#cats_the_mewvie (2020) Script

[sound of dial-up Internet modem]

[keys typing]

[modem buzzing]

[static]

[cat meows]

[Tiffany] Oh, my God, that's so cute.

[cat purring]

[Pouria] My Instagram, it's all cats.

Every single one. Cat memes of like little cute cats.

So, when I started the Instagram account, I was like, "Just to make things clear, I'm not a crazy cat lady."

[both laughing]

[Tiffany] Make him look up again.

[rattling]

[Pouria] He makes me laugh even when I'm stressed, just because of the little things he does, right?

Even the way his face looks.

[Tiffany] He looked-- Oh, oh, yeah.

I feel like if they have the ability to bring so much happiness to people, why not?

[camera clicking]

[Tiffany] Try dancing in the back a bit.

He looks bored.

He's too used to this!

[laughing]

[Pouria] He's falling asleep!

[Tiffany] Yeah, he's falling asleep!

[Mike] People are obsessed with cats, and cats on the Internet, specifically.

[Pamela] Cats have captured our imagination because we really don't understand them, but we want to so badly.

[Pookie] She's the diva.

I am sure she knows she's famous.

[Mike] She's very special. She's one of a kind.

Now, there's this whole world of Insta-cats, and people trying to make their cats famous.

If someone was upset that we were dressing up our cat, -I'd say, "Well--" -Have you seen her?

[Lynzie] Eleganza!

[giggles]

I'd love to hit 100K.

[Loni] If you have a large following, you can make a living.

We have clients that do it full-time.

[Hugo] Social media is like my gallery.

[Adam] We posted a picture, and it literally just...

[mimics explosion] ...blew up!

[Tiffany] I have around 19,000 followers.

[Lynzie] We have 87,000 followers now.

[Adam] 238,000.

[Joanne] 330,000.

[Mick] One million around the world.

[Mike] 6.3 million.

Over ten million followers strong, easily.

My personal account's got 40!

[laughing]

You could be sitting next to a co-worker who you think is totally normal, and then, find out that they have seven cats, one of which has 500,000 followers.

You wouldn't know.

[woman] People really get crazy about it, almost like they're meeting a celebrity.

[Mike] When we do meet and greets, there's people crying, lots of people crying.

[Sarita] We are bringing the cat community together to spread the love for these amazing creatures.

It isn't just about likes, it isn't just about followers.

[Gwen] I always say he's not a meme cat, he's a message cat.

[Erika] I don't know what you are, but I love you.

[man] The Internet's built with cats.

[Amanda] If you have a cat, pure content gold.

[cat meowing, purring]

[birds chirping]

[cat snuffling]

[Mike] This is my cat, Bub, and she's very special to me and to a lot of people, actually.

I'm Mike.

We're really good friends.

[Lil Bub snorting]

She makes funny sounds quite a bit.

She's one of a kind.

One in a trillion, genetically, and one in a trillion energetically and spiritually.

She has a rare bone condition called osteopetrosis.

She's the only cat in recorded history to have been born with this condition.

Her teeth never grew in.

She has an underdeveloped lower jaw.

She only weighs 3.7 pounds.

Bub is, she's not just a funny-looking cat.

She's an inspiration, sort of a beacon of hope.

She has more will and determination than any living thing in the world.

They predicted she'd only live a few months, and she's now seven years old.

[snorting]

And the most famous cat in the world.


[meows]

[Jason] I don't like looking at pictures of cats or videos of cats, but they were inundating my life online, and it became such a persistent issue that I was like, "What's going on?"

My name is Jason Eppink.

I'm the curator of digital media at the Museum of the Moving Image.

I organize events and exhibitions about art, play, participation and vernacular culture as they relate to the moving image.

So, that's video games, interactive arts, club cultures, animated GIFs, and of course, part of that is Internet cats.

[hair dryer whirring]

[Jason] I organized an exhibition called

"How Cats Took Over the Internet."

I think the central question started as like, "What the hell's going on?"

But it evolved into what is it about us, what is it about humans, what is it about the sort of contemporary moment?

[meows]

You might be surprised to think that the first famous Internet cat was not a photo of a cat.

[purring]

It was 1998. Its name was Giko, and it was a cat built out of Shift JIS, which is the Japanese form of ASCII.

It was a little cat with, like, carets and squiggly lines and parentheses, and people would use Giko to illustrate their feelings or pose it.

This is really the first iteration of a cat meme online.

My name is Amanda Brennan, and I work at Tumblr.

In my personal Internet time, I run the blog "Boys with Beards with Cats."

And it's just photos of boys with beards and cats. [chuckles]

I'm known online as the Meme Librarian.

I'm the only meme librarian that I know of. [laughs]

Many people think of memes as just an image or something that they share on social media, but the real idea of a meme is the idea, and the act of the thing you're participating in.

It's a piece of content, a word, a phrase, anything that is posted to the Internet, and is spread from person to person, and changes along the way.

[Jason] Early Internet was a space for weird things to happen.

One of the projects that I highlighted in the exhibition was Infinite Cat Project.

Are you familiar with it?

Mike Stanfill found a photo of a cat looking at a photo of itself on a monitor.

I'm Mike Stanfill.

Um... I'm a commercial illustrator, and a champion of justice, too, by the way.

This is such a clever project.

I have to take you back to 2003 when this began.

I found a picture of a cat smelling a rose, and somebody took a picture of a cat growling at the cat smelling a rose.

So, I took the photo of the growling cat and put it on a website, and people took pictures of their cats growling at that cat, and then, I put those pictures on the Internet.

I'm surprised people even found the site, because Google was still sort of kind of fresh and new back then.

But then, right about late 2004, it took off.

As of today, there are 1801 cats all looking at each other into infinity.

You see technology evolve over the length of that project.

Back then, a 15-inch monitor was hot shit.

Seventeen meant you were rich!

Nineteen meant you worked for NASA!

[mockingly] Ooh, this guy's got money!

I do remember the first cell phone that showed up, and it's just a cat, cell phone on the ground, cat looking into it and we're like, "Oh, how cute!"

You know, this is the last one of these I'll get!

No!

This was at a really sort of great moment on the Internet, before it was, like, totally taken over by capitalism, right?

I also brought the Infinite Cat Calendar.

This was really sort of utopian vision and space where this kind of stuff could proliferate.

I did this in 2005, and it was such a big, fat pain in the keister, I didn't do another one.

I think it's an unsung hero of Internet cat humor.

[Stanfill] I just like the fact that people all around the world can do this.

I thought I was alone in the cat world, but, hey, people like kitties.

In the early 2000s, we started to see a lot of nameless famous cats.

[Amanda reading]

[Amanda reading]

[Amanda reading]

It was the time of the Internet where you didn't want anyone to know who you were.

So, people would share these photos on forums, on websites, and a lot of that boiled down into 4chan.

[Jason] 4chan, as you probably know, is the cesspool of the Internet.

It's the place where all the brilliant Internet comes from, and also all the shit.

On 4chan is where we first started to see the LOLcat, which is your cat image with some Impact font.

And here is where we started to see LOLspeak.

[Jack] It's a very natural thing to do, I think, to, like, to put yourself into the mind of your pet and, like, imagine what they're thinking or saying, or like what they might sound like or how they might talk.

And I guess the Internet decided that cats talk like these deranged babies.

[laughing]

Let me go, human!

[laughing]

My name is Jack Shepherd, and I am the editorial director at BuzzFeed.com.

I am also the site's first beast master, which is an official title that I made up for myself and they let me keep.

I started BuzzFeed's animal section in 2012, after having taken a real interest in cats on the Internet.

It was so funny at the time.

That's what, like, the teen who, like, doesn't remember the LOLcats wouldn't be able to get, is like it was so funny!

And if you look at it now, it's like, "I don't get it."

Like, they spelled "has" wrong?

Like, cats don't eat cheeseburgers.

But, like, that language is the beginning of, like, a really, really interesting and wild era for how we related to animals on the Internet.

[Kevin] So, LOLspeak is gearing up right around the time that YouTube is launched.

Around the time that YouTube originated, there were actually two things happening that were important in technology.

The first was that we were having this new ability to distribute things online, to connect and upload and share video.

We also had mobile devices that could record and capture those videos.

My name's Kevin Allocca, and I'm the Head of Culture and Trends at YouTube, and the author of Videocracy.

I spent eight years studying trends in video at YouTube, and trying to understand why things are popular, and why we like them.

In the early days of this medium as people are trying to figure out what to do with it and how it works, it was one of the first times where you had people from all over the world having access to all of the same types of things in that type of way.

So, naturally, things that transcend language, things that transcend cultural mores are going to rise in popularity because they're accessible to more people.

And it was the first time that we saw that dynamic playing out, and the sort of unexpected victors, perhaps, were our pets.

[meows]

[hisses]

[Pamela] When Instagram first launched, at the time, you would just sign up for an account, you would start following your friends, you'd start following your family. Basically, people you know.

Then, you'd start discovering people who did stuff you liked, and I think that was so game-changing.

My name is Pamela Chen.

I'm a creative director here at Instagram.

I spend a lot of time on Instagram, studying Instagram accounts and learning about interspace communities on the platform.

In those early days, it was simply a picture, a caption, and sometimes the caption was in a language that was not your own and yet, you could look at a profile of a cat account and say, "I would like to follow this cat, because every day I will get a picture of a cat that will make me happy, and it will just connect me to a community of people who I may never meet, but I know get me."

Right there in your pocket was this whole group of people who liked what you liked, but you may not know them in real life.

And that concept in itself was so special, and cats were one of those interests from day one.

Instagram has unlocked a way for cat owners to share everything they love about cats with each other in a very visual way, in a way that is very hard to describe in words, but once you see it, you're like, "My cat is just like that, and I get you, and you get me."

[Amanda] The cat explosion, I think, happened when people started getting phones, and people started getting excited about posting their own cats, and everyone wanted to follow all of the cats at the same time.

If you look at Instagram, there's the #catsofinstagram, as well as the corresponding profile, and tons of people just creating awesome content.

Yeah, when people ask, it's a little weird to say that, yeah, I make money off posting cats on the Internet.

My name's Eli. I'm one half of Cats of Instagram.

And I'm Kady, the other half of Cats of Instagram.

You might think that Cats of Instagram is more than just the two of us, but that's really all it is.

We don't have a communications department.

[Eli] It's us in our pajamas looking at cat videos.

[Kady] Yup!

Me on the treadmill at the gym going through submissions.

-[chuckles] -Maybe in the bathroom.

[both laughing]

[woman] I am so jealous of you guys.

Honestly, I started it in 2011 as just kind of a hobby back when Instagram was kind of growing.

It was simply supply and demand.

[Kady] We would get people that would submit when they were just making an account, and feature them, and we'd see their accounts grow.

I mean, I still get giddy when a video goes viral.

-Yeah. -Yeah.

Back in the day, I mean, there was a few famous cats who were up-and-coming.

Our success was reliant on their success, and we all kind of came up together, including Pudge, Nala, Oskar.

[Amanda] We kind of evolved into these more famous cats, and then, we started seeing cat celebrities.

So, this is when Lil Bub entered.

[Mike] The reason I started a Tumblr blog was just a friend of mine was like, "You have to do it.

It'd be so fun, and people want to see it."

I was like, "Okay, yeah, for my friends, you know."

And even then, you know, I had like five followers friends, and then, they just told their friends, and so, and then, we had 20 followers, and I was like, "This is crazy!"

And then, like 3,000 on Instagram.

My personal account's got 40!

[laughing]

I assumed it would end in a few months, but it's still going.

At this point, she's received iconic status.

Bub's total combined followers across her social media platforms is about 6.3 million.

[raspy breathing]

[meowing]

[meowing]

[hissing]

Hi, my name is Pookie.

[Nala growling]

[male interviewer] What's going on, Nala?

She's mad that Luna is here with her.

Normally, it's just, you know, she needs a spotlight.

Everyone to just focus on her, not some other animal.

She's too much.

So, what you gonna do? You gonna just stay here and complain?

[howling]

-[Pookie] Okay, she left. -[meowing]

She's the diva.

I am sure she knows she's famous.

[Pookie on video] What did you just do?

So, I adopted her in 2010, but I didn't start her social media until 2012.

[hissing]

I started her account just to share photos with like my friends and family.

I remember, like, I went snowboarding with my friend, and that day, we hit 500 followers, and it was like, "Oh, my God."

Like, I imagine like a full room of 500 people, and it was like, "Oh, my God, 500 people following Nala!"

When she hit 500,000 followers, that's when people start wishing, "I would want to do, like, sponsor ad."

So, Nala got a Guinness World Record for the most popular cat on Instagram.

She was in a Forbes article, top-ten most influential animal.

We were on Steve Harvey's show, the daytime talk show.

She's on movie with Jennifer Garner called Nine Lives.

She was named Kids' Choice Award nominee on Nickelodeon channel.

She's my baby, so I love her, but I'm happy to get to share her cuteness with everyone and make everyone happy.

-Thanks so much. -Thank you!

[hissing, growling]

[Pookie laughing]

Nala, why?

Are you mad at me?

[meows]

I think we're sort of in the second generation of celebrity pets.

[Tiffany] This is Evey, she's a long-haired calico.

[Pouria] This is Toto.

This is our troublemaker Scottish Fold.

First generation was sort of a bunch of accidental Internet stars.

And then, entrepreneurial pet owners took note, and tried to replicate the successes with making a lot of effort that the first generation of Internet pets didn't.

Can you make her look this way?

[Pouria] Hey, here!

Is this what you're looking for?

Oh, there you go, there you go.

-I'm Tiffany. -And I'm Pouria.

[Tiffany] When I started the Instagram account around 2012, I definitely did not expect a huge following.

It was more like a hobby.

But today on Instagram, Evey and Toto have around 19,700 followers.

