Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our November/December 2016 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.
Since she started showing up on Instagram in 2011 with amazing photos, 6-year-old Pudge has accomplished a lot: videos, magazine cover stories, charity support, and a role in a major motion picture.
She’s the very first cat belonging to Kady Lone, a graphic designer and lifelong dog person in Minneapolis. When she gave a cat a shot, she lucked out with this laid-back, friendly, dog-like Exotic Shorthair.
“I guess I did pretty well,” she said about picking out Pudge.
And being a cat person turned out to be pet parenting as usual, except for one thing.
“The fact that this all happened, this entire thing, Pudge being famous,” Kady said. “Having a cat isn’t what surprised me, but having an internet-famous cat is what surprised me.”
Pudge gained attention gradually as Kady shared photos of her on Instagram, at first once a month to show how the tiny calico-patterned kitten had grown.
“Every fifth day of the month I’d take a picture,” she said. “She was just so cute.”
Pudge started out at merely a pound and a half at age 2 months when Kady first got her. Then she began growing, mostly in the fluff department.
“It was the 4-month picture of her when I decided to finally name her Pudge. I took this picture of her and when I looked at it on the computer she looked like she weighed 10 times as much as she does in person. She still has that effect on people when they see her in person.”
In 2012, lots of lucky people got to see the barely 8-pound Pudge in person. The two attended the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival, where fans began to fall further in love when they saw her in the fluff. Lil BUB was in town for the occasion, and a film crew shot footage of the cats meeting each other for what became the documentary Lil BUB and Friendz.
“It all just sort of grew exponentially,” Kady said of Pudge’s even higher profile afterward.
By 2013, she pursued DIY projects in a series of cute, crafty tutorials for the Discovery Channel called Pudge It Yourself. That’s the year when Pudge started starring in Vine videos on her account as well. Over the next couple of years she continued to charm and meet fans in person, at events like the Edmonton International Cat Festival and CatConLA where she held meet-and-greets with fans, raising money for charities like FixNation, and keeping calm and Pudging on throughout.
“Most cats wouldn’t be chill like this,” Kady said of Pudge’s demeanor in the thick of things. “She’s just very laid-back.”
Car trips and visits with family socialized the young kitten into the relaxed cat she is today. Which is good, because it doesn’t look like she’ll be slowing down any time soon.
This year, she appeared at CatConLA and pawed through the filming and premiere of the movie Nine Lives. It stars Kevin Spacey as a man who turns into a cat (good move) alongside celeb cats Nala, Waffles, and Lil BUB.
Last summer she teamed up with these fellow famous cats to support Best Friends Animal Society & Lil BUB’s BIG Fund for the ASPCA. The supergroup of Lil BUB, Nala, and Waffles held a photo shoot, and proceeds from those who wanted to join went to help cats in need.
It’s a lot for a little cat to take on. But Pudge is resilient and buffers any stress with all that fur. We hope to see even more of her and, at the rate she’s going, we just might.
Want to see more of Pudge? Visit her social media accounts.
About the author: Anastasia Thrift’s “job” is to find interesting cats online and share stories and photos of them for CatChannel.com. She’s written about pets and their people for 10 years, working her way up the food chain to cats. Neighborhood cat, Killer, ate on her front porch for a year before reluctantly letting her bring him indoors. Follow Anastasia on Twitter at @ThriftT.