You’re getting a double dose of online cat action today as we profile a couple of kitties who came from rescue roots at Philly PAWS to become social media darlings. Their names are Olive (a calico) and Rye (a tortoiseshell), and their Instagram account is an elegant peek into their lives.
Adopted by their humans on the same day, Olive overcame an eye infection and the trauma of dealing with a stillborn litter to bloom into the cat she is today, while Rye’s audition at the shelter cast her as “a very scrawny little tortie with a very big mouth.”
Here’s everything else you need to know about these girls and their story.
What’s Olive like?
“After her first week home, Olive started to really blossom,” says her human. “It seemed quite clear from her first months she was grieving her lost litter, as she was always mothering Rye.
“Olive also didn’t seem to know quite how to be a cat. She was afraid of jumping up on anything, she never meowed, and she often wagged her tail when it seemed she was happy or excited, just like a dog.”
To this day, Olive is still said to be a little awkward, but has learned valuable lessons in the art of being a cat from Rye.
Speaking of whom …
When it comes to Rye, her human says she’s “the sweetest and most gregarious cat I have ever met.” On a day-to-day basis, that means “every touch, move and look is punctuated with a trill or a tiny meow.”
While she’s a bold kitty at heart with an enthusiastic play streak, Rye is also a fan of downtime.
“Rye has plenty of kitten left in her but she was never hyperactive,” says her owner. “She prefers to curl up in your lap or on your chest with her paw on your hand rather than run circles around us.”
A snug combination
Talking about the relationship dynamic between these two cats, their human says, “Since Olive has gotten past the period of mothering Rye and Olive is emboldened from watching Rye’s antics, they’re on more of an equal footing.
“They do love to fight and wrestle and chase each other around the house,” she adds, “but they also love to sleep snuggled together, especially in the cold winter months.”
Fans of the duo’s Instagram account will recognize their trusty red cat bed.
Stepping into the spotlight
While Olive and Rye’s human is a professional photographer and designer, she says that at first she was wary about taking too many photos of them because of the crazy cat lady stereotype. Due to the kitties’ animated adventures though, she relented and set up their own Instagram outlet.
After being warmly welcomed by the online cat community, she was encouraged to “make our account into a positive and fun thing.”
These days, Olive and Rye’s nearly 50,000 fans enjoy “the comedic scenarios we depict and the positive vibes and the friendships that have sprung up as a result.”
Keeping it artsy
Olive and Rye have inspired their human to create a line of custom cat portraits and accessories. Sold via Etsy, a portion of proceeds goes to Philly PAWS. Obviously, Olive and Rye are the masterminds behind this artistic venture, and they can often be found helping out their human by “art-directing from my lap as I work.”
There is a haunted bed
If you skip through Olive and Rye’s Instagram videos, you’ll notice repeated footage of the former kitty engaged in heated battles against that most heinous of foes, the bedding. (A version set to Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam” also exists.)
“Olive gets very excited by fabric!” explains her human. “She loves socks, flappy sweaters, towels, sheets, rugs, you name it.
“Making the bed is a big cat event at our house. Every kitty takes part, but Olive is more into having the sheets tugged underfoot while Rye prefers chasing a hand under the sheets.”
Flat cats rule
The phenomenon of flat cat versions of real life cats is popping up all over Instagram — and Olive and Rye are no different, having been honored with paper versions of themselves.
“Olive rarely gets startled and she was completely unfazed by FlatRye and FlatOlive,” says her human. “Rye, however, seemed to immediately recognize FlatOlive and tried to antagonize her just as she does to the real thing when they’re playing. This has happened on multiple occasions.”
Upping the finicky antics, “Rye never reacts to FlatRye, only FlatOlive — and usually by punching her in the face.”
Hover on over to Olive and Rye’s Instagram account to get your daily dose of their capers.
About the author: Phillip Mlynar writes about cats, music, food, and sometimes a mix of all three. He considers himself the world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats.