Why the Creative Force Behind a 9 Million Follower Instagram Account is Not Your Typical Cat Mom
Kady Lone (@kadylone) is no rookie to the world of internet cats. Not only is she the creative mastermind behind @cats_of_instagram (which currently boasts a whopping 8.9 million followers), but she’s also mom of sassy Insta celepuuurrity @pudgethecat.
Pudge’s bio may be “I’m a girl and my mustache is better than yours,” but trust us—she’s way more than just a cute face. Charity projects, DIY craft videos, and a successful merch store are just a few of Pudge’s accomplishments. In 2016, she even scored a role in the comedy film Nine Lives, brushing tails with household names like Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner and Christopher Walken.
Needless to say, we’re honoured to have Kady and Pudge as guests at meowfest 2018, where they will be hosting a meet-and-greet. With just shy of five months until the event, we reached out to Kady to chat about Cats of Instagram, her dream celebrity collab, and how little Pudge has changed her life in big ways.
meowfest: What is the coolest, weirdest, or most surprising part about being the mom of an Instagram-famous cat?
Kady: It’s always bizarre to me when the subject of [having] an Internet-famous cat comes up [with] a stranger and it turns out they know of or follow Pudge already. In general, I try to avoid the subject of having an internet-famous pet. One time I was at the dentist, having the usual “What do you do for a living” conversation while the dental hygienist had her hands in my mouth…eventually I surrendered and said I have a famous cat. She was like, “No way, which one?” I said Pudge, and she told me she’s already following Pudge. The attention I’ve gotten as her owner is pretty weird too—like the [PAPER] article I was in that was about “all your favorite internet-famous pets are owned by hot people.”
It’s really cool to experience everything that comes with her fame…being able to travel and meet people that know everything about my cat thanks to social media. Before Pudge became famous I was so introverted and terrified of public speaking, and it’s really amazing to see how different I am now thanks to having to speak at events and give interviews. [Her fame] has affected me on a level much deeper level in this way.
mf: Speaking of fame, what’s your dream celebrity collab with Pudge?
K: I think it would be adorable to collab with Doug the Pug [@itsdougthepug]. Pudge is basically the pug version of a cat, so I think they'd speak each other’s languages. But again, we've been able to meet so many of my idols already, such as Pusheen...maybe a Hello Kitty collab would be my childhood dream come true.
As far as brands go, I feel like I've been really blessed to have some great ones reach out to Pudge, and I try to only work with ones that are truly genuine to [Pudge and I]. Like recently we worked with IKEA and I was so pumped because the majority of my apartment is furnished by IKEA. The remaining would have to be CB2, so maybe that would be a dream brand to work with in the future.
Oh, I'm also really trying to make a Coach + Pudge happen some day ‘cause I love Coach.
mf: Does Pudge have any funny quirks or habits that only you get to see?
K: I don't think her fans have ever seen her do her post-poop crazy run through my apartment. All cats do it, right? Or—this is something I've talked about—I don't think I've ever captured her morning sneezes. She just did the most epic one this morning. If she isn’t spooning with me under the covers, she generally sleeps at the foot of my bed through the night. When she saw me waking up, she walked up to my face—literally one inch away—and she sneezed straight into my face. A nice even mist across my entire face. It's her way of [waking me up to] feed her, lol.
mf: Anything else fans of Pudge might be surprised about?
K: I feel like they already know everything! That's the power of posting on social media all the time, right? Like, one time I was doing a meet-and-greet and chatting to a mom who [had] obviously [been] dragged there by their kid and found it bizarre that a cat could be a celebrity. She brought up something about cat treats and her kid interjects before I can even respond, “Pudge doesn't like cat treats.” I just thought, Daaaaaaaang, good job.
I do still get a LOT of Pudge fans being surprised to hear that I also do Cats of Instagram though!
mf: Is running Cats of Instagram a full-time job? How do you and Eli [COI’s founder] divide the work?
K: Cats of Instagram is definitely a full-time job; so is Pudge. A lot of my time spent working on COI includes sorting through the thousands of new submissions we receive every day, organizing them into queues for posting onto our page, and then switching posting days back and forth with Eli [@eomidi]. For the longest time we'd just both try to post every few hours and we ended up stepping on each others toes all the time, posting at the same time. Then one day we were like, Wait, there's two of us...let's switch off days.
Outside of that, [I will handle] graphic design. Anything from assets for posting on our page, the website, our store and [signage for events like meowfest], to anything that's needed from brands we partner with. In the past this has included designing assets for campaigns with brands such as Warner Bros, when we promoted the Keanu movie [through] our book and calendar published [by] Chronicle Books. The book was a big project...there were 400 photos published in the book, but I ended up having to curate over 1,000 photos for consideration.
[For] every project COI undertakes, [Eli and I] try to split work evenly. For the book, I curated the photos, and he reached out to people to get their approval and appropriate documents signed. That's the way a lot of our work gets divided—I take on a lot of the design, while Eli [takes] on a lot of the business. We both curate and publish the content that is posted on the page, we just try to split up the work to favor our individual strengths.
mf: Okay, one last question! We have to ask—what are you most looking forward to about meowfest?
K: Being back in Canada! And we’ve never been [to Vancouver], which means we get to meet a bunch of new fans. It’s so great to be able to make it out of the States [so that] some of [Pudge’s] international fans get to meet her.
Also being with some good cat friends like [@nala_cat] again! We've become such good friends with other famous cats, and it's always so much fun to participate in events like meowfest together.