[Pouria] Yes!

Such a good girl.

In the next year, I think 50,000 followers is a realistic goal, and then, when they get to 50,000, I think 100,000 is not that far off.

[male interviewer] Would you call yourself an influencer?

No, I wouldn't.

I just don't feel like I'm big enough yet.

[laughing]

What has changed is maybe more a function of the Internet changing than it is of cat media changing in a specific way.

You get these cats that have, like, massive followings on, like, Instagram or on YouTube, but it's become increasingly siloed.

They don't break out from that platform.

I think the last truly, truly famous cat was Lil Bub.

[Lil Bub snorting]

Now, there's this whole world of Insta-cats and people trying to make their cats famous, and there's, you know, like, accounts with this many followers and this many followers.

You know, a lot of people message me like, "How do I make my cat famous?"

And I'm really kind of against all of it.

[male interviewer] But you're one of them, though.

[clears throat] Sure, but I didn't-- I never sought out to do this.


Currently on Instagram, we have 18,300 followers, so we're getting close to that 20.

I'd love to hit 100K, not for any other reason other than I just think it looks cool, and it would make me seem cool.

And now that I've vocalized that, I don't feel cool! [chuckles]

My name is Erika.

I love you.

And my cat is Fat Cat Hercules.

He's called Fat Cat Hercules because it's literally exactly what you think when you see him.

You're just like, "Damn! That is a fat cat!"

Hercules is a hard-hitting, fast-talking, foul-mouthed, smooth with the lady cats, Internet-tainer on a diet.

I decided to start an Instagram for Hercules the same day that we decided to put him on a diet.

[hissing]

The primary reason was because I wanted to be accountable as a pet owner.

[purring]

But it is quite expensive to be getting this fancy food from the vet and to keep him on a diet.

So, I'd love to be able to have compensation from that to help offset the cost of his diet and all the check-ups.

[man] Last time he was 27.9 pounds.

[hissing]

I think to get to that 100K, what we need is, we need like a good viral post.

We need something that ends up on Cats of Instagram.

We need something that could even be picked up on a local news channel, and I think having some sponsorship and getting behind with some good brands would really help us.

[Pouria] I think a repost from Cats of Instagram

-would be very, very good for us. -That would be phenomenal.

-Phenomenal, of course. -Yeah. [chuckles]

[Pouria] They have a huge following.

We get a lot of submissions, like 2,000 or so a day just through our website.

There are some themes that we see repeating similarities with.

Things like cats with their tongues out.

[meowing]

Cats yawning.

[meowing]

Cats wearing clothes.

See a lot of those.

We see cats with bowties.

[Eli] There's a lot of those, yeah.

[Kady] Outdoor cats.

[Eli] Yeah, that's a big one.

[Kady] Cats laying upside-down.

All those things tend to be big hitters.

I also have a pirate theme, which is, you know...

Yeah!

You know, one-eyed cats.

-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -[laughs]

[Kady] I don't know if they like being called pirates, if that's, you know, a word that they don't like.

We don't try to have a bias on what we decide to post.

We don't have a bias where it's cats with this or without.

But we just find them adorable either way.

[Kady] Yeah.

[Pouria] Use this, "This belly isn't gonna rub itself."

That one seems like it's the best choice.

I think one of my favorite things about working for Cats of Instagram is discovering these new stars, and kind of pushing them into the light.

[growling]

[Pouria muttering indistinctly]

-Submit. -Submit!

[Pouria] We're either gonna get them to post us within the next few days, or we're just not gonna get anything.

Or tell us to revise our caption.

Yeah! You can get heartbroken, but it's cool.

[Loni] If you have a large following, it can be a full-time job.

As long as there's something about that cat that stands out and gets people's attention, it has the potential to take off.

My name is Loni Edwards, and I'm the founder of the first talent management agency to focus on pet influencers.

Pet influencer is a pet on social media, usually Instagram or Facebook, that's developed a large following, and as a result, is able to turn it into a business.

[purring]

If you want it to be a full-time job, then you need to be creating really solid content. and putting in the effort, engaging with your audience,

and really making it your job.

It's kind of like any business, right?

You're risking it all, saying that I'm going to put in more time, work with the cats non-stop, and just see if it's possible to increase their followings, and then, of course, get more money per post.

My background's in law. I went to Harvard Law School and worked at a big law firm before becoming an entrepreneur.

I realized that there was this whole industry starting to grow around these pet influencers.

And at the time, when brands wanted to work with cats, they would be just combing Instagram and sending out hundreds of direct messages, trying to get these cats' attention, and the whole process was really disconnected.

So, I created the agency.

And we quickly signed a bunch of influencers, and we just took off from there.

It seems at first blush to be very unusual that people would be able to make a living while making videos of their pets, right?

But if you sort of unpack that a little bit, you'll find that it makes a lot of sense.

Cats, they make people smile, they make people laugh.

When brands are partnering with these cat influencers, they're tapping into those feelings of their consumer, and showing that they agree and they have those same feelings.

Cats of Instagram is our biggest client.

They have over nine million followers.

They're probably the biggest pet account.

The main revenue for us is still sponsored posts.

That's the bread and butter, absolutely.

The price per post is a combination of the following in that engagement.

The smaller influencers with 20-50,000 followers are in the hundreds to around $1,000 per post.

And then, the ones with millions of followers are in the 15K range.

[interviewer speaking]

On average, yeah.

If you think of how much work went into building that following and nurturing that following, and all the content that's created day in and day out, the value they're providing to the brand is very fair.

I would say on average, Pudge makes about 50% of my income, the other 50% being Cats of Instagram.

This is my cat, Pudge.

Honestly, the weirdest cat, I think, ever.

[Pudge groaning]

[Kady on video] Pudge just lays in the middle of a room like this, like she's a dog or something.

What are you doing?

I remember when I hit, like, 300,000 followers, that's when I think it really started to feel like she was officially famous.

Today, I noticed she's at over 1.1 million followers.

[yawning]

With Pudge, after becoming famous, she's now been able to be in commercials.

She's been in Hollywood films, works with partners, food brands, does giveaways.

As far as working with partners on Instagram and stuff, I kind of only choose people that I'll have fun with, and that I feel like her fans will appreciate.

That way, the brand sees the best outcome, and my followers don't feel like they're being, like, used.

Oh, yeah, that looks great.

You can't force these things, basically.

When something's genuine, that's when it does well.

[Marti] When I first started Suki's page, it was just purely for the fact that I didn't want my own photography page to get taken over by this cat.

So, I think it's quite funny that her page has now become a bigger part of my business than my original photography page! [laughs]

My name is Marti, and this is my kitty, Suki.

[meows]

has been active for about a year and three months now.

And she's at one million followers as of about a week ago. [laughs]

[camera shutter clicks]

I actually had a cat before Suki, and she passed away at 19 years old.

The house started to feel really lonely really quick, so I started to do some research into different cat breeds, and I found that Bengals typically have a lot of energy.

They like to go outside, and I decided that maybe I'd have a chance with this type of cat to be able to actually, like, take it with me on my trips.

