Instacats

by Leilani Shimoda

More Followers than Jesus: The Feline Royalty of Instagram

CAT001 "Lil Bub," (2014). Acrylic on paper. 11 x 12 inches. Courtesy the artist.

LIL BUB instagram.com/iamlilbub

Interview with Mike Bridavsky

What is the story of your cat’s origin? BUB is a magical space cat who as been alive longer than some of the stars in our galaxy. She crash-landed her space pod onto our planet in the sixth month of the two-thousand-eleventh year after the death of a guy named Jesus.

Any nicknames for your cat? Yes, many: Riru Baboo, Raboo Baboo, Robbie Bobbie, Baboo, Bubbo, Grubbo, Sluggo, Bog, Slog, Bob, Bozz, Bubbles, Baburan, Manuman, Banyu, Manyu.

Would you say your cat’s ego has grown since gaining popularity? No, I would not say that.

What is your cat’s favorite human food snack? BUB loves yogurt with a passion, but not just any yogurt. She only likes one brand of yogurt, and that's Brown Cow. This is not a promotional plug (although it is exceptional yogurt). She shows no interest for any other yogurt, even other fancy stuff.

Which figure do you think your cat best relates to and why? A) Astronaut B) Cowboy C) President D) Airline Attendant I mean, she's a space traveler.

What is your cat’s favorite pizza topping? A moving spot of light.

What is your cat’s favorite Beatles album? Ride the Lightning

What is your cat’s favorite ’80s cartoon? Snorks.

What is the strangest facial expression your cat can make? Do you have a name for the expression? There is no limit to the number or quality of strange facial expressions she can make. They are all called BUB FACES.

If your cat were to be best friends with another animal, what would it be? A) Dog B) Monkey C) Pig D) Another Cat E) Your cat in a mirror F) Stuffed Animal I think she would be best friends with a giant ant, but that's not listed here. If I had to pick one from the list, I would have to say monkey. It's a wild guess.

Your cat’s favorite resting place: A) Your Lap B) Couch C) Window Sill D) Cat Bed My Lap.

If your cat could talk, what would it whisper into your ear before you fall asleep at night? She can talk, albeit telepathically. Every night she whispers into my brain the meaning of life and the ultimate answer to the universe, but I'm always too deep asleep to retain the information.

CAT004 "Princess Monster Truck," (2014). Acrylic and oil pastel on paper. 11 x 12 inches. Courtesy the artist.

PRINCESS MONSTER TRUCK instagram.com/princessmonstertruck

Interview with Tracy and Bryce

What is the story of your cat’s origin? We discovered Princess Monster Truck late one night walking home in Brooklyn, N.Y. She popped out of the bushes and let out a ferocious (and very hungry) howl. She looked up at us with her huge golden eyes and we wondered what kind of mystical beast had crossed our path. “It's a Monster Cat!” I exclaimed. It was cold and beginning to snow we couldn't leave her out there, she followed us to our home where we fed, washed her, and took her to the vet to find out about her health.

Any nicknames for your cat? The full name “Princess Monster Truck” was a collaborative effort between us and two other friends. Our friend Jeremy kept calling her “Monster Truck,” while our other friend Hilary proclaimed, “She's not a ‘Monster’— she's a ‘Princess!’” We decided she was indeed all three of these things. We usually call her “Monster” or “Monst” and sometimes “PMT.”

Would you say your cat’s ego has grown since gaining popularity? Well, she does seem to prefer that all humans around her wear a T-shirt with her face printed on it. Princess Monster Truck has never been a modest cat; she's pretty entitled and does whatever she wants.

What is your cat’s favorite human food snack? She's not really into eating human food, but she likes to smell everything and haphazardly rub her two big teeth on food we might be interested in.

Which figure do you think your cat best relates to and why? A) Astronaut B) Cowboy C) President D) Airline Attendant Out of those options, we would relate her most to a cowboy-lady. Although I'm not sure how she feels about horses, she does live on her own terms. She's calm, dark, and mysterious, but she's from the streets and has a little rage in her—she's not afraid of a showdown.

What is your cat’s favorite pizza topping? Free-range grain-free canned meat.

What is your cat’s favorite Beatles album? She's never told us.

What is the strangest facial expression your cat can make? Do you have a name for the expression? /\m/\ The expression speaks for itself!

