Photographs courtesy of Pookie Methachittiphan
With slightly-crossed child blues, stubby legs, and pinkish-black jellybeans, Nala has pawed her method into the hearts of 4.3 million individuals — incomes the Guinness World Document for the Most Popular Cat on Instagram.
The ten-year-old, Siamese-tabby combine was additionally named TikToker of the Year and nominated for a Individuals’s Alternative Award. Nala has constructed a burgeoning enterprise empire that features her personal cat meals model named Love Nala. She additionally has her personal customized merchandise, together with T-shirts, espresso mugs, iPhone instances, and DIY cardboard cat homes.
Nala has endorsement offers with Bissell, Friskies, Paw CBD, Hulu, Litter Robotic, and many others. Whereas she makes an estimated $8,683 per sponsored submit, she wasn’t at all times Instafamous.
Nala’s story started at Castaic Animal Shelter in Castaic, California, roughly 40 miles from Los Angeles.
Varisiri “Pookie” Methachittiphan, a Grasp of Enterprise Administration scholar, stumbled throughout a five-month-old kitten. “Though I by no means meant to undertake a cat that day, once I noticed Nala, I couldn’t resist her large blue eyes,” she says. “As soon as I had Nala in my arms, she regarded up at me and licked my face. I knew it was meant to be.”
When Nala — who’s named after Simba’s finest good friend in The Lion King — turned two years outdated, Methachittiphan began her Instagram account. “I needed to share her with household and shut buddies in Thailand,” she says. “I hoped to have 500 followers on the time.”
Nala had one of many first cat accounts that posted minimally-edited photographs with captions of issues her followers imagined she’d say. “Individuals mentioned, ‘Her face appears to be like like a cartoon character. She doesn’t appear to be an actual cat,’’ Methachittiphan says.
Each time Nala landed on Instagram’s “Fashionable” web page, now referred to as Discover, her account would acquire 1,000 followers. “I used to be overwhelmed with the response and started to appreciate she had one thing particular right here.”
When Nala reached 75,000 followers, Methachittiphan acquired a direct message from Shannon Ellis, who needed to make “cutie pie cupcake” a customized bow tie. When Nala hit one million followers, Ellis reached out once more to congratulate Methachittiphan. They struck a deal to promote her bow ties in Nala’s Shopify retailer.
When Ellis delivered them in particular person, the 2 fell in love. “Nala introduced us collectively,” Methachittiphan says. They’ve been married for 5 years and have adopted two children, 5 different cats, and one canine — all of whom are web well-known, together with Stella and Steve, Spencer, and Apollo.
Out of the Limelight
“The adoption papers mentioned that Nala was very candy and pleasant. She’s very candy. But when I need to cuddle together with her, I can’t simply hug her. She has to come back to me,” Methachittiphan says. For Nala, days are all about sleeping and leaping from field