We Talk to Morris, the Original Celebrity Cat
Long before celebrity cats like Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub, Morris the cat ruled over legions of cat fans with his signature snark and sass. Rescued from a California shelter, the orange tabby with personality to spare is a legend. Before Internet cat videos, Morris entertained via TV commercials as the spokescat for 9Lives cat food, starred a movie, wrote three books, and campaigned to be elected president of the United States in 1988, 1992, and 2012. He has gone through a few of his nine lives and is back bolder, brassier, and sassier with one thing on his mind: helping cats.
Layla Morgan Wilde: You are the original celebrity cat, with a long legacy of being an advocate for cat adoption. What is your #1 tip for anyone thinking of adopting a cat?
Morris: Get ready to give a lot of love and purrfection -- I mean, affection. Adoption is a great way to go. Shelters have many wonderful cats that are looking for loving homes. After all, I myself was rescued from a shelter, which is the main reason I started Morris’s Rescue Watch and am advocating for adoption.
Orange tabby cats like you are popular but black cats are the least likely to be adopted in the U.S. and yet they are considered lucky in other countries. How do you feel about black cats?
Tabby cats, black cats, white cats, blue cats: All cats deserve to live well.
On your Facebook page, it says your birthday is Nov. 2. How old will you be and are you planning any special celebrations?
Well in cat years, and considering each of my 9Lives … it’s complicated. Does age really matter when you look great and feel great? But, oh yes, there will be celebrations! My birthday is practically a national holiday!
Do you have a girlfriend or BFF?
I don’t mean to brag, but I have several thousand BFFs. We keep in touch on Facebook. A few of my BFFs are becoming internet stars -- check out their videos on Morris's Rescue Watch.
Other celebrity cats like Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub are special-needs cats but you are not. What do you feel the public needs to know about adopting special-needs cats? And what do you think of Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub?
Understanding your cat’s special needs is the key to ensuring that they live well. Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub are great cats, and they’ve proven that their needs aren’t the only things that make them special.
Your fur looks healthy and well-groomed. What are your beauty and health secrets? Do you recommend wellness vet visits?
You’re making me blush! I’d like to think I’m naturally this handsome, but let’s face it: All cats, even me, need regular check-ups. I definitely think a balanced diet is essential for a healthy coat, but I can’t give away all my secrets.
What is your favorite toy, game or form of exercise?
When I’m not taking cat naps, watching cat videos, and answering fan mail, I have to admit, I enjoy a good game of “Cat and Mouse” with my family.
Cats are now the No. 1 pet in America. Why do you think cats are culturally hot?
I hate to take all of the credit, but -- you’re welcome.
You are the spokescat for 9Lives brand cat food. Tell us about your partnership with ASPCA to help cats in need.
Before I had a loving home and celebrity status, I was adopted from a shelter. Over the years, I’ve made it my mission to help cats everywhere live well. That’s why, together with 9Lives, I’ve partnered with the ASPCA to lead Morris’ Rescue Watch. Humans love watching cat videos, and who can blame them? Now, every time they watch a video on Morris's Rescue Watch, I will donate one meal to a shelter cat in need, up to one million meals! My friends seeking Internet stardom can also upload their own video. We’ll choose three winners to receive a year’s supply of 9Lives cat food and a $3,000 donation to the shelter of their choice.
Follow Morris on Facebook to keep up with his good works.
About the author: Layla Morgan Wilde is a holistic cat behaviorist, an award-winning writer/photographer and founder of the premier online magazine Cat Wisdom 101. A passionate advocate for cats, she founded the Toronto-based Annex Cat Rescue in 1997. In addition to her blogging at Cat Wisdom 101, she blogs at Boomer Muse, contributes to Petfinder.com and Nordic Spotlight. Wilde is a professional member of the Cat Writers' Association. She lives in Westchester County, NY with four cats.