| Christian Fahrenbach |
NEW YORK (dpa) – Grumpy Cat is not only the worst-tempered feline in the world, but also the most successful. The cat with the unhappy expression has gone from being an Internet sensation to a TV star.
The TV movie “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” recently broadcast in the United States tells the story of a girl who discovers the famous cat in a pet store and finds she can communicate with it. The cat of course doesn’t much like anything.
The cat with the downturned mouth that makes it look permanently unhappy has proved a bonanza for its owner, Tabatha Bundesen. The animal first came to prominence in September 2012 when the Bundesen’s brother posted a picture of it on Reddit.
Bundesen puts the cat’s grim expression down to “feline dwarfism”. Although the animal’s real name is Tardar Sauce, it quickly earned the internet moniker of “Grumpy Cat” as pictures of it with humorous captions quickly went viral.
The cat has long had a manager, Ben Lashes, and he takes the business seriously. Two books on the cat made the New York Times bestseller list and according to New York Magazine, over 100,000 T-shirts bearing the cat’s face had been sold by the end of 2013. Plush toy versions of the animal sell for around 15 dollars and there are also stickers, socks, colouring books and even “Grumppuccino” coffee.
More than 10,000 Grumpy Cat-related products are available on Amazon and the cat is the official “spokescat” of a US pet food brand.
As well as Grumpy Cat, Lashes manages other internet phenomena such as Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat, Scumbag Steve and Success Kid. “I always want to make sure that these things are handled just like any other entertainment brand,” he says.
Despite the publicity, Tabatha Bundesen strives for normality for herself and the cat. The two-and-a-half-year-old feline only goes before the cameras once a week. Exactly how much Bundesen has earned from the animal is unknown. In mid-2013 – before the coffee line, the second book or the TV movie – the Washington Post estimated that it was a six-figure sum.
Bundesen says she is happy that the cat’s fame means she can enjoy the advantages of celebrity life – such as going to the MTV Awards – without being chased by the paparazzi herself. The cat, after all, is the star.
When asked if she is the owner of the cat Bundesen gives a standard reply: “She is the owner of me.” Grumpy Cat no doubt would respond with a word such as, “Horrible!”