Who’s going to replace Grumpy Cat?

The search is on for a replacement to Grumpy Cat; a new top dog celebrity cat. The world of cat celebs is fast-moving. It never sleeps. There is nothing on the horizon that I can see and there is a question mark over celebrity cats in general. They are what’s called a ‘meme’, that mysterious word which was born from the internet and which I struggle to understand. For me the word ‘meme’ means a populist fad.


Grumpy cat with customers photo shoot
Grumpy cat with customers photo shoot
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If we are to have a Grumpy Cat replacement let her be a ‘normal’ cat; but is that possible? By normal I mean a cat who does have some sort of physical disability. If you check the top ten celeb cats you’ll see a lot of physical abnormality. I am trying to be sensitive because I love it when cats with ‘disabilities’ are loved and cared for. But should cats with physical abnormalities be celebrities?

It’s a tricky topic. On the plus side, you could say it is a good thing to celebrate disability but on the negative side it smacks of a freak show – the Victorian fascination with freaky humans. It’s voyeurism and that’s not good.

Monty, the cat born without a nasal bridge; Honey Bee, the blind hiking cat; Lazarus, the rescued vampire cat; Lil Bub and Grumpy Cat all had (or have) some sort of physical feature due to a ‘defect’ which contributed to making them celebrities. In the case of Grumpy Cat the ‘defect’, her abnormal facial appearance, was everything. Her entire celebrity was built on that one feature; a grump-looking face which is basically a downturned mouth. And she died prematurely. She was a dwarf cat and dwarf cats have health issues. We can’t get away from that.

Lil Bub via Facebook
Lil Bub via Facebook

I sense that the market for internet celeb cats was so healthy that people who owned cats who looked different, even if the difference was due to a ‘defect’, decided to promote their cat on social media with the intention of making money. That’s the driver behind celeb cats. We have to accept that reality.

Yes, the public love their celeb cats but they are a business. Without the business element – making money e.g. from advertising on YouTube and social media such as Instagram – these famous cats would not exist.

And, yes, I agree that Grumpy Cat gave away some of her earnings but it is easy to put a negative spin on that. This was good for publicity and it silenced the critics. She made $100 million and gave away 100,000 (0.1 percent of earnings).

And handsome cats don’t do it for the celeb cat aficionados. The cats have to have ‘defects’ which make them look interesting.

I apologise for being so realistic and what appears to be negative. Realism can look negative. Grumpy Cat’s replacement or the next celeb cat should be very handsome and very normal. His or her fame should come from what she does. This is where Maru wins for me. Maru is obsessed with boxes, a behavioural trait exploited by his owner. That’s fine for me. Although Maru has a physical defect too: her ears are flat because she is a Scottish Fold. And there is an argument for banning Scottish Folds as the genetic mutation causing the flat ears has secondary effects which affect overall health. It is hard to separate ‘defect’ and ‘celebrity’ in the cat world.

The human is still fascinated with defects which affect appearance because the human is fascinated with appearance. They truly are. Much more so that character. This is also reflected in the cat fancy where breeders always breed for appearance at the expense of health and character (behavior) comes second.

Probably Cole and Marmalade have done the best because they are totally normal. The woman who is their guardian has done wonders in turning them into celeb cats. Can we have more of those please?

2 thoughts on “Who’s going to replace Grumpy Cat?”

  1. People are easily amused and have a hunger to be amused. That’s always been a problem with society in general. If cat food companies, etc want to capitalize on a funny looking animal and shower it’s owner with tons of money for photo ops, you can’t blame the owner for accepting it. To twist it around and blame the owner for that, say it’s just wrong and accuse her of possibly exposing the animal to excessive attention resulting in stress, is as I’ve said speculative and unfair. Saying stuff like “It’s because she doesn’t want to work” is bending over backwards to be mean. She didn’t pursue it, it was an accident and the notoriety was dumped on her. She won a lottery and we seem to hate people who do that. The airwaves are full of people trying desperately to be famous in order to hopefully cash in on it, but they are celebrated! To say let’s just make sure the animal is well cared for is fine, but all the moral outrage is over the top and amazingly two-faced considering the internet is mostly populated by amusing cat memes and videos that we all watch. Cats are probably the number one attraction. It’s people who are enthralled by funny-looking animals AND people for that matter. They love a freak show, from Grumpy cat to deformed kids on TV stumping for organizations like The Shriners to the dangerous moron we have for a president. I personally might go out of my way to show that a cat I happened to have who became famous was also well cared for, but an absence of that doesn’t automatically mean it isn’t. I’ve spent well over $100,000 on my pets but I don’t post all that or my yearly tax returns. Actually I did when I opened a gofundme account and was faced with losing my home. And if I were a public official I would, but that should go without saying.

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    • Also, and Michael you probably know, doesn’t one have to protect copy right material by monetizing it? And if you don’t, someone else will?

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