Animated show Ray & Clovis stars a guitar-playing Iguana and a blue-hued kitty billed as the “incredibly cheerful yet endlessly frustrating roommate.” The brainchild of the Theory Animation studio, the shorts are inspired by vintage Bugs Bunny flicks from Warner Bros.
For National Cat Day (which is today, Oct. 29) the animators are producing a special episode devoted to felines across the world. Naturally, Clovis steals the spotlight in this one:
Taking time out from putting the finishing touches on Ray & Clovis‘ National Cat Day offering, I spoke to Theory Animation’s David Andrade about this odd couple’s backstory, Clovis’ Maine Coon heritage, and the curious case of a meowing bear.
Catster: Where did you come up with the idea for an animated show about a cat living with an iguana?
David Andrade: The original inspiration was from Evan Detwiler, who’s our writer and director, and it was a concept that he came up with in animation class years ago. He pitched it to our production company about three years ago and we really liked the old-school wittiness and the slapstick nature of it, so we decided to take it to the next level and turn it into a series.
Why did you make Clovis a Maine Coon cat?
Evan is a big fan of horror and Stephen King has many of his movies taking place in Maine, so with the Maine Coon being the cat of the area, that became Clovis. Also, his name comes from a fictional cat in the horror movie Sleepwalkers, which was based on a screenplay by Stephen King.
Which of Stephen King’s books or movies would you most like to see Clovis making an appearance in?
Oh, man, The Langoliers — that freaked me out as a kid! You’re in an airplane and suddenly everything disappears …
How would Clovis react in that sort of situation?
It’s a tough situation but because Clovis is such a young ball of energy; he would find so much fun in it. Like, “Hey, now I get to pilot the plane!” That’s kinda his character — he looks on the bright side of everything.
In the animation show Clovis and Ray live together. How did that come about?
The truth is, Clovis comes from a family of big entertainers, and he plays the drums and Ray needed a roommate and wanted to start his new band. They found each other by being lovers of music; Ray plays the guitar and Clovis plays the drums. So with every episode we try to reveal a little more about their background and how they met up.
How did Ray and Clovis get involved with National Cat Day?
Every month we make an animated short, and we initially just do it for fun, but when Evan mentioned National Cat Day was coming up, we all agreed it was a good idea. We started researching cat facts, and I started outreaching to people to see if any organization wanted to be part of it. The longshot was National Cat Day itself — the people there really enjoyed it and we decided to make this a thing together.
How will Clovis be celebrating National Cat Day?
Clovis will be showing off all his furry friends. We have a lot of fans on YouTube and Facebook, and about a hundred of them have sent in photos of their cats, so Clovis is going to be trolling the Internet posting cat pictures all day.
And how does Ray feel about the whole National Cat Day thing?
He’s still upset that National Iguana Day [September 8, lizard fans] is still not as popular as National Cat Day, but his big hope is that this will also raise awareness of iguanas. Ray is more of a reading-type anyway so he’d probably stay at home and just hope that someone cares about him.
The National Cat Day short has a joke about Ray wanting to adopt Clovis out. How would Clovis react to a new home?
Clovis would be the cat that is always begging for attention, the cat that is always near you when you’re eating, and the cat that is always near the food bowl. Maybe you’re just walking by the food bowl because you have to pick something up from the fridge, but Clovis will be there waiting. He’s always giving you love and attention, but he’s always excited and hungry.
What do you hope people get out of watching the National Cat Day special?
Our target audience is 6-to-12-year-olds, so we’d like them to learn a few things about cats and also get them turned on to shelters and adopting in general. My wife is a veterinarian so maybe there’s a bit of a PSA in this, but there are a lot of cats in shelters, and we don’t want to make it heavy-handed, but if a kid who watches this short goes on to adopt a cat, that would be awesome.
When you were researching the National Cat Day episode, did you come across any crazy cat facts?
There are a lot of interesting things about cats, but the one that got us the most is meowing. There’s a lot of back and forth about meowing: A lot of people say that cats meow when they’re fighting; some people say they only meow to humans and they don’t do it in the wild. Meowing is just so synonymous with cats that you can’t imagine them not meowing. But here’s another crazy thing: There’s a certain type of bear that meows! Just like a cat! It’s the craziest thing — it meows exactly like a cat. We might actually write this into a future episode …
You can check out Ray and Clovis’s pro-adoption Cat Facts episode over on YouTube.
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