YouTube Changed My Relationship With My Pets
By Kristen Flowers
What do Lil’ Bub, Grumpy Cat, Boo and Colonel Meow all have in common? If you said they are pets made famous on YouTube then you are correct but if you said they are all pets that made their owners an obnoxious amount of money then you get the bonus point.
Chances are that if your a pet owner or just a lover of animals you have seen some of these pet stars in action. What was suppose to be just a quick five minute break away from your work turned into an hour long search-fest of the cutest animals on the video site. You’ve seen Lil’ Bub’s tongue dangling from it’s mouth, Dramatic Chipmunk made you giggle and maybe you even bought some of Grumpy Cat’s numerous merchandise off her very own website. Then you have probably looked into the faces of your very own furry friends and said, “Why can’t you guys do that?”
After reading a story about Grumpy Cat’s owner being a struggling waitress turned millionaire I was sold. Pets equal money, so I decided to put my plan into action. I was going to turn my three cats into YouTube stars then sit back and collect the paychecks.
I lured them into my plan with the promise of some tuna treats and while they were eating observed them carefully. Who was going to be my money-maker? Was it going to be Killer? My 10-year old Tortoiseshell colored cat with as much sass to her as her name can muster? Could it be Calie? My white, brown and black colored Calico who slammed head first into a glass pane as a kitten and has since been a little“slow”? Or would Gilligan be the breakout star? As the only male and newest to the family, this orange and white monster of a cat has proved to be most playful and affectionate of the bunch. I couldn’t decide on one so I figured all three of them doing something cute would probably be YouTube gold and pardon my expression, break the internet.
My boyfriend and I got to work, grabbing a bottle of bubbles I began to breathe a heavy dose of the soapy stuff into the air while my guy laid on the floor to catch the action on his camera phone. Gilligan caught sight of them and immediately leaped into the air and swatted at them showing off his enormous leg muscles quite like a tiger catching it’s prey. Killer hopped from her place on the carpet and bit them with such precision that she popped multiple bubbles with one sharp bite. Calie kind of just sat there and let the bubbles pop on her back but I’m sure in her mind she thought she was doing something ferocious.
This exercise went on and on until the cats grew tired. The bubbles soon held no interest for them and they settled down for a nap. With what we thought was enough footage we plopped on the couch to review our video. Surely something adorable would stand out and that would make people share it with all their friends. The idea of “going viral” bounced around in my brain much like the bubbles that my three house cats stalked and attacked. Quickly we learned that our lighting was terrible, the angles were all wrong and you could see my Superman pajama pants in the corner of the shot. Disappointed but still hopefully we tried again the next night. This time we made sure that the shots were perfect. We even used the slow motion capture on our phone to really heighten the drama.
Still, at the end of the bubble popping extravaganza we didn’t find anything worth putting up on the internet. I looked around the room. What are we missing? Some of these other videos were filmed on worse cameras, in horrible lighting and with junk thrown all around their houses. Why did our videos not seem to stack up. It was during this analysis that I saw our three little balls of fluff sprawled out on the floor and sleeping soundly after two great nights of exercise.
Looking at them made me realize that they didn’t care what our intentions were, they were just happy that they captured our attention and had been played with. The original goal to have my cats make money for me fell flat but I was okay with that. The three of them were stars in my world and that’s all that mattered. At the end of the day I realized that these little things were only going to be on this earth for a short period of time and it was my job to make sure that I give them a comfortable home and some love when they need it. Will I grab the camera again if one of them starts kicking their legs during a dream? Of course, but the reason for these short videos have changed, they are so I will always have the memory so I can relive it again and again.