While attending a cat-themed film festival here in San Francisco a while back, I met the one and only Lil BUB.
Now, I’ve spent enough time in major cities to encounter my fair share of celebrities. I’ve seen folks ask for photos, I’ve seen people beg for autographs, and I’ve seen a close friend act like a schoolgirl with a crush while chatting up a Hanson Brother. But never in my life have I seen a group of adults positively melt the way they did when Lil BUB entered the room.
I definitely got it. Lil BUB was this absolute angel; 22 toes, floppy tongue and all. I hadn’t felt this sort of love for a creature I didn’t personally know since I saw a photo of a very inebriated Paris Hilton scaling a fence in high heels and a mini dress back in 2007. I realized that looking at pictures of cats online has sort of filled the void in my cold heart that I once reserved for celebrity gossip.
I wondered who is more famous, celebrities or cats? I took to Instagram to try to figure it out based on an advanced algorithm: Looking at who got a greater number of “likes” on carefully chosen photos.
“The Hoff vs. The Teeth”
Unless you grew up under a rock, you can probably conjure up a visual of Baywatch babe David Hasselhoff running in slow motion at the drop of a hat. (I’ll be ready, I’ll be ready!) Are you as familiar with New York-based feline Princess Monster Truck? The 10.8k Instagramers who have deemed her fantastic chompers more likable than The Hoff’s glamour shot sure are. It seems that the masses prefer furry-bellies on kitties to furry-bellies on former fake lifeguards.
“Fox(x) vs. Cat”
Actor-slash-singer-slash-wonderboy Jamie Foxx is the winner of every prestigious award. Seriously, name an award. He has it. (He also happened to win my heart — alright, and an Oscar — for his role in the 2004 film Ray.) Roku is a cat who claims to, “eat rainbows and poop butterflies.” Still, Roku’s “like” count is just a hair behind Foxx’s — even when the actor is paired with fellow actors Kerry Washington and Regina King. Try wearing a teeny-tiny kimono, Jamie Foxx! Roku is gaining on you!
“Heiress vs. Hipster”
Paris Hilton, my girl. The hotel heiress who originated the trend of being famous for being famous (unless you count Angelyne) is still looking good. This woman can pull together an unsettlingly coordinated outfit like no other. It’s a close call, but those boots with the fur still aren’t enough to beat the ever-dapper Hamilton the Hipster Cat — further proof that even if you have billions of dollars to spend on a wardrobe, nothing’s trendier than a mustache.
“The Voice vs. The Face”
Any pop music fan from the ’90s worth her glitter body spray worships singer Mariah Carey. She was sent to Earth to grace us with her fillet cut of a voice. I can tell you with complete sincerity that her 1994 hit All I Want For Christmas Is You is my favorite song, and I’m a Jew. It’s no wonder that she’s neck and neck with Instagram celebricat Lil BUB. It just goes to show that even an artist with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame can’t out-Instagram BUB’s absolutely. Precious. Face.
“Diva vs. Deadpan”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever practically shattered a kneecap trying to re-create Madonna’s moves from her “Lucky Star” video. Great. Same. I honestly couldn’t believe that the insanely popular musician was so many “likes” short of Grumpy Cat (High five, Grumpy Cat!). Yet the Internet has spoken. Even a 37-year stint as a musical legend isn’t enough to beat Grumpy Cat’s, well, grumpy face.
“Lovable vs. Lovable”
Full disclosure: I only very recently found out about Nala, the insanely popular Siamese and tabby mix. When I did, I petted my phone’s screen and said things like “Who’s a pretty lady?” and “I’m going to be your new mommy!” Now, Mindy Kaling is a genius writer and hysterical comedian that you’ll probably remember from shows such as The Office or The Mindy Project. But how many times have I pet a screen and promised to find a way to adopt her? Zero. Case and point: Her 43.3k “likes” aren’t even close to Nala’s 79.6k.
So there it is. Who’s more famous online? Cats (mostly). And BUB (especially).
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About the author: Laura Jaye Cramer is a freelance writer and ballet dancer based out of San Francisco. When she isn’t busy tending to her sweet little cat baby, she can be found drooling over artifacts in a museum, building a shrine to Dolly Parton, or eating a trough of guacamole. Stalk her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.