I think something that's important for me is always, like, trying to stay relevant, and branching out in as many ways as possible to sort of find some sort of security.

We're working on a Suki merch line.

All of the artwork that's on the merchandise that we'll be releasing on her new website right away is actually drawn by myself.

All of the designs are made by me.

A big part of the whole Bub thing is our merchandise.

At this point, there's almost nothing we haven't done.

So, we have a plush toy, glow-and-purr plush toy where you pet Bub and it's her actual sounds, -her purrs and meows. -[meows]

A bobblehead with sound, pillows.

We do Christmas sweaters, Christmas hats, every kind of T-shirt, tank you can imagine, leggings, giant queen-size blankets, books, watches, mugs, travel mugs.

And I manage all of this myself.

I do the timeline, I do the shipping, the inventory, get into the warehouse.

I do the marketing, the advertising, the customer service.

I do all of it, and it's insane.

The strategy is to stay relevant in some sort of way, to reinvent yourself that attracts people back to social media, to be creative with it.

So many people want to cuddle with Monty, and now, we're gonna solve that problem.

Look.

Look! I made this for you!

So, even when the social media world collapses, you have something else.

You know, a viable product that's no different than a football player that buys a car dealership for after retirement, you know.

It's just money that's well-invested.

My name is Mick Szydlowski, and this is my cat, Klaus.

[purring]

He's easy to love.

He is definitely a personality.

He's pretty fearless.

I think it might be the product of his former life as a stray cat, and that's kind of the charm.

I would say overall, Klaus has one million fans, followers around the world.

It's a huge number, yeah, absolutely.

The people that know Oskar and Klaus on the Internet know both of them as a duo.

Klaus was kind of the reluctant sidekick that got pulled into a lot of adventures, but he has his own charm and a lot of people came because of Oskar.

They stayed because of Klaus, and, you know, they're still following his adventures to this day.

We were very lucky to be on board in the early phase.

Obviously, there are changes within social media networks that obviously dictate how hard it is, you know, or how easy for some people it is to succeed in this.

[purring]

I followed a lot of very famous cat accounts, but they kind of stagnated.

Even though they have a huge following, to me, it's not interesting anymore because I have seen this picture.

I saw the picture the year before and the year before that.

It gets old.

I wish I knew the formula for it.

I think one thing that tends to happen on platforms in general is something that has been called the gentrification of the feed.

If you think about any platform in its infancy, what you tend to have is just like a lot of noise.

[woman on video] What are you two doing? Say hi to Daddy.

[Jack] And then, like, these, like, amateurs who have done something great will break through.

There's just like a ton of happy accidents, like Lil Bub.

Then, as these platforms get more and more professionalized...

[meowing]

People who, like, who are doing it to make money or to go viral, they're doing it very purposefully.

You have fewer and fewer of these happy accidents, and everything becomes more intentional and more, like, professionalized and more polished.

[Mick] People really have to be creative, emulate less of what the accounts are right now, and really have a new approach, you know.

[meows]

[Amanda] I think there will always be a place for the average funny cat picture, and people will always want to share that, but if you're thinking about Internet culture as a whole, I think we are getting to a place where people want more refined content, and people want to see something that takes effort, and like, it shows.

They want something beautiful to encroach their feeds just as much as they want the silly.

[purring]

[Hugo] I would say Princess Cheeto is my muse, and like, some photographers have supermodel celebrities.

For me, Princess Cheeto is my muse.


[laughing]

My name is Hugo Martinez, and we're here at WhiteWall, SoHo, and this is my first Cheeto exhibit.

My images, they were always meant to be for the Internet.

Social media is like my gallery.

That's the way that I see it.

When you go into my page, I want you to think that you're going into a little gallery of Cheeto.

[camera clicking]

And so, every caption is the name that would be on the wall.

So, this one, um, it's called

"Take Me To Your Litter."

[camera clicking]

Back in, like, when the memes first started to exist in the Internet, like, people would actually put lemons or oranges on the cats, and it was these helmets, right?

[camera clicking]

I wanted to pay an homage to them.

That's what came out of that, from being inspired by those photographs from back in the day.

I totally think Cheeto is pop art.

Hugo is able to really push the boundaries of what cat content should be, through his work, and is just using so much creativity and playfulness to exhibit his cat's personalities.

I thought I was posting pictures of my cat, but then, other people are like, "Okay, this is more than that. This is art."

And it's when other people call it that, I was like, "All right, cool, you call it that?

Well, all right, well, it's art."

I feel like the Internet has been my school also because it's like--

Like I said, it started one way, and then, I've learned so much creating, and when you're doing it and hands-on, you get more experience, and then, all of a sudden, you have all these pictures, and then, it's like you look at them, and it's like, "Whoa!"

Like, they all come together.

There's a style.

I always mention him in interviews where it's like, "What's your cat celebrity that you like to follow?"

Or "What's your favorite other cat account?"

[Eli] He's a domestic shorthair, I mean, which is still an adorable cat, but he's made it into this whole thing.

[Kady] Oh, that's a great example for how you could turn just an average cat that you feel like doesn't have a quirk to set it apart, and turn it into something that does, and something that has this whole look, a brand, if you will, to follow.

Building a strong brand is one of the most important things a cat influencer can do because that's what makes that cat kind of stand out.

It makes them recognizable.

People understand what they're getting when they come to the page.

[Erika] Hercules never set out to have any particular brand, but because he's genuinely authentic as, I want to say as a person...

[laughing]

His brand has created itself.

People love to see a fat, chubby cat and a big cat belly, but there is this constant struggle.

The more weight he loses, the less on-brand he's going to be.

He's still going to have his charm, but his je ne sais quoi is going to be missing.

It's almost like a self-destructing brand, in a way, and it worries me a little bit, but really, for his own health and wellness, you have to embrace that.

He's not this untouchable, you know, celebrity cat.

He's someone that people can look up to, who they can, you know, learn a little bit from, but who they can also feel an actual personal connection to, and that is really part of our brand.

The best way to describe Suki's brand would be, like, adventure lifestyle.

Suki and I have been on a lot of adventures!

I think it's really important to have a defined brand when you're trying to start an Instagram page.

I definitely believe that that's what sort of catapulted Suki's page forward in terms of gaining that following.

It's just having a very distinct style, and a very distinct set of images.

Suki gains a lot of followers on a weekly basis.

It's usually between 7,000 to 15,000, I would say is her average per week.

We started taking her out at three months old.

She likes water.

She's definitely fascinated by it.

She'll do a bit of hiking.

I think crossing between different sort of categories of interest is really important for Suki's page, because she actually doesn't get, like, a lot of cat features and stuff like that in comparison to features on photography pages, and features on travel pages.

I like that the cat sort of appeals to such a variety of interests.

It's difficult for me to figure out what the perfect post looks like.

My captions are usually between like one to four words.

For me, it's really more about the photography and the imagery.

Suki's most popular post to date was a photo of her at just a really nice lake with a mountain in the background at sunset, and I managed to catch Suki in the middle of a blink.

