AROUND THE WORLD
Who knew that animals would one day rule the world? Maybe not yet. But judging from the followers these furkids have amassed, that day may not be far off.
Five Insta-famous pets (and their paw-rents) reveal how they garnered such massive followings.
COBY THE BRITISH SHORTHAIR CAT (@COBYTHECAT)
With mesmerising blue eyes and a natural winged liner that would strike envy in even the best makeup artist, Coby the three-year-old British Shorthair cat from San Francisco is one stunning feline. With 1.2 million followers on his Instagram account, Coby has garnered a dedicated fanbase that just can’t resist his stellar good looks and personality.
Rebecca Schefkind, an art director and Coby’s paw-rent, didn’t expect her furkid’s Instagram page to become famous so quickly, but she attributes its success to Coby’s dashing good looks and personality. “He stands out with his big, blue eyes and knows how to work the camera. He’s really quite the—forgive the pun—meow-del,” shares Rebecca.
Although Coby is often gifted treats and toys, his paw-rent reveals that running an account as popular as Coby’s is no walk in the park. “It’s definitely a full- time job, outside of my full-time job,” explains Rebecca. She and her boyfriend brainstorm photo and video ideas during the week, and execute the shoots on weekends. However, Rebecca also always keeps her camera on standby, in case of fur-bulous photo ops.
Each post averages tens of thousands of likes. Interacting with Coby’s fans is also important to his huge following. Hence, Rebecca tries to respond to as many comments on Coby’s posts as possible.
MANNY THE FRENCH BULLDOG (@MANNY_THE_FRENCHIE)
He’s met Snoop Dogg and Steve Aoki, helped a couple get engaged during one of his meet-and-greets, and is the author of Manny the Frenchie’s Art of Happiness. This adorable French Bulldog has possibly achieved more in his seven years of existence than most of us have in a lifetime.
When Amber Chavez and her fiance
started taking photographs of Manny, it was just to share among friends and family. “I had just started my own Instagram and saw a few animals with accounts. We thought it would be funny to post Manny’s pictures and craft first-person captions,” she says. Manny’s Instagram account was not an instant hit; it took over a year for Manny’s page to garner a 10,000 fan following. Now he’s got over 1.1 million followers. “It’s crazy to think how many people know Manny and actually care about him,” Amber shares. “People all over the world recognise his pictures or his ‘talking’ videos. It’s the coolest thing!”
More than just being an Instagram superstar, Manny also gives back. Through the Manny & Friends Foundation, he has helped to raise funds for various animal and human charities and foundations.
VENUS THE TWO-FACED CAT (@VENUSTWOFACECAT)
Venus is literally a two-faced cat. Born with a mien that’s half-black and halforange, the nine-year-old cat has taken the Internet by storm due to her unique appearance.
Venus’ online popularity started long before her Instagram debut. “I started an Instagram for Venus after a photo was posted in Reddit—unbeknown to us—by a stranger,” says Christina. People were debating on whether Venus was born the way she was or if the image was the work of Photoshop. Realising that Venus was creating a buzz because of her looks, Christina started a Facebook page for the feline before venturing into Instagram, which now has a 1.4 million-strong following.
“I always knew she’d likely go viral if I shared a photo of her, but it was never my intention to bring her into the public eye,” Christina says.
Venus’ Insta-fame can also be attributed to the positive tone of her posts. Christina uses the platform to raise awareness about animal health, rescue, and the importance of pet sterilisation. She also spends hours interacting with Venus’ followers daily.
“It’s very uplifting when I see comments or messages from young people who have a little more courage to face the world with their uniqueness because of Venus,” Christina says.
ATCHOUM THE PERSIAN CAT (@ATCHOUMTHECAT)
Perhaps the most striking feature about Atchoum the four-year-old Persian cat from Quebec, Canada is his long, unruly fur and his intense amber eyes. Atchoum was born with hypertrichosis—a rare hormonal condition that causes abnormally fast and excessive hair growth on the body. In Atchoum’s case, this unique condition has blessed him with over 302,000 followers on Instagram.
Nathalie Côté, Atchoum’s paw-rent who is also a retired pet groomer, never expected his Instagram account to get so popular. “My daughters told me at the time that Atchoum would not even have 100 likes on his (Facebook) page and that I was the only one to find him cute,” Nathalie recalls. While Atchoum was getting some attention on Facebook, his following on Instagram didn’t spike until @cats_of_instagram reposted his images.
Being as fur-mous as Atchoum obviously has some perks—he receives gifts such as toys and cat products. But it’s not just about fame. “I receive private messages from people telling me that he’s been a ray of sunshine since their pet passed away or brought joy to those who are sick or depressed. I believe that Atchoum brings comfort, which is why I continue to publish posts everyday,” says Nathalie.
HAMLET THE PIG (@HAMLET_THE_ PIGGY)
She’s sweet and has quite the sartorial sense. Hamlet the pig isn’t just adorable, she’s also a therapy animal for her paw-rent, Melanie Garcia, who now runs the four-year-old pig’s Instagram account full-time. Melanie was diagnosed with epilepsy in college and suffers from seizures—Hamlet helps to protect and comfort her.
Hamlet’s fun personality is what truly brings her Instagram page to life. She can often be spotted in her hot pink convertible or in colourful wigs and sunglasses. The sassy pig has over 331,000 followers and that number continues to climb.
Melanie started Hamlet’s Instagram page shortly after the cute porker arrived in Melanie’s home four years ago. “The growth in Hamlet’s followers took me by surprise. My friends and family started tagging their friends and it just snowballed from there,” says Melanie. These days, Hamlet is so famous, she gets to travel and receives endorsements.
However, at the heart of it all, Hamlet is a pet that heals. “She is more than an Instafamous pet to me,” Melanie says. “Hamlet is able to recognise precursor signs of my seizures and will keep me safe by laying on my legs, even squealing at me.” Hamlet has helped Melanie through several rough patches in her life, so her paw-rent hopes Hamlet can do the same for her followers.