeetna, Alaska in 1998. Fed up with their political representatives, citizens chose a well-known cat as a write-in candidate on the ballot. Stubbs became a tourist attraction in the small town and even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The feline regent remained in his post as honorary mayor until his passing in 2017 – so he was in office for around 20 years. Whether or not the residents of Talkeentna are now more satisfied with his human successor remains a mystery.
V.I.C. – Very Important Cat
Staying with the political for a moment: There are cat lovers in the ranks of prime ministers and presidents too, of course. Socks, the Clintons’ cat, garnered a lot of media attention as “First Cat” during Bill Clinton’s tenure as President of the USA. Socks moved on with the Clintons though. Not so in England, where one creature has remained in the saddle at 10 Downing Street since 2011 – the Right Honourable Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (yes, that is really his official title). As British prime ministers have come and gone, Larry has often been the only resident of the respective incumbent’s official residence to receive positive press coverage. If the need arose, he could probably also act as king. In any case, The Chief Mouser is an expert at looking majestically into the camera, as the picture shows.
May Good Luck Be With You!
Perhaps the less successful British prime ministers would have done well to put a Maneki-neko on their desks. This waving cat is rumoured to bring luck and prosperity – the higher her arm waves, the better the luck. She has long since achieved fame beyond the borders of Japan, China, and Thailand. This kitty enjoys some popularity in Germany as well.
Living With a Cat Can Make You a YouTube Star
At the outset, Briton Simon Tofield just wanted to try his hand at an animation program. He probably could never have imagined that his cartoons would bring him worldwide fame. Tofield draws from his own life when creating his animated films. Or more accurately, the life his cats allow him to lead. For almost 15 years now, he has been delighting millions of YouTube viewers with clips featuring stories about his very hungry cat.
Choupette, the Catwalk Cat
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was also quite fond of training the spotlight on his cat. He set up Facebook and Instagram accounts for her and marketed his roommate whenever he could, from collections in her honour to exhibitions and a book: “Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat.” Lagerfeld negotiated advertising contracts for Choupette, netting her a reported three million euros. And as befits a true supermodel, he hired two maids and a private chef to serve her. She only travelled by private jet, of course. Choupette is still a hard-working model today. The designer left her not only a handsome share of his fortune in his will; he also mapped out her continued career path.
“Me, Normal? How Boring Would That Be?!”
Also enthusiastically marketed, but as the complete opposite of Choupette, the graceful model cat: Garfield is fat, lazy and gluttonous. With respect to the latter, he prefers lasagne and plenty of it. His creator Jon Davis started the comic strip in 1978, and Garfield really took off in the 1980s. The fat cat was everywhere, in comics, radio dramas, on mugs, school supplies, socks, bedding, you name it. Even CDs with Garfield songs found buyers. He was rediscovered for animated films in the 2000s and featured in three movies by 2009. There is less hubbub around Garfield today, but true children of the 1980s and 90s are always ready to quote one of his sayings: “I hate Mondays!”
Hello Kitty, Cat Mania Decked Out in Pink
This kitty has been the undisputed star of every little girl’s bedroom since the mid-1970s: Hello Kitty. Known for nothing other than looking cute, the tens of thousands of products adorned with her image fulfil everything a girl’s heart desires. Accompanied by lots of pink. Bright, hot pink. Adored by some, she has also been used to enforce discipline by others. In all seriousness: In Thailand, the chief of police in 2007 decreed that any police officer who had behaved rudely would have to wear a Hello Kitty armband for a few days as punishment. In bright, hot pink, of course.
Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
And then, of course, there was this crew: the Aristocats! The 1970 Disney classic about the noble lady cat Duchesse, her children, and the street cat Thomas O'Malley has thrilled young and old for decades. Incidentally, it was the last Disney film that Walt Disney took part in as an idea man. Can everyone still sing along? “Everybody wants to be a cat…”