Dita Von Teese is the burlesque icon with an entrepreneurial streak. This you might know. But did you also know she has a distinguished Devonshire Rex cat named Aleister? Well, it turns out that Aleister is becoming quite the Instagram star, with his profile now counting more than 50,000 inquisitive fans who check in to get updates on his suave comings and goings.
For those yet to be swayed by Aleister’s charms, here’s Dita talking about her kitty’s relationship with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, his obsession with kitchens, and the origins of his batty nickname.
Aleister came into Dita’s life back in 2003.
“I had given my fiancé at the time, Marilyn Manson, a white Devonshire Rex kitten, and we fell in love with the breed,” she recalls. “So a year or so later he got Aleister for me.”
At that point the Von Teese household was hosting quite the menagerie: “Eventually we had four Devon Rexes, plus my two Dachshunds that I had for many years before that. I love animals and can’t imagine not having them around.”
Regarding Aleister’s personality, Dita calls him “exceptionally social and brave.” She adds that he loves to travel with her on tour and happily lounges in hotel rooms.
“He’s even been backstage with me when I am doing burlesque shows,” she says. “He’s not afraid of anything, and he’s extremely lovable with everyone. Sometimes too lovable, like with service people that come over; he wants to know everyone, and sometimes people aren’t into cats.”
When it comes to visitors, Aleister is happy to take the company of Hollywood’s elite.
“One time Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt came over,” recalls Dita, “and Angie was a little freaked out by him, perhaps because he was in that batty-leather kitten stage, molting like Devon Rexes do sometimes.”
Respite came quickly, though: “Brad liked Aleister … and rescued Angie from his aggressive affection.”
“Aleister always comes to the door when I come home, like a dog would,” says Dita, asked about the dynamics of their relationship. “He has these amazing expressions, and he’s so tolerant of everything; he loves being picked up, cuddled, and kissed. He engages with children, plays fetch, and loves to spoon with me under the covers. I have had a lot of pets but there’s something extra special about this cat.”
If you’ve followed Aleister’s career, you’ll have picked up on his natty nickname: The Bat. According to Dita, “When I got him, his ears were huge and he didn’t have much hair, just grey leathery skin, like bat-wings. He was very batty.”
Dita adds that when she and Aleister lived in Paris, she also dabbled with calling Aleister the “chouette-souris,” which roughly translates to “owl mouse.”
“I kept noticing French people using the word ‘chouette’ to express that something is cool,” she says, “and then I asked my French beau how to say ‘bat’ in French, which is ‘chauve-souris,’ so I started calling him the chouette-souris because he does have owl eyes and he’s cool.”
As any responsible cat owner knows, it’s imperative to come up with a theme song for your kitty. In Dita’s case, she called upon Aleister’s collection of bat-themed monikers for inspiration.
“All my friends know this stupid tune [about Aleister],” she says. “My friends are all bat-obsessed; it’s ridiculous, really. The thing is, I had always been kind of a dog person until Aleister.”
If you’ve visited Aleister’s Instagram account you’ll know this is a cat with something of an obsession for the kitchen. Countertops are there to be strutted along, and even the stove can act as a handy resting spot. At the moment, Dita says he has become partial to taking up a role as a “sink sitter.”
Aleister is also something of a crafty gourmand: “He loves to join for mealtimes by sitting in a vacant chair at the table. He’s developed better table manners than he had when he was a kitten. He used to smack the food off the fork mid-bite. One time he stole and dragged a whole chicken across the kitchen floor all the way to the living room.”
Officially, Aleister’s Instagram bio introduces him as “Dita Von Teese’s Devonshire Rex cat and art mews.” To that end, he’s become quite the photographed feline.
“My friend the famed photographer Ali Mahdavi did a major photo shoot of Aleister in Paris once,” says Dita. “It was with a full team, with hair stylists and everything, which was a surprise for me — Mahdavi was cat sitting for me.”
“He’s also been painted lots of times by Marilyn Manson,” she adds, “and more recently, he’s been painted by David Downton, Olivia, and Donald Roberston of Instagram fame. There’s a lot of fan art of him, too. My beau has done a few portraits of him, and we put those on T-shirts for his fans. He’s been photographed for many fashion magazines, too.”
Visit Aleister’s Instagram page to enjoy more pics of this distinguished Devonshire Rex.
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