If your cat were to be best friends with another animal, what would it be? A) Dog B) Monkey C) Pig D) Another Cat E) Your cat in a mirror F) Stuffed Animal The longest amount of time PMT has spent with another animal was with our friend LiL BUB. BUB is from space and full of magic and science, Monster seems to like that. She was recently gifted a LiL BUB plushy, which is really adorable!

Your cat’s favorite resting place: A)   Your Lap B)   Couch C)   Window Sill D)   Cat Bed             All of the above are important components of the Princess Monster Kingdom and daily regimen.

If your cat could talk, what would it whisper into your ear before you fall asleep at night? We don't think Princess Monster Truck cares much about words, but she does love guitar! I think if she could, she would hum metal guitar riffs in our ears all night long, maybe she does already...

CAT002 "Nala," (2014). Acrylic on paper. 11 x 12 inches. Courtesy the artist.

NALA instagram.com/nala_cat

Interview with Pookie Methachittiphan

What is the story of your cat’s origin? The story of one kitten, Nala, starts off at a home where the owners could no longer take care of the cats and kittens because there were too many. Nala was then taken away to the shelter where she was separated from her original family. Sadly we don’t know what happened to the rest of the cats or kittens, but when adopted, Nala was the only one left. Of course Nala wasn’t Nala then, but an unknown kitten in the shelter, at only five to six months old. On a random day, my friend and I were planning on adopting a cat, but weren’t going to right away because we weren’t prepared. After looking around for a while, my friend found another cat that she wanted to adopt, and I had just picked Nala up for the first time. She licked my face and knew she was the one that we were going to take home.

Any nicknames for your cat? Cutie Pie.

Would you say your cat’s ego has grown since gaining popularity? No, she is just one normal cat.

What is your cat’s favorite human food snack? She doesn't eat human food at all.

Which figure do you think your cat best relates to and why? A)   Astronaut B)   Cowboy C)   President D)   Airline Attendant Because, she is the boss of our house.

What is your cat’s favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni.

What is your cat’s favorite Beatles album? Let it Be.

What is your cat’s favorite ’80s cartoon? Dumbo's Circus.

What is the strangest facial expression your cat can make? Do you have a name for the expression? Shocking face. We called it "Nala signature shocking face."

If your cat were to be best friends with another animal, what would it be? A) Dog B) Monkey C) Pig D) Another Cat E) Your cat in a mirror F) Stuffed Animal

Your cat’s favorite resting place: A) Your Lap B) Couch C) Window Sill D) Cat Bed

If your cat could talk, what would it whisper into your ear before you fall asleep at night? Yes she would, she gives me good night kisses every night.

CAT003 "Shrampton," (2014). Acrylic and oil pastel on paper. 11 x 12 inches. Courtesy the artist.

SHRAMPTON instagram.com/shrampton

Interview with Leilani Shimoda

What is the story of your cat’s origin? Shrampton's storied journey began when he was born in Los Angeles on February 7th, 2011. Only months after, he was the first Scottish Fold to graduate from Oxford with a triple major (electrical engineering, Japanese, interpretative dance). By his first birthday he was bidding his twin sister Bunni adieu as he started his circumnavigation of the world by bicycle. His trip was cut short in Montserrat when a British Blue Hair named Alice stole his wallet (and heart). While she fell in love with the butterscotch stallion, she ultimately left him for an older, richer fat cat. Heartbroken, Shrampton flopped down back in Los Angeles where he has been collaborating with Tom Ford on a line for cats and refining his palate for scotch ever since. His signature flop was born from heartache but inspires happiness in all who see it. He is content, but will he ever find love again?

Any nicknames for your cat? Shramps, Shrampo, Shrampy, Shramp, Captain, Flop, Flopper.

Would you say your cat’s ego has grown since gaining popularity? It's not quite Kanye-level. Yet.

What is your cat’s favorite human food snack? Bonito flakes, Greek yogurt, single malt scotch.

Which figure do you think your cat best relates to and why: A)   Astronaut B)   Cowboy C)   President D)   Airline Attendant E) Other          Shrampton is a nautical expert, serving as Captain of a number of ships through the years. His white mustache is reminiscent of Cap'n Crunch’s.

What is your cat’s favorite pizza topping? White truffles, prosciutto and egg, macaroni and cheese—not all together.

What is your cat’s favorite Beatles album? While he's a fan of their early cover of “Three Cool Cats,” he probably would go with Revolver.

What is your cat’s favorite ’80s cartoon? Garfield, obviously.

What is the strangest facial expression your cat can make? Do you have a name for the expression? The big-eyed, no-necked, shocked and awed look.

