Grumpy cat is a “property” worth several million dollars. We always knew that. The word “property” comes from Kia Kamran, a Los Angeles lawyer who represents Grumpy Cat. It is exactly the sort of word I would expect from the person representing a cat that makes lots of money for her owners.
Although Grumpy Cat is the biggest cat celebrity she is one in a long line: Lil Bub, Keyboard Cat, Colonel Meow to name three.
One fan started to hyperventilate when she was in the presence of Grumpy Cat in New York. Celebrity cats are the new pop culture. They have the same appeal as human celebrities. I wonder if the driving force behind the appeal is about celebrity worship and wanting to be famous – a celebrity.
How can we square up cat celebrities making millions for their owners (in the case of Grumpy) while killing millions of healthy cats at shelters? At first sight, these two phenomena seem incompatible but they must be part of the same human condition.
The cult of celebrity is a very selfish process. It is human-centric. People want to be famous for selfish reasons, primarily. They want to be valued and seen. They want to have a high status lifestyle and be admired. It is all about feeding the vulnerable, frightened human. The feelings of the celebrity cat is largely out of mind in the same way the killing of cats at shelters is never genuinely addressed. It is put out of cat owner’s minds because it is convenient to do so.
Putting cats on a pedestal and worshiping them is an extension of celeb culture, only the cat’s owner does it vicariously through his/her cat. It is similar to kids’ beauty pageants or grooming your child to become a sports star.
One important aspect of cat celebrity and making money from your cat is that the lifestyle of the cat gets worse, and the cat does not care one jot if he is famous or not, while the lifestyle of the owner improves, which is why it is exploitation. The whole process is about people. The cat is a vehicle.
The phenomenon of the celebrity cat is an extension of the celebrity human. Does it confirm what some people believe; that we have entered a phase of a cultural vacuum and instant satisfaction having lost the old values and virtues of hard work, patience and care in the community?
The real celebrity cats are like Dylan, a British black and while doing good work for the community.
Note: the photo of the newspaper is published under fair use principles as it has no impact except for a positive one, commercially, for the newspaper (The Times).