Simon’s Cat creator is Simon Tofield and he is a genuine cat lover living in London, UK. How else could he have created such amusing and observant cat cartoons? You have to live with cats to truly understand their behaviour.
For Mr Tofield it all started ten years ago by accident with a cat jumping on his bed. The cat was Hugh.
“My inspiration came from my tiny black kitten, Hugh, who would wake me up every morning for his breakfast. He would jump all over me and pat me on the nose with his paw. So, Simon’s Cat is basically greedy little Hugh and his early morning antics”.
These antics are very typical of domestic cats in the early hours of the morning waking up their human companions who from the cat’s perspective are bizarrely inactive at a time when cats are just the opposite: raring to go.
Tofield wanted to teach himself how to use the animation software Adobe Flash and decided to create a film. Hugh’s antics became the subject matter.
A company in America asked if they could present the short film on their website. The site crashed such was its popularity. It was seen 35,000 times during the weekend. Yes, it became viral as they say nowadays. Posting it on YouTube resulted in 8 million views in short order.
“It became viral and was whizzing around the world. Everyone who had a cat was sending it on to their own cat-loving friends”, said Tofield.
A second film quickly followed which he uploaded to his newly created YouTube channel. Success followed rapidly. We know all about it, us cat lovers. You can make a lot of money from popular YouTube videos through Google Adsense adverts. There are some creators who make more than $10m annually believe it or not although they are in a tiny minority. You need massive success and billions of views.
Simon’s Cat creator said that he has lived with cats since he was nine-years-of-age. He has cleverly tapped into his years of thoughtful observation of domestic cat behaviour to create his tellingly accurate videos of the behavior of Simon’s Cat.
He says he mixes real life cat behaviour with his imagination dreaming up situations where Simon’s Cat does things that he’d like to do if he could. For me Simon’s Cat crosses the divide between cat and human such as when Simon welds a baseball bat.
Interestingly, Tofield suffers from dyslexia. He found himself struggling to keep up with fellow students when writing so turned to drawing and animation where as we know he is supremely talented.
Simon’s Cat Creator – Some Numbers
He has moved into mobile phone apps and games. An app called Simon’s Cat Crunch Time has been downloaded almost 5 million times. ‘Dash’ is to due to be released soon. His books have sold 2 million copies in 30 countries. The first Simon’s Cat cartoon, ‘Cat-man-do’, has been viewed 60 million times. His facebook page has 5.8 million followers.
Hugh, his little kitten who inspired him sadly died two years ago. We don’t know why his life was cut short. But Tofield is not short of inspiration as he now has four cat companions: Poppy and daughter, Lilly, together with big Maisy and fluffy Teddy. We wish him continued success.
Source: Myself and The Sunday Times (James Gillespie). Thanks James.