Celebrity Cat OwlKitty Got her Start at CAT
As Colin Hanks, Miley Cyrus, and just about anyone in the Baldwin family knows, sometimes you’re just born into stardom. Such is the case for OwlKitty.
OwlKitty made her Internet debut as newborn kitten Sequoia while in the care of a CAT foster parent. But it’s the creativity of her new family that has skyrocketed OwlKitty (aka Lizzy) to celebrity status.
OwlKitty’s Origin Story
When Olivia Boone, Tibo Charropin, and their eight-year-old tabby Juliette relocated to Portland from New York City three years ago, they felt as though their home was missing something.
“I had kitten fever,” Olivia shares. “I started searching for a kitten but it was the middle of winter so no shelters had kittens. I just kept searching and that’s how I found the Cat Adoption Team.”
Olivia and Tibo began following a CAT foster account online. At the time, foster volunteer Shelby Thorpe—known on Instagram as @fosterkittenlove—was caring for six kittens and their mother cat.
“It was such a beautiful litter,” Olivia says, “but there was only one black kitten.” That single black kitten, Sequoia, caught Olivia’s eye. Over the next few weeks, she fell more and more in love with Sequoia. “We got to see her grow up in videos and real time, which was amazing.”
When the day came to sign up to visit the kittens for adoption, Olivia was determined to be first in line.
“Before I left for work that day, I told Tibo: ‘Treat it like Star Wars premiere tickets. I want you to get us on that list… she [is] ours, so make it happen,” Olivia recounts with a laugh.
Make it happen, he did. After meeting with Shelby, Licorice, and the litter, Olivia and Tibo pre-adopted the tiny black kitten. They brought her home a few weeks later. Once she was officially part of their family, the couple changed Sequoia’s name to Lizzy. But because of her pear shape, round face, and big pupils, they often referred to her as an owl, which led to her stage name: OwlKitty.
OwlKitty’s Rise to Fame
OwlKitty’s first post went up on her dedicated Instagram account in November 2018. Her third post went viral, receiving 82,000 views and getting shared on Bored Panda, a pop culture media site. From there, her videos have become a sensation, cropping up on numerous news sites and thousands of social media accounts.
What started as simple videos of Lizzy (and sometimes Juliette) just being cute, has evolved into full-on film productions. Creating a makeshift studio space in their kitchen, the couple even goes so far as to set up a green screen to capture Lizzy in action for her feature films.
Just like any other young cat, Lizzy is full of energy and loves to play with toys. Olivia and Tibo harness that playfulness to create the popular OwlKitty videos.
“We use a lot of toys when we have her in front of the green screen. That’s how we get a lot of reaction shots. We just edit the toys out.”
From there, Tibo—a professional filmmaker—works his magic to place his superstar feline in beloved scenes from movies and TV shows. You’ll find OwlKitty in clips ranging from Jurassic Park to Game of Thrones. Recently, she even made an appearance at the 2019 Oscars. With over 60 posts already, you’d think Olivia and Tibo would run out of ideas. So far that’s not the case.
“We see what the cats do and how they act,” Tibo says. “We try to find a thing that’s relatable to everybody and then come up with a movie. Like, ‘Oh cats always slide on the hardwood floor. What movie does that?’ These things kind of write themselves. We also get a lot of ideas from fans.”
OwlKitty Gives Back
With more than 180,000 followers on Instagram, Lizzy and her family have created a unique platform to share the importance of cat adoption, and to raise funds and awareness for feline causes.
“Every cat we’ve ever had has been a shelter kitty first,” Olivia comments. “We definitely want people to know that every cat is magical and has this potential to be a star.”
When Olivia and Tibo discovered Lizzy suffers from feline asthma, they learned the condition is not uncommon but the costs of an inhaler and other treatment can be quite expensive. With OwlKitty’s internet presence, the family hopes to raise awareness about pet medication costs and how to care for cats with asthma.
In the future, the couple also hope to educate followers about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, and also help rescue organizations raise money to support their efforts.
Want your own OwlKitty? See cats and kittens available for adoption from CAT here. (Individual cats’ interest in Internet fame not guaranteed!)