Internet cat stars scratch the surface for fame
Corporate kittydom is happy with the higher profile for the cat meme, which actually goes back to the '70s, when swapping VHS tapes was big and the word meme was barely known. It means, by the way, all the crazy, viral themes that spread online faster than you can say nom, nom, nom (cat-vid speak for the sound of a cat eating.)
Oh, and Henri's putting out his first book in April.
Roly poly Maru, the megastar in Japan with millions of views for nearly 300 videos since 2007, has three books and a calendar, among other swag for sale. The squishy-faced, often blissed-out Scottish fold who loves boxes and bags was used by Uniqlo when the Japanese brand launched its San Francisco store in October. Maru chose boxes, called "Lucky Cubes," stuffed with giveaways for human contest winners.
Cats are fluffy and unpredictable and usually kept behind closed doors, which lends them allure and appeal that other common pets — I'm talking to you, dogs! — don't seem to have when it comes to vapid, funny or deranged video. At least that's what cat fans think.
"Cats are going to do what they want to do and that's one of the reasons that we love them," said David Kargas, a Fresh Step spokesman who worked on Catdance.
The gravy train for cat vid makers is a long one not likely to dead-end any time soon. Consider the ad revenue from YouTube and other social networks and personal websites. But while commercial ads are often included on the sites, so are fans looking to help cats in need.
On the Facebook page of Simon's Cat, for example, people post to find homes for wayward cats. The Facebook page of Oskar the blind cat, who hit it big on YouTube as a kitten when he came home to his older buddy Klaus, raises awareness that disabled cats can make great pets.
"Before Simon's Cat launched, I was working as a freelance animator, which could be frustrating as you would never know when the next job would come in," Tofield said. "Although I was drawing, which I love, it wasn't as enjoyable as what I'm doing now by drawing and creating my own characters."