The integrity of cute animal influencer culture has, we regret to inform you, gone astray. Where we used to elevate ordinary cats and dogs based on their strength of personality or their ineffable charisma, we’ve now become obsessed with nothing more than looks. It’s appalling. The dream every tiny kitten and puppy is born with—that they could make their owners wealthy if they worked hard enough to gain a solid Instagram following—has been replaced by a culture of vanity.
Consider Coby, a cat that’s made more money than he knows what to do with (crinkly toys and tuna treats only cost so much) simply by virtue of being dubbed the “World’s Most Beautiful Cat.”
A BuzzFeed Video interview with Coby’s human entourage details the story of his rise to fame, which started with him being adopted from a breeder (obviously he had genetic advantages from the start) and growing from a boringly adorable kitten whose personality they really liked to a full-grown internet superstar. His owners point out that, as he matured, he developed natural “guy-liner”—black lines that enhance his expressions and frame his intensely blue eyes.
Once one of his owners started to post photos and videos of him, the world flocked to Coby. Marketing deals and legions of fans were soon drawn to him, eager to celebrate his feline supermodel appearance and reward it with lots of money. His owners say it’s more important to them that Coby is “loyal and sweet” than anything else, but we know that’s not why he’s enjoyed such success. It’s the looks. It’s his most superficial aspects that have made Coby a star.
This forces us to ask ourselves questions we hoped would never need to be asked. Has the cat influencer world lost the plot? Have we become such a vain society that only a beautiful cat can hope to ascend to superstardom? What about all the smart, funny, talented cats? What about all the cats studying their craft and crossing their claws for an opportunity to break through with an Iam’s or Purina commercial awarded to them not because of their good looks but because they really nailed the audition?
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