Cristiano Ronaldo (515 million followers), Justin Bieber (455 million), Selena Gomez (425 million) and Ariana Grande (429 million) were 2021’s top social media influencers according to Visual Capitalist.
They are the leaders of a large group of people who have or want to be successful at gaining the trust of others to push their personal brands, what products to buy and sharing their knowledge or position on various topics.
On Instagram, Jiff the Pomeranian (10.4 million followers), Nala Cat (4.4 million), Doug the Pug (4 million) and JUNIPER & FRIENDS (3 million) were 2020’s top pet influencers per InfluencerDB. That’s right, pet influencers.
These animals don’t care about the dynamics of being social media influencers, but their owners sure do.
Besides being cute and cuddly, pet influencers are money-making behemoths. Jeff the Pomeranian is worth $56 million according to Go Prism, thanks in part to appearing in Katy Perry’s video, Dark Horse and the ability to walk on either his two legs or paws.
With that type of income, it should come as no surprise that pet owners are looking to cash in on their fur babies. A survey of 2,000 cat and dog owners found that one in four of them have created a social media account for their pet according to ManyPets, cited by SWNS Digital, among others.
These stage pet mothers and fathers are spending an average of $1,163 per year on various items to support social media content for their animals according to a survey of 1,425 Americans commissioned by LendingTree.
Put another way, 28% of owners spend money on their pets for social media sites according to Lending Tree.
That investment is paying off for some.
Pets with more than 1 million followers can bring in $10,000-$20,000 per post compared to $7,500 for a human, according to PetKeen. Between 1 million and 100,000 followers, a pet can generate $1,000-$9,000 and below 100,000 followers, up to $500 a post.
Our cat Chester, whose ego was already expanding faster than the universe, wanted in on becoming a social media phenom after I mentioned these facts to him.
“I could buy a lot of kibble with that type of money,” Chester said, quivering with excitement.
“You already get kibble for free from us,” I reminded the cat.
“True,” said the tabby. “But I only have three followers and they all live in this house. I could use a few million more if I only had a platform to show how cute I am.”
“You’re pretty good on the computer,” I said, not wanting to get involved in his plan. “Why don’t you start your own site?”
“Because I don’t know how to take a selfie or work a video camera and I need your dopy help,” our maudlin cat wailed.
“My usual response is to go on the internet and look up how to do that, but there’s no reason to bother since you need thumbs,” I said. “Last I checked, you don’t have any.”
“Come on,” shouted Chester. “Look at all these pet influencers, they don’t look special to me. What do they have that I don’t?”
“They have owners who are obsessed with their pets and themselves, unlike me,” I said. “Besides trying to make a few bucks off their pet, they spend too much time grooming and accessorizing these animals.”
“What’s wrong with that,” countered Chester.
“Probably nothing since they do take good care of their pets,” I confessed.
“My theory is it’s an attempt to gain followers through their pets, something these owners couldn’t do on their own,” I added. “It’s narcissism on steroids.”
“As for you Chester, just keep licking yourself. That’s all the grooming you need and I’m not spending money on a new wardrobe for you either. If you need clothes, which you don’t, learn to sew.”
“Remember that lack of thumbs thing,” Chester reminded me.
“Don’t you want to make some money off of me,” Chester slyly purred.
“Who’s going to pay to watch you sleep all day,” I asked.
“I’m adorable when I sleep,” my self-aggrandized cat said.
“So is road kill depending on the final result,” I said hoping that would end this conversation.
“You’re taking pictures of road kill,” Chester inquired. “I have to see your Facebook page.”
“That was a joke cat,” I snapped.
“I could pretend to be dead if that helps,” Chester suggested as he tried to keep his dream alive.
“Don’t tempt me,” I said.
“Of course, I need to be photographed wearing my best drop-dead gorgeous accessories. No pun intended,” Chester chortled.
“Stop,” I pleaded.
“I’m ready for my close-up Herr Direktor.,” my suddenly fluent in German cat said.
So, I fed the beast. Click, post, run.
And later, coming to a screen near you, Jackass: The Chester Version.
Social media has no bounds.
In the immortal words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief.”
You are home, you have a laptop, you have a cat, you’re trying to work from home on your laptop; what could go wrong?
Suddenly, your carefully crafted report is followed by the sentence, aq[0jb’psda[0urf 309qr095r097949F229!($+&. Is it possible your furry friend has come to an amazing summation that no human could conceive? Could this lead to the promotion you want or the firing you dread?
You try to extract the meaning of this garble from your cat who just stares at you. Maybe it is communicating through telepathy but you just don’t have the mental prowess to connect.
You search the internet for answers to aq[0jb’psda[0urf 309qr095r097949F229!($+&, but find none.
Meanwhile, your cat has decided to lay across your keyboard to take a nap. Work is hard.
Now you can’t use your laptop and Puss in Boots isn’t giving up his secrets to solving your company’s sales issues.
Why is your cat such a pain in the ass?
The answer is you.
Sure, cats like the warmth of a laptop or the higher vantage point it gives them to better see their surroundings, but the real reason they jump on your keyboard is because they want your attention.
You have made the ultimate mistake of connecting with your pet. What were you thinking?
Your purring Persian, meowing Munchkin or chilled out Chartreux just wants to hang out with you for some scratching and petting time.
They don’t care that you’re under deadline pressure to crank out the second-quarter earnings report for your employer. And when you accommodate your cats with their desires, you only reinforce that sitting or typing away on your laptop is a great way to get more attention.
As usual, your kitty has gotten what it wants; you.
Trying to explain to your feline the implications of not finishing your work on time isn’t going to be successful. Your little friend only cares about one thing, itself.
How can you stop your cat from interfering with your work?
“You can break the habit by providing the cat a comfortable and desirable place to settle that is next to you while simultaneously reinforcing and rewarding him with affection and attention when the cat is sitting or lying [in that spot],” Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant and author of Naughty No More: Changing Unwanted Behaviors Through Positive Reinforcement, told Reader’s Digest. “At the same time, discourage him from hanging out on the keyboard by making it an uncomfortable place to sit and difficult to access.”
To make it “uncomfortable” and “difficult” for your cat, have it use an Excel spread sheet to calculate your business’ P&L statement. If your accountant of a cat types out a sophisticated and well thought out document, your job just got a lot easier. Be sure to keep quiet about your new business partner and humbly accept your promotion.
On the other hand, if tabby types a bunch of typos rendering its summary a piece of junk, then you can berate him for not understanding the concepts of the cash and accrual methods.
Cat owners who are in this computer predicament sometimes buy a toy laptop for their pet to distract it from bothering them while working. This doesn’t last long. When kitty isn’t able to watch cat videos on YouTube, the jig is up and he or she will rejoin you on your device.
If you think the company ID tag on your computer indicates it’s your machine, that ends when your pet rubs up against it to scent mark it as his or her own. Then it’s back to more aq[0jb’psda[0urf 309qr095r097949F229!($+& messages and hopefully a paw doesn’t hit the send button.
The closest we’ve had to experiencing this with our cat Chester, is when my wife, Genifer, is working with her laptop while laid out on the recliner. One of Chester’s favorite places to nap is to stretch out on my wife’s legs, but under the laptop. She gets to work and Chester gets his nap with a warm electronic blanket on top of him. Ditto for when she’s on our desktop computer. Chester cozies up behind her in the chair and chills.
Bottom line – isn’t it nicer to have your cat like you by wanting to be with you while you’re trying to work instead of hating you and destroying your expensive laptop?
Taking a few moments to pay attention to your cat and get your head out of your computer induced coma is a small price to pay. Both of you will feel better.