So, she looked like the epitome of, like, Zen kitty.

That photo got, I think it's at like 192,000 likes right now, and maybe 1,500 comments.

I did do a lot of editing in post.

The sunset was a bit bland, so I made it really pink.

The whole theme of the photo was like pastel pink cotton candy.

[Hugo] It's like a model.

You know, I got to, like, retouch the model's face, you know?

And so, I have to make it perfect when I'm creating the photos.

It's like every little hair and stuff, like, it has to be precise.

A lot of the time, I'll post a before picture, so before I've actually started the editing process, and then, right after, I'll post the shot where the photo has been completely edited.

There's a lot of people who are disappointed that something isn't 100% how it was straight out of the camera.

For example, I'll usually enhance Suki's eyes.

Um, they're kind of naturally an emerald green color, and I'll usually pop it over to the blue side of things.

So, people will comment like, "That's Photoshop, that's fake!"

I'm still going to continue showing the process, because it's good for people to see how much work really does go into these images.

[Hugo] I wish I could put a disclosure on the caption where it's like, you know, "This image has been modified."

It's like, "Um, honey, like, you need to go to school if you think that this is, like, on her head."

I don't want to just look at pretty cats.

If I wanted to look at pretty cats, I would just stare at Hercules all day.

I want to be entertained.

So, I'm looking for unique, I'm looking for different, and that's what I try to create when I'm creating my own perfect post.

Hercules doesn't actually do much.

[blowing kisses]

Hey, Herc.

You ready for your photoshoot?

So, getting videos of him being adorable is... challenging. [chuckles]

[toy squeaking]

I try to model the celebrity cats in a way where I'm trying to be on-brand, I'm trying to post with intent.

I'm trying to post quality.

But I think a caption is equally as important as the actual photo, and in some instances, even more important.

[male interviewer] What do you guys think of Fat Cat's captions?

It's great. Captions are always the hardest part.

I'm so bad at captions.

Yeah! It's a struggle.

You spend like an hour thinking of a six-word sentence.

[Kady] But that can be a good place to use, like, memes or, like, current trends.

"I'm down two--" I love this! [chuckles]

-Yeah, this is really funny. -Okay, on a note of saying that captions can make everything, I'm already loving the bio.

[Eli] "I'm taking over the world one Tunatini at a time."

[Kady] It's great, the bio's great.

You know what would be good if they did, like, what the meal plan is for the week.

Yeah, oh! Yeah!

That would be cool. Yeah.

Do like a meal prep Monday.

[Eli] Go yeah! There's a hashtag right there.

Yeah, absolutely.

To really take that to the next level as far as, if that's your branding, like, take that and own it, and then, you can totally get a sponsorship with like a nutrition company doing that, yeah.

-Oh, yeah. -Yeah.

[Eli] I love him, though. Fat Cat Hercules, so cute.

[Erika on video] Hey, what you doing? Are you pooping?

[meowing]

When you're asking, "Why cats?"

You're asking why cats and not dogs?

There's no one answer. I think it's a lot of sort of small answers that sort of add up.

It's not like, "Why do cats beat out sloths?"

Like, 'cause nobody has sloths in their home.

It's really a two-animal race.

Why is it that there are 12 emoji Unicode expressions for cats, when there are only two for dogs?

[Jason] Dogs are not mysterious to us.

We think we understand dogs and they're kind of one-note.

Cats are very different.

Cats are independent, they're hunters.

[Pamela] Cats have captured our imagination, because we really don't understand them, but we want to so badly.

My initial thought is cats are weird.

[Mick] They're quirky.

They're unpredictable and uncontrollable in a lot of ways.

You kind of have to win over their affection.

[Marti] Hi, baby!

-[meowing] -Oh, Suki, come back!

She doesn't like it when you talk to her!

[hissing]

[woman] Are you happy to see me?

[meowing]

[Sandy] So cranky.

Cats are assholes!

[clattering]

[meowing, hissing]

We've had a little incident. Nathan, hey.

[meowing]

You've smeared it, too, Nate, have you?

Cats are always looking down on you and judging you.

And yet, you love it.

[Kady] They're like, they're like the worst friend you have...

[chuckles] ...that you're still friends with.

You don't really know why.

He puts his legs on me like this, showing love and affection. [babbling]

[cat growling]

Cats try to get your attention, but once they get your attention, they don't want it anymore, and maybe that's a deep metaphor for life.

There's this tendency to perhaps anthropomorphize cats in a way that, like, we don't necessarily see with other animals.

[Jack] We like to personify them.

We like to attribute human impulses to them.

They can be this, like, really good blank slate.

Well, they have very human-like expressions, and Izzy truly has actual expressions.

She'll be like...

She can look at you like... very judging, and also very surprised.

When I displease him and he looks at me with some angry look, and I know by his look that he thinks to himself that

"If I was a tiger, I would just eat you right now."

[laughing]

[Pamela] I have two cats, and every time I glance over at them, they're doing something.

They have a mission, and something is demanding their undivided focus at all times, and I'm always wondering what that is.

[purring]

I'm fascinated by how little I will ever know about what's going through their minds, and I can't stop watching.

[Phaedra on video] Are you just waking up? Yes.

[growling]

Are you the most handsome?

-[growling] -You are.

[growling]

He has such a human-like quality about him.

You know, you can ask him a question, and he will look at you, he will make eye contact with you, and he will answer you.

[meowing]

It's going to take some time, Balam.

I think he'll come round.

I think he'll come round, okay?

-[meowing] -Is that a deal? Yeah?

My name is Phaedra, and we live in Guanajuato, Mexico, and we have four cats, but the star of the show is Balam.

-[Phaedra] Dark roast? -[low meowing]

-Good idea? -[meowing]

Yeah, we love you.

[meowing]

Yeah, you love us, too? Yeah?

Do you want to make me and Daddy a dark roast?

What do you think?

[meowing]

What I think he wants is to connect.

He wants to connect with me.

He wants to communicate.

Can I ask you a question?

Oh, wow.

What do you think is the meaning of life, Balam?

When I speak to Balam, I feel like I'm interacting with an intelligent sentient being, and if we could translate what he's saying, he's probably always saying, "I love you.

I love you, I love you."

Are you the cutest?

[meowing]

There's this theory that we find things cute that look young, and the idea is that it doesn't just have to be human babies.

It could be other animals that have specific features like large eyes, small noses, that we have this innate sort of maternal, paternal instincts to care for.

They have very adorable eyes, and they have tiny little ears, and they are tiny in itself, which is also adorable, and the little paws are so cute.

Just, yeah, I think everything about them is cute.

He's so cute, look!

And his skin is so smooth, and the head is smooth, and we have too much skin, and he's so sweet.

[Erika] He looks at you with his face all smooshed up, and you just think, "I don't know what you are, but I love you."

[Jason] There's the emotional response I think we all sort of associate with it.

But there's more to it, right?

