Rosie and Milly are two of the world’s foremost beer cats. This means they enjoy checking out new craft beers while sharing their discerning (or disinterested) opinion of the brews to the world through Instagram photos. Cheers to that, as they say.
With a little help from Caroline and Nick, the Dallas-based humans behind the Cats On Tap social media accounts, here are some facts about the burgeoning beer cats movement.
Rosie was adopted by Caroline and Nick back in 2013 from a no-kill shelter. She was one of five kittens in a feral litter that was rescued ahead of a large Minnesota snowstorm.
“Since Rosie was a feral kitten, it took time, patience and a lot of treats to coax her from out under the couches to trust her humans,” says Caroline. “After a few weeks, Rosie matured into a very curious and playful cat.”
Milly joined the brood about a year later. After Milly’s pregnant mother wandered into a friend’s house, she was taken in without anyone realizing she was with kittens. Once Milly popped out, she was scooped up and joined Rosie at what was soon to become Beer Cat HQ.
While Rosie and Milly are known as beer cats, it turns out they were both named after notable female scientists. In Rosie’s case, Caroline says she’s honoring the work of Rosalind Franklin, who budding biologists will know as “an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose contributions led to the discovery of the structure of DNA.”
As for Milly? She’s named for Mildred Dresselhaus, who Caroline explains was “an American physicist and engineer whose research led to advancements in carbon-based materials utilized routinely in modern day technologies.”
Now back to the beer stuff.
The official records show that Rosie’s first ever beer-cat photo was taken with the Nebraska Brewing Co.’s Romancing the Cone IPA in December 2013.
“The humans had just poured the beer into a fresh pint glass on the kitchen counter when Rosie jumped on top of the barstool to investigate,” recalls Caroline.
Photobombing ensued and so the Cats On Tap social media empire was launched.
As for Milly’s beer cat credentials? She began formal training when she was 15 weeks old and claimed her first beer-cat picture with some New Glarus Moon Man pale ale.
“Since Rosie was the first beer cat, Milly takes her cues from Rosie and patiently waits her turn to investigate the new beers,” adds Caroline.
“Rosie and Milly are well-trained beer cats,” says Caroline. “We never ever allow our cats to consume any alcohol. They are allowed to investigate new beers through sight and smell, but never taste nor touch the alcohol.”
When it comes to investigating a new brew, a good beer cat is said to “stop, smell and then appreciate the volatile aromas.”
Caroline adds, “The best beer cat pictures are of cats genuinely interacting with the beer and passing honest judgment in true feline form.”
If Rosie and Milly were allowed to conjure up their own signature Cats On Tap tipple, Caroline speculates that they’d plump for an IPA or a pale ale that’s been brewed with the combination of catnip and mosaic hops.
The next step in the fermentation alchemy is a little more — ahem — personal: “Similar to Rogue Ale’s Beard Beer, we would like to use a wild yeast strain cultured from the fur from either Rosie or Milly to impart that beer cat chemistry and spirit into a magical elixir that’s irresistible to humans and their beloved beer cats.”
Being a beer cat isn’t all sniffing out new brews and hamming it up for the Instagram lens — there’s also the responsibility of maintaining your beer fort and showing it off on Beer Fort Fridays.
Crafted out of a cardboard box from your favorite brewery, a good beer fort should be “decorated with stickers and teeth marks to make it unique,” Caroline says.
She adds that the beer fort should be cozy enough for a beer cat to hide and nap in, while also being sizable enough to “house the craft beer treasures.”
And for the advanced beer cat?
“A fort castle can be constructed from multiple beer boxes secured together.”