Monday, August 19, 2013

CAT FRIDAY: Entrepreneur cats, a Monday special edition

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 2:07 PM

It might be a little disheartening to consider, but there are many cats in the world with more friends/admirers than most of us will ever have in a lifetime. On the bright side, many of these cats are using their fan-power to do more good than to increase their cash flow, by raising awareness and money to support other less fortunate animals. As part of that, these cats have created veritable business empires that initially became successful because of their irresistible adorableness or heart-wrenching stories. Then again, cats do rule the Internet, and these cats are climbing (clawing?) their way up the ladder of corporate America.

One of the obvious front runners of the cat business empire is none other than LIL BUB, the tiny, polydactyl cat hailing from the great state of Indiana. If you don’t know who BUB is yet, get out of here. (JK, go to her site here!) BUB’s had a web store since she basically became famous as a kitten, and fans can buy everything from BUB baby onesies and adult BUB tanks and tees to BUB mugs, totes, magnets and soon; LIL BUB’S LIL BOOK, out on Sept. 3. But let’s be real, BUB’s business success isn’t just about her, she donates a portion of all sales to animal shelters across the U.S. and continues to be a tireless advocate for adoption and spaying and neutering pets to prevent overpopulation. In the words of her Dude, GOOD JOB BUB.

On the other hand, there’s the outrageous business enterprise of Grumpy Cat. While we’re not here to diss on anyone, Grumpy’s taking things to the next level by trademarking her name and launching a line of iced coffee drinks, called the Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino. We're serious — click the link. But hey, this cat is more business savvy than you’d expect. The website features a comparison chart of how the Grumppuccino stacks up to Starbucks' bottled Frappuccinos. Want to find Grumpy’s signature pick-me-up at your local store? A campaign on the site lets fans/coffee lovers tell Costco, Target and Walmart that we want Grumpy! While it’s certainly a little bit silly that Grumpy’s owners are using her likeness to sell iced coffee, if faced with a choice between that and Starbucks in a check-out lane cooler, the cat person in all of us would probably go for the bottle with a Grumpy cartoon on the label.

Let’s not forget, though, that Grumpy’s business empire doesn’t stop at coffee. She and her humans have also launched a Grumpy Cat book and the Grumpy Cat Photo Bomb app for iPhone. 

Closer to home and just across the Cascades, two special kitties we’ve featured in previous installments of Cat Friday have also been working hard to help raise money to support animal rescue organizations through a similar online venture. Seattle’s Oskar and Klaus — the former was born blind and stole hearts all over the world with his kitten antics on YouTube — and their owners started where they sell snazzy handmade “feline wearables,” cat toys, organic cat nip, treats, t-shirts and more bearing their cute likenesses. A portion of the proceeds from all sales are donated to three cat rescues around the U.S., chosen by the pair and their owners for their special ties to the organizations.

Oskar, left, and his "brother" Klaus run their web store out of Seattle. 

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Chey Scott

Chey Scott is the Inlander's Editor, and has been on staff since 2012. Her past roles at the paper include arts and culture editor, food editor and listings editor. She also currently serves as editor of the Inlander's yearly, glossy magazine, the Annual Manual. Chey (pronounced "Shay") is a lifelong resident...