I think in popular culture, we sort of imagine cuteness to be this simple, non-threatening aesthetic or thing that we encounter, but there's actually a lot to investigate.

When we find things cute, you gather, you want to protect, you want to consume.

There's a phrase about it, "It's so cute, I want to eat it."

And that's... that's actually, there's something real there.

It just takes one step to sort of be like, "Oh, I can sort of mass-market this, and I can sort of tap into these desires for promotional deals and for merch, and these kinds of things."

So, like, pretty quickly, it gets kind of dark.

My Instagram inbox is like, non-stop just like, "Help me promote my cat. Make my cat famous.

Please post about my cat."

Share for share, share for share, like, stuff like that.

I'm like, "Uh..."

Something about it makes me uneasy on a lot of levels.

What we care about is your cat's welfare, and what's best for your cat.

It just so happens that what's best for my cat is what we're doing.

[snorting]

I think Bub became famous for a reason, whether it's inspiring people, raising money for animals.

I started Lil Bub's Big Fund for special needs pets with the ASPCA.

At this point, I think it's four years old and we've administered over $300,000 for special needs pets, it's great.

I just worry that some people will do anything to get famous, and that's not to say that there aren't people that could do it right.

For every success story, there's thousands, tens of thousands of people trying to do it and effing it up, and potentially harming their cat in the process.

[Eli] There's definitely like an underbelly.

There's money being exchanged, for sure.

I think the community does a good job as a whole.

I'm noticing that, hey, if someone's blatantly selling out, they're gonna call him out on it in the comments, and eventually, it's gonna be negative for their brands.

[Kady] Yeah, so if you're trying to chase the money, people will see it and not respond well to it.

[Eli] Absolutely.

[Hannah] I've been a rescuer.

I've been doing policy work, educational work, and a couple of years ago, I started meeting other people who were like "cat influencers," and I was like totally new to that world, and I was shocked to find out that there are people who are influencers online with cats, who are not involved in cat welfare.

My name is Hannah Shaw.

I am known as Kitten Lady.

I'm a humane educator and kitten rescuer, and I specialize in the needs of neonatal kittens.

[meowing]

If you are adopting a special needs cat because you want to have a platform where you show people, "Hey, cats with this diagnosis are not broken.

They can be adopted." That's awesome.

If you want to use your platform to, like, sell corn chips, that's not my thing.

That's not my thing!

I think it's so tragic that we can get people to wear the cat socks, wear the cat shirt, put on the cat ears, attend a convention, and not actually get involved in saving their lives.

I just got a call from an animal control officer who said that a man walked into Petco with a tissue box with a baby kitten in it, and said, "Can you take this kitten?" and then ran out!

I love him.

I can't wait to get all the flea dirt off of you.

[kitten meowing]

My favorite babies to care for are the really, really tiny ones because they're the hardest to care for, they're the most vulnerable.

When you raise them from that young, you feel so bonded with them.

I looked at it like, "I'm going to put out educational tools.

I'm going to use this weird social platform to teach people what I know," and it just grew and grew.

I reach more than a million people between all of my platforms.

Hannah and I have been partners for about two and half years now.

I was very big into, I guess you could say cat pop culture.

[camera clicking]

She's really inspired me to do a lot of the work that I do now, which is heavily rescue, shelter, adoption awareness, that kind of stuff.

My name is Andrew Marttila, and I am a cat photographer.

We met because Andrew is a cat photographer, and I found out about his work, and we got together to do a photoshoot of two of my kittens meeting for the first time.

And they are best friends, and now, we're best friends.

-Aw! Yeah. -Aw!

[Hannah] People are really interested in our relationship, which is funny to me.

People were coming up to us and saying, "Oh, we followed both of you before you knew each other."

The good thing about social media is that people can see us doing rescue work.

They can see, you know, that we're in a relationship doing what we're doing, so maybe they can have something like that in their life.

That's what it's all about.

So, I think if we can leverage that kind of, like, pop culture element to get people to do a good thing, then, that's great.

-Yeah! -I just love you.

-Oh. -I take hugs, too. Bring it in.

[laughing]

Homer came into my life as a two-and-a-half-week-old blind kitten.

I always say he's not a meme cat, he's a message cat, and the message is very much about rescue and compassion.

My name is Gwen Cooper.

I am a cat writer.

I have written five books about cats.

Homer's Odyssey was my first one.

Homer had been found as a stray with a very advanced eye infection.

I picked him up, and he sort of crawled up to my neck, and started purring, and I believe my exact words were, "Wrap him up, I'm taking him home."

When I wrote Homer's Odyssey, famous cats weren't a thing.

That was not a thing.

Now, we are in a very different place.

Homer himself has nearly a million followers online, and he is still dwarfed by some other cats who have even larger social media followings.

I am in a unique, bird's eye sort of position because I get to see all of the things that all of the people who follow us online are doing, even when they don't necessarily see each other, and I get to know how much goodness there is in people.

[Michael] Monty was this cat that no one wanted.

He was sitting in a shelter for three months.

[Mikala] Many people thought that he looked ugly.

[Michael] Yeah, but--

[Mikala] He was not like, you know, a perfect cat, you know?

Oh, you're so beautiful.

Oh, you're so beautiful!

[kissing]

I love you so much!

You're the love of my life.

I am Mikala.

And I'm Michael.

And we live in Denmark.

And we are parents to Monty and Molly!

[Mikala] Monty Happiness and Molly Happiness!

And they are two beautiful and very sweet and kind cats with what we call feline Down syndrome.

[Mikala] Yeah.

[Michael] Monty Happiness across all social media has over a million followers.

[Mikala] The first time we ever saw Monty was on our local cat shelter's website here in Denmark.

I was just browsing around and there he was, like, my boy!

I was crazy in love the first time I saw him, because he looked so special! So different!

So, the next day we went to the shelter, and we met him, and his personality, like, oh, wow!

I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

So, Michael went on to pick up Monty, and held him in his arms like a baby with the belly up.

You don't do that with a cat!

Unless you want to be scratched in your face.

Yeah!

And I remember it like it was yesterday.

A miracle happened right there because Monty started to knead with his paws in the air, and started to purr, and looked Michael in the eyes and slow-blinked to Michael.

And Monty for sure picked Michael right there.

It is all about, for us, to tell and show people, the world that they are perfect just the way they are.

[Michael] We showed the world that this chromosome abnormality, that this appearance of a cat counts for something kind and forgiving and nice.

Today, cats like Monty and Molly will not be sitting in a shelter for more than a few days...

Nope.

...because people, they know that this is something special.

So, we are very proud about being first movers on changing this view from something that this you do not get, to this you should definitely get.

[Mike] Bub sort of gave me an avenue to really make a huge difference.

[purring]

I always ensure that there's a charitable aspect to any of our partnerships, and it has to be substantial.

In the very beginning, we had like three different publishers wanting to do a book with us, for a lot of money, and we were like, "Wow, this is great.

The only thing we'd like to change in the agreement is that this portion of the proceeds will benefit this."

And they said, "No, we can't do that."

I said, "Well, then, we can't do the book."

