Sometimes you just need a cute and furry break from the endless string of horrific news headlines and depressing scientific findings on your social media feed (so wine isn't good for your heart after all? Sigh). That's why it's so nice to be able to browse the many beautiful, funny, playful, and just downright adorable cats of Instagram for an instant mood-lifter and an assurance that there's still some good left in the world.
Savvy cat owners have used their pets to create Instagram pages that appeal to thousands, even millions, of viewers worldwide. Some kitties have gained fame for their expressive faces (how can you resist the popular Lil Bub?); others have won followers with their striking coloring, regal attitude, inspiring personal stories, or their dignity in the face of owners who dress them in silly getups.
The most successful are able to become major influencers by partnering with retail brands to have their pets photographed with food products, toys, and other animal-related items. Many have their own lines of merchandise; the world-famous Grumpy Cat is available as a stuffed toy, puppet, cat toys, and other memorabilia.
Owners often use the profits and the publicity to promote a worthy cause. Mike Bridavsky, owner of Lil Bub, has donated more than $200,000 to animal charities since his wide-eyed kitty became a viral sensation. And sometimes it's the fans who get involved: When Mr. White, aka White Coffee Cat, developed kidney cancer, followers flooded his family with well wishes and donations.
These are some of the most popular cats of Instagram today. You probably follow at least one already, so you might find more to add to your follow list. (And when my own cat becomes the next Insta star, she promises she won't let it go to her head.)
Step aside, everyone: Nala currently holds the Guinness record for the living cat with the most Instagram followers, according to People. That's 3.7 million feline fans, if you're counting.
"Small but mighty," according to her Insta page, this rescue cat with the bug-eyed face you can't help loving has become a viral sensation and an ambassador for pet adoption. You can even buy watches, tote bags, calendars, and more with her likeness on them.
Venus the Two Face Cat
Dubbed "the coolest Instagram feed" by no less an authority than I Can Haz Cheeseburger?, Princess Cheeto cheerfully poses for fun artsy shots, and prints of her have been displayed in art shows from coast to coast. The rescue kitty has also appeared in ads for major brands, such as Target and Smirnoff.
Hamilton the Hipster Cat
Coby the Cat
More than a million followers can't get enough of Coby's stunning blue eyes and snow-white fur. Coby is so mellow that he'll even consent to being dressed in a Hawaiian shirt.
Smoothie the Cat
Nicknamed the "Queen of Fluff," Smoothie seems to know how photogenic she is. She's also featured in a YouTube video in which she and best pal Milkshake try to retrieve an ice cube.
It's hard to believe that this cutie had trouble finding a home as a kitten. Now Waffles has more than 600,000 Instagram followers and nearly 2 million Facebook fans.
Amazing indeed. Like Venus, Narnia's face is split into two different colors, and both sides are equally striking.
White Coffee Cat
This beautiful boy is not only an Instagram star, he's also the "brother" of Nala. Coffee is a cancer survivor who's doing well today.
A rare condition called hypertrichosis causes Atchoum's fur to grow longer than the typical Persian's, but that just endears him to his 300,000-plus admirers. Atchoum also has his own Facebook page and has been featured in print and online publications.
Sam Has Eyebrows
Yes, he does. And the perpetually quizzical look they give him makes Sam a perennial Instagram favorite. Found abandoned near his owners' home, he now lives a life of ease and tomato-eating.
A female calico with a mustache to rival Hamilton's, not to mention a deceptively sour puss, Pudgethecat is actually a sweetheart whose page shows her napping in the bathroom sink, enjoying a rub behind the ears, and responding to the question "Are you hungry?"
A self-proclaimed "adventure cat," exotic-looking Suki has nearly a million followers who love to see pictures of her outdoor travels.
Cole and Marmalade
The newest Instagram star, Luhu looks permanently sad as a result of a congenital condition, reported People. But his owner, Maggie Liu, assures fans that the boo-hoo Luhu is actually a playful kitty who enjoys a happy life in China with two other cats.