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.

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents - By CHRISTIANN PRIYANKA

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.

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