The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

February 5, 2013

Internet cat stars scratch the surface for fame

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

In November, Friskies gave a lifetime achievement statue to angsty existentialist Henri, le Chat Noir, at the brand's own awards ceremony and donated 250,000 cans of cat food to shelters around the country. Henri, the troubled Tuxedo, won another statue in Minneapolis and will soon begin a collaboration of food-focused videos with Friskies.

Oh, and Henri's putting out his first book in April.

Roly poly Maru, the megastar in Japan with millions of views for nearly 300 videos since 2007, has three books and a calendar, among other swag for sale. The squishy-faced, often blissed-out Scottish fold who loves boxes and bags was used by Uniqlo when the Japanese brand launched its San Francisco store in October. Maru chose boxes, called "Lucky Cubes," stuffed with giveaways for human contest winners.

Not to be outdone, Simon's Cat, a funny feline in a series of line-drawn animated videos out of London, has a book and an online store, as does Henri, who lends his fame and some of his dollars to cat charities.

Even the funny faced Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, coughs up some bucks to animal welfare groups, while captions for her still photos fly around the Internet and she sells T-shirts off her website. She put out some videos after her existence as a living, breathing and not digitally altered feline was questioned, according to her site.

So why cats?

Cats are fluffy and unpredictable and usually kept behind closed doors, which lends them allure and appeal that other common pets — I'm talking to you, dogs! — don't seem to have when it comes to vapid, funny or deranged video. At least that's what cat fans think.

"Cats are going to do what they want to do and that's one of the reasons that we love them," said David Kargas, a Fresh Step spokesman who worked on Catdance.

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