That's it.

So, we turned down a crazy huge opportunity based on principle, because, you know, why would we-- That's the point of the book.

So, if you're not on board with the mission, then, we're not on board.

The first thoughts I had when I first met Ben was like, he was so sad!

And he just wanted somebody to love him, which is why I took his picture, and I sent it to Adam.

When I looked at my phone, it was just instant heartbreak.

You couldn't help but feel sorry for him and just want to take him home, and...

[Sandy] Feed him everything he could ever want!

My name is Adam.

My name is Sandy, and this is our cat BenBen.

Ben came from the bad side of Vancouver,

and he wasn't doing really well.

So, to nurse Ben back to health, it was going to be a long-term thing for us.

[Adam] On Reddit, there's a subreddit called "Before and After," and it's basically, you just post your before-and-after pictures of your animal that you adopted.

And I used Ben's first picture, the one where he was super sad, and then, we posted an updated picture, and it literally just... [mimics explosion] ...blew up.

[Sandy] We started making merch, and a lot of our social media thought we were going to turn BenBen into a cash cow.

Profiting off him just 'cause he's famous, it just never sat right with us.

We were like, well, "why don't we do something positive?"

We only take what we need to cover the costs of the shirts and stuff like that.

Outside of that, everything goes right back to our community.

We make it work, but yeah, it just seems right to give back to shelters and pets who don't actually have a home.

[Gwen] We tend to have a lot of followers who are very passionate about rescue, who are very passionate about altruism, who are very passionate about making donations and contributing.

In terms of what the obligations are for other famous cats, I think there are a lot of them who are also very active in fundraising, and raising the profile of rescue animals.

I think there are some who are just more about fun, and there is a place for fun, certainly, especially when it comes to cats.

My favorite compliment is, "You're doing God's work."

[John] We get that a lot, actually.

-[Lynzie] A lot! -You'd be surprised.

[Lynzie] Much more than I'd expect, but I'll take it.

-I'm Lynzie. -I'm John.

[Lynzie] Say hi!

This is an extra special photoshoot today.

Do you want to get dressed up?

We'll try.

We copycat looks from the TV show RuPaul's Drag Race, and we take some of our favorite looks that the contestants wear.

[Lynzie] Or what will look most ridiculous on a cat.

Yeah, and we make a miniature cat version out of hot glue and spandex, mostly.

[Lynzie] Yes, Laila! Eleganza.

Eleganza!

If someone was upset that we were dressing up our cat, -I'd say, well-- -Have you seen her? [laughing]

I would say you'd have to meet Laila to know that she's, like, very chill about it.

[Lynzie] Do you want to turn and be in the light?

Show the people what they came to see.

[John] We don't put her in anything uncomfortable.

We try to make it very stretchy.

We are concerned about her well-being.

Beautiful!

[John laughing]

[Lynzie] She's a natural, really.

[Lynzie] Good girl, yay!

She says, "I'm more of a camera still-shot girl."

She's never been in a movie before.

[John] This is not supporting us at this moment.

We're definitely giving more than...

Yes, giving a lot right now.

...we're getting financially, but we're getting a lot spiritually.

[camera clicking]

If I could quit my day job for glitter and a hot glue gun, sign me up.

I don't know what exactly that job is yet, but we're looking for it.

[Lynzie] Right now, it's just incredible to have fans write from literally all over the world, commenting and sending us private messages every day, saying, "This made my week" or "I was having a really hard time, and this got me through."

To have something start as a joke and now reach 87,000 people is pretty incredible.

She does like certain looks more than others.

Not based off of comfort!

I think just style.

Like, this one, she's very like, "Mmm-hmm."

When we put her in like a trashy girl outfit, she's like...

And we love doing it so much, and we laugh every single time we're making something, and it's so nice to have everyone laugh with us.

All right, you want to take a break?

[meowing]

Take five.

[Mike] Before the Internet, cats are an introvert's pet, and people enjoy their pets at home.

It's not like you can take a cat to a dog park.

They're not a social pet.

[Jessica] Based on my research, we know that people who tend to be a little bit more shy, watch cat videos more often.

My name is Jessica Myrick.

I'm an associate professor of media studies, and I conducted a large-scale online survey about who watches cat videos, why they watch them, and to what effect?

When I ran the study, I wanted to see if that sort of stereotype of the, you know, lonely, secluded cat lady held up with watching cat videos, and really, it doesn't.

[meowing]

More specifically, I found that 75% of my respondents said the last time that they watched a cat video or looked at a cat meme, they either commented on it or shared it with someone else.

It's not the idea of this loner that's just online watching cat videos.

[Amanda] The crazy cat lady is a meme, and very much something that feels out of touch now.

It's not the stereotype of the woman in the rollers and the 18 cats around her.

Your cat person can be anyone from Mike Bridavsky to Kady Lone, and all of these cat people have owned it.

It kind of has democratized what people think of as cat content.

You can now stay in your home, take a video, take a picture, share it with your friends online and you develop this community.

I think Jack Shepherd from BuzzFeed really said it best, that the Internet is the cat park.

[Jack] The Internet, it is a place where people can kind of have that same experience, like share their identity of being a cat lover, share pictures of their cats, and it becomes like this virtual space where people can kind of have the similar experience to what dog people get to have out in the world.

[Pamela] The community of cats online is like a community in real life.

There's the little business economy, there's also trend-setters and kind of stars of the moment.

There's all of these players in it.

The only difference is, it is a lot more global.

You don't need to speak the same language, and you may never meet this cat in real life, and yet, you feel like you know them.

[Joanne] It was never my intention when I got the cats to make them on Instagram.

But then, suddenly someone discovered Zoe, with the heart on her chest, obviously, and from then on, it was just crazy.

Like, she went viral across the whole globe.

[Rian] We started taking her down to the beach to come for a walk, get her out and about.

I went in for a swim, Nathan came in straight after me.

I didn't even know. I just heard splashing at my feet.

I looked down, and she had followed me out in the water.

[Melissa] And then, we showed people at work, and we showed some of our friends and family.

[Rian] And then, the account just started going up, like thousands a day.

It's a bit surreal, actually.

[Sandra] I want to share this cat with other people because he is very special.

They have never seen before a cat like this.

I first made the account for Shelby whenever Grumpy Cat became famous, because I felt like if Grumpy Cat can be famous, then so could Shelby.

Hi!

BuzzFeed shared Atchoum, and Kim Kardashian, you know, made a comment about it.

The next morning, we realized we had like, 16,000 people following us in just one night.

[Kagan] I feel I can share my cat's cuteness and his love for humans.

I can share it not only with my close environment, I can share this with lots of other people from very far countries.

This is something I wouldn't have been able to do it without the Internet.

One small step for man, one giant leap for cat-kind.

No, no, no, Serge, no!

I was supposed to take the first step!

[Pamela] What makes a community healthy isn't just about likes.

It isn't just about followers.

It's about the strength of the connection between different players in the community.

[Sarita] Meowfest is a global celebration of felines.

We are bringing the cat community together just to connect, to spread the love for these amazing creatures.

We've had people reach out from all across North America, Europe, like India, and we have vendors from Singapore and Australia, and so, it's really cool.

[man] Thank you very much.

I think it's important that people understand that there's other people who share the same passions, and that there's a larger community.

[woman] People say you should write what you know, so I like to design what I know, which is cats.

[man] Why do I love cats?

Um, they just make that [chuckles] wonderful purring noise.

They're soft, they're friendly, they're fantastic, and now, I'm sure everybody in the room agrees.

That's why we're all here.

They're the perfect pet.

They look after themselves, they exercise themselves.

I just got to put food and litter down, and we have a good relationship.

[Eli] World domination.

[chuckles] It's happening, yeah!

These festivals like Meowfest, it's kind of what the new thing is.

Every year, the attendance has grown and grown, so there's huge gatherings of people thinking alike and sharing their experiences help the community grow as a whole.

These events are a way for people to get off their screens and face to face.

[woman] I can't get over how chill he is.

Yeah, not a lot of stress in his life.

[Eli] So, I think that actual Internet-to-real-life transition is kind of where we're at right now.

[Mike] A few times a year you get to do a meet-and-greet, how bad is that, huh?

Building that community in real life, it's, I think, the next big frontier for cats.

[Kady] You're starting to see more of the dog parks come out, I guess, in the cat community.

[Jack] I think that our capacity as humans for empathy with animals is the best version of what we can be.

And so, when people come together on the Internet to express that, I think that's wonderful.

Honestly, building a cat fort with someone is one of the most intimate experiences that two or three humans can share together.

So, this is Jenkins. Um...

He's been in a few BuzzFeed videos.

I love my cat more than anyone I've ever met, and I'm proud of that, and I like to talk about it and I think that that's a good thing.

I think that that relationship can be really important and rich for people.

I think there's often sort of a limiting of Internet cats as, like, we have this amazing technology, we have this amazing ability to communicate with anyone in the world.

Why are we wasting so much time looking at, you know, cats?

Why are these people not, you know, solving world hunger, or yada yada yada?

And that is an expression of an attitude that I think completely misunderstands human experience.

[purring]

[Phaedra] Cat love makes you a better person.

I reckon it's some of the best medicine that you can get.

It's like a natural antidepressant, and I think that's what cats are for people.

They're wonderful.

There are always going to be those people who look at it and think it's silly.

I think there are those of us who know that love is love, whether it goes on four legs or two, and that these are real and meaningful relationships.

[Mikala] I love cats because I have anxiety, and I have been suffering from anxiety and OCD since I was a little kid, and the only thing that could really calm me down is a cat in my lap.

I met the love of my life, Mickey, my grey-silver cat who sadly passed away and is in heaven now, protecting me!

I met him when I just moved away from home, and I saved him. He was a street cat, and I'm always saying that because I was so down, you know, I have been to the mental hospital.

I've been really, really, really low, and Mickey saved me.

I see life in another way today, like all life is more precious than I thought it was, like, six years ago.

[Kady] Pudge certainly is my best friend.

I mean, she sleeps underneath the covers, you know, spooning with me.

She's really just very human-like.

I got her out of college there, and I was just out of, like, this long-term, emotionally abusive relationship, and I was just looking for a companion, and she totally helped me, you know, get through that time in my life.

[camera clicking]

Pudge doesn't just give me love.

She gives me everything I am today.

I was not a confident person before I got Pudge, and then, she becomes famous and I have to do interviews.

I'm sort of forced to become more confident and speak in public.

She means so much to me now, more than just being this Internet celebrity.

So, she's really the whole reason I am who I am.

[purring]

[Michael] It's not about cats.

It's about the happiness around the cat.

The Internet today is filled with so much hate, and I think that if we could just start sharing more love and happiness instead of all those negativity, that is what it's about.

-[Suki sneezing] -Oh, gesundheit!

We're injecting little pieces of sweetness and joy into an otherwise not-so-joyful world right now.

[Hugo] When I was unhappy, I would be on the Internet and that's what would make me happy.

So, I wanted to create that for other people.

Creating that moment, that one second, now it's like half of a second.

I think the best part about what we do is when we're looking through the comments section and we see people just sharing their posts with their friends, and we don't know anything about what's going on in their lives, but just that little bit of entertainment for them could be the world of difference.

[Gwen] Now, it's great that we can share funny pictures and it's great that we can raise money for causes, but I think on a day-to-day level as a lived experience, what's really great about it is that we have each other.

I think the Internet, it's always been a difficult place with like really, really good parts and, like, charming and wonderful parts that connect people, and then, really, really a dark side.

Cats have been this kind of avatar of, like, the good side of the Internet, like the pure side where people connect to each other and share this sort of empathetic feeling that they have, and that's a sign of what the Internet can be of when it's at its best.

[Amanda] I don't think we will stop having cat content.

I think there will always be people making it, people excited to make it and people excited to see it.

It all goes back to the definition of a meme.

Things evolve and change along the way, and you can't predict it.

It will just keep going and surprising, and once it clicks, it's gonna click and change again.

[Lil Bub chirping]

♪ Some people think the Internet Is a series of tubes ♪

♪ Some people think it's made of wires ♪

♪ And lasers and some hats ♪

♪ Some people think it's stuck together With a load of glue ♪

♪ But they're all wrong Because the Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet was born in Japan, 2001 ♪

♪ There were not many cats So bandwidth was not very high ♪

♪ To get the cats around the net They had to keep them small ♪

♪ So they compressed kittens ♪

♪ Using the ancient art of bonsai ♪

♪ Although more kittens came online With each and every day ♪

♪ The connectivity and bandwidth Of the net weren't great ♪

♪ Because the kitten numbers Did not grow as you would hope ♪

♪ As God kills a kitten every time He sees you masturbate ♪

♪ Because the Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The revolution came when LOLcats harnessed humankind ♪

♪ To create many cats with captions on That were quite mental ♪

♪ While death rates from a vengeful God Stayed more or less the same ♪

♪ The growth in Internet kittens Soon became exponential ♪

♪ For a while it looked as though ♪

♪ Everything was just fine ♪

♪ With more cats in the network Things grew fast as fast can be

♪ But soon the laws of physics ♪

♪ Started to bend with the strain ♪

♪ As the number of cats tended Towards infinity ♪

♪ Because the Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet Cat Project Kittens inspired by kittens ♪

♪ Recursive cats spiraled down To a singularity ♪

♪ Which birthed a cat-god Powerful beyond imagination ♪

♪ Called Maru, who appeared Obsessed with box idiocy ♪

♪ But despite looking like A fat-cat moron who liked boxes ♪

♪ Maru was in fact manipulating Both time and space ♪

♪ He summoned forth the Dark One From beyond the deepest past ♪

♪ The one who would be savior Of the Internet cat race ♪

♪ Because the Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats ♪

♪ The Internet is made of cats ♪

♪ And that's a fact ♪


[Lil Bub meowing, snorting]