If your cat were to be best friends with another animal, what would it be? A) Dog B) Monkey C) Pig D) Another Cat E) Your cat in a mirror F) Stuffed Animal His best friend is his sister Bun. She’s his first lieutenant, his personal stylist, and often tends bar when Shrampton throws one of his renowned dinner parties.

Your cat’s favorite resting place: A) Your Lap B) Couch C) Window Sill D) Cat Bed E) Other          He has a custom-built cat tree that his grandfather fashioned out of Santa Barbara driftwood.

If your cat could talk, what would it whisper into your ear before you fall asleep at night? Shrampton does talk. He's pretty into Proust right now so perhaps: "The charms of the passing woman are generally in direct proportion to the swiftness of her passing."

CAT005 "Richard," (2014). Acrylic and gold leaf on paper. 11 x 12 inches. Courtesy the artist.

RICHARD instagram.com/richard_kitty

Interview with Maya Tuttle

What is the story of your cat’s origin? I was at a coffee shop waiting for my drink when a flier for a pet adoption fair caught my eye. I decided to check it out, thinking that hanging with some sweet, orphaned animals was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I got to the Downy Shelter's booth and locked eyes with an adorable, very scared odd-eyed white and orange cat: Richard. He and another cat buddy had been abandoned at the shelter, but the buddy was adopted earlier in the day, leaving Richard all alone. The volunteer allowed me to hold him for a bit (a genius move) and after he snuggled into my arms, I couldn't let him go.

Any nicknames for your cat? King Richard, Richie Rich, Ricker. Some very imaginative, very young Instagrammers have graced him with a moniker that includes a byname for "Richard" plus slang for "kitty" that becomes a vulgar sexual innuendo when the two are placed side-by-side: "Dick Pussy."

Would you say your cat’s ego has grown since gaining popularity? Sometimes. When he sleeps on my record collection or wakes me up an hour before my alarm, I think, "He knows he's got leverage now." But in truth, he's always had this natural confidence and coolness. I believe those characteristics made him a star, not the other way around.

What is your cat’s favorite human food snack? Richard is not allowed to eat human food, which he knows, but he has a thing for Cheetos and will sneakily try and paw one for himself when I'm not looking. He's somehow figured out how to open drawers. He also likes knocking drinks over—not so that he can drink them, but just to watch the mess spread and then watch the show continue as I clean it up.

Which figure do you think your cat best relates to and why? A)   Astronaut B)   Cowboy C)   President D)   Airline Attendant Richard has lived with other animals and it's mind-blowing to watch the cat and dog social structure basically revolve around him. Richard is a magnetic leader. If he had a show, it'd be Everybody Loves Richard.

What is your cat’s favorite pizza topping? I refuse to go in on pizza with him anymore because he does that annoying thing where he just picks off the toppings. He's a "meat-lovers pizza while watching Orange is the New Black" type of guy.

What is your cat’s favorite Beatles album? St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. We argue about whether Lennon or McCartney's sections were better on "A Day in the Life" every time. Then he starts bagging on Yoko, which upsets me because I love her and think she's misunderstood. Then we agree that John and Paul created magic together. We pet it out and move on.

What is your cat’s favorite ’80s cartoon? Richard's got his orange bits and wants to think he's tough, so he can't get enough of Heathcliff. He likes to watch The Golden Girls with me, too, though.

What is the strangest facial expression your cat can make? Do you have a name for the expression? This is more a behavior that accompanies an expression: Richard loves to stare while humans shower. Sometimes he'll sit right on the tub ledge to ogle with a close, unobstructed view. I'm totally serious. He gets a concerned, focused expression that I call: "Peeping Tom Cat." I was disconcerted for a minute but then found out that watching people shower is, apparently, a common cat quirk.

If your cat were to be best friends with another animal, what would it be? A) Dog B) Monkey C) Pig D) Another Cat E) Your cat in a mirror F) Stuffed Animal His best friend is our other cat, Toshi. Toshi was a street kitten when they met, so he's always looked up to Richard. Richard soaks up the intense affection. They cuddle and groom each other like soul mates.

Your cat’s favorite resting place: A)   Your Lap B)   Couch C)   Window Sill D)   Cat Bed             I'd modify this to "human bed" (although in his mind that's the same as "cat bed"). He's a guilty bed hog.

If your cat could talk, what would it whisper into your ear before you fall asleep at night? "No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing." —King Lear

Illustrator: Scott Zaragoza at scottzaragoza.tumblr.com and instagram.com/artisttocs.