I’m going to start this blog with some photos, because I’m also linking this to the YouTube post, and I want people to be able to see that my cats are not quite as fat as they look in the video. It’s upsetting my daughter and husband (they’re not used to negative Internet comments–I’ve been reviewed on Goodreads. I’m totally set here.) and I wanted to maybe calm people down that my cats are not beyond the beyond. For my regular readers, you get the full story after the photos.
Walter, the black and white cat, is twelve. He’s had two near-death runs, and he has almost no teeth. We had three cats die of cancer in 2010-11 (we had five then, we have four now) and he and another cat are the only survivors. He’s a friends and family favorite, but because of the teeth we have to supplement with soft food. We use Wellness, but yes, we’ve noticed the weight even coming back on him (which is actually a relief, as he was very thin in 2011) so we’re going to talk to the vet about the best low-cal option for him. We have an appointment Tuesday in fact. On Walter a lot of what you see is loose skin. He has an “udder” as we call it: he’s old, he’s been up and down, and apparently he wants to complete the cow look.
Glinda. Yes, Glinda is a chunky monkey. She’s not quite as bad as it looks in the video, but she’s decidedly round. The thing is, we can’t figure out why. We don’t put out that much food, and we never see her eat. I’ve actually worried there might be something else going on with her, which is again why the vet visit. So it’s okay to call our cats fat, and I’m working on Dan and Anna to not be so sensitive about it, but trust me. The Cullinan cats live like kings and queens.
As promised, though, here are some photos of Glinda and Walter that hopefully show they aren’t quite as grotesque as their Internet rumors.
So those are our cats. They’re really okay, I promise. And I told the vet if she could help me figure out how to keep Daisy from being a rail and still get Glinda down to fun sized, I’m game.
For regular readers, here is the story of why I had to post the above.
Yesterday my daughter was gone to her grandparents, and I had the whole day to work. I knew I needed it, because I was plenty stuck. I looked forward to the long expanse of silence to wrestle with the muses and finally get my agent the synopsis she’s been wanting. I did not wrestle with the muses, because of this.
Monday night before going to bed, I sat with my husband in his office, when suddenly we realized Glinda and Walter were having a staring contest. We laughed. We took pictures. Sensing A Moment, I started the video on my phone. We cracked up, and I thought, I’m sharing this with friends and family.
Except I am a lazy person, and when I clicked the “share” button on my video, it gave no Facebook option, only YouTube. I thought, okay, sure. I’ll post it to YouTube and share the link. Maybe a couple people will get something out of it. I posted it to YouTube, then to Facebook. I shared it to Twitter. I went to a real computer, added some tags, and shared it with my fan page on FB too. Dan put it on Reddit. We went to bed.
I woke in the morning to a message from Storyful wanting to manage our video. I forget how many views it had at that time–maybe 800? It was a nice note, but my first thought was unease. This is the YouTube channel where I have my book trailers. What would this agreement do to them? So I had to email my agent and say, “Um, so there’s this cat video…”
While Sary looked this stuff up, I received more media requests. And more. And more. I began to feel stressed, because now it was noon and I hadn’t written A WORD or had my nice silence to think about anything, plus there was GRL stuff to decide, and meantime the cat video hits kept climbing. Eventually we sorted out it was clear, and I signed with Storyful, though as I told them mostly it was so people would stop sending me media requests. That and my husband and daughter wanted the ad money, because I said they could have it for their Breyer/vinyl fetishes. I have absolutely no idea how much if any money a YouTube viral cat video can make. All I know even at $10 it would be the most I’ve made in 20 seconds in my life.
Because as of my writing this post, the video has 52,000 hits. I woke to my Facebook full of people telling me it was on CNN. It was on the Huffington Post yesterday afternoon. Break.com tried to buy it but because of the Storyful agreement they couldn’t. It’s already been scraped, though the Storyful people assure me any views still go to us. It’s crazy. It makes me laugh my fool head off, because here I have been killing myself to raise the profile on my books, and the cats steal the show. Typical, actually.
The most fun part for me has been our friends and family on Facebook, but above all my child. Monday night everyone was LOLing and shaking their heads because they’ve seen these two in person, but last night our friends were having a contact high because THEIR friends kept sending them links to the video, and they were able to say, “I know, they’re our friends!” Or, “That’s my daughter-in-law!”
My daughter, however. She, as I have said, is a budding YouTuber herself, and she is in fact off right now building barns and trying to make her filming environment more authentic as to draw more viewers to her Breyer videos. I keep texting her to let her know where it’s at (She could look herself, but I think she likes the thrill of the text) and she always responds with OMG!!! Or when I told her Good Morning America was interested: OMFG!!!!!!!!! I”m sure now she’s actually excited to go back to school next week and tell her friends her cats are Internet sensations.
For me, it’s been fun but a little weird. I’ve been parsing attention or “fame” for some time now on a much, much milder scale, and the fact that this all began with me having to have business discussions with how to make sure I didn’t screw anything up inadvertently with the ad rights definitely put a different spin on things. It’s also been interesting to see how my family reacts to very, very public exposure. I saw the negative comments and thought, “Oh yes, there it is,” because it’s not real art until someone hates it, I always say. But for my husband and daughter, that was someone being mean to our cats. I tried to explain, but I also realized that’s just a hat I’ve been comfortable wearing. Yep, when you’re playing in a public pool, shit happens.
The great irony of course is that in no way will even a million hits on that video translate to books sales. Maybe a handful, but no. Most people won’t click through to anything at all, and even if they do, they’re still not necessarily going to buy a book. Even if they actually click on the link about the cats and read this blog post. This is just a moment about our two silly cats. And that’s fine, especially if Dan and Anna get a bit of mad money out of it.
Walter and Glinda? They’re so over this shit. Because this is them right now.
(The notes on the board are testament that I got a LITTLE muse-wrestling in yesterday.)
I think the cats are the best object lesson. This was just another fight for them. Just another day in paradise. They don’t care, at all, about being on CNN or Huffington Post. This is a human convention: a fleeting, odd moment of whatever. I’m still writing, Dan still has to work tomorrow, and Anna has school next week.
We have to put cat food in the dish tonight too, fat cats or no. Because trust me. We’ll hear all about it if we don’t.
But this is the story of how instead of writing I sold twenty seconds of cat footage. I hope you enjoy the cat stare down. We certainly do.