Cats socialize on Internet
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Cats make most of the Internet and get fans from all around the world thanks to their owners.
The Internet has become a haven for cats, as nearly every day another feline becomes an international phenomenon online. Cats like Maru, Cooper, Mawin Hope and Grumpy Cat are among the world’s most famous, while Kedi Zihni and Kedicik Arda are the most prominent Turkish cats.
“Sometimes I think I should just forget it all and go, but then they give me some wet cat food, so I eat it and have a snooze.” This is the motto of Turkey’s acclaimed Internet cat, Kedi Zihni.
Zihni is a male Chinchilla cat owned by a screenwriter and creative director couple living in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş neighborhood. Zihni’s online “commentary” on current events and developments in oftentimes humorous language has earned him a dedicated following of nearly 14,000 people on Facebook. Cat lovers who discover Zihni are hard-pressed not to follow him as well, as the social media-savvy feline boasts thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter.
Though Zihni says “my most dedicated follower is my tail,” he also has a big fan in Kedicik Arda, a male Iranian cat living in Germany.
Arda, who goes by the moniker “bubble head,” appears more naive than Zihni, wanting nothing to do with current events and opting instead to regularly send his love and kisses to everyone commenting on his photos. He also comments on almost all posts by Zihni. While Arda has a more international following than Zihni, only around 900 people are following his Facebook page, a number he hopes to increase.
The manipulative powers of Instagram have become another influential force in the online networking world for cats. Snoopy Babe, Nala Cat and Mawin Hope, a shelter cat residing in Thailand, are among the most famous felines of Instagram.
Mawin Hope has 256,000 followers and counting on Instagram. One fan said, “These cats always put a smile on my face because they are so ugly cute. If I ever get a cat I want a Persian cat like these.”
The 3-year-old Siamese and Tabby mix Nala Cat is another internet phenomenon reveling in her fame. “My owner adopted me from the shelter when I was 5 months old,” she said, “Thanks for all the likes, comments and follows.”
The exotic Snoopybabe, however, is more of an enigma. Despite having 154,000 followers on Instagram and an army of fans on tumblr, she has maintained her privacy, refusing to answer questions of which breed she is, opting instead to demurely thank her fans for their comments.
Some cats have taken their newfound global access to an entrepreneurial level. Maru, a male Scottish Fold cat from Japan, has gone from rags to riches, transforming a hit YouTube channel into lucrative television spots.
Maru’s anonymous owner launched the photo blog “I am Maru” in November 2007, five months after the cat was born on May 24. He quickly made a name for himself in the YouTube community on his official channel, “mugumogu,” launched almost a year later in July 2008.
An advertising star
Featuring Maru’s daily adventures in short video format, the playful footage of him mostly lying around, jumping into small cardboard boxes and sliding across his owner’s wooden floor quickly gained popular momentum.
On Sept. 1st, 2009, the first Maru book of photos was published in Japan. Over a year later in August 2010, a second book and compilation DVD were released. Maru’s acting career soon took off, with his videos being featured in web advertisements for the cat litter brand Fresh Step as well as other commercials for products on the Japanese market.
Hatice Utkan and Beril Aktaş have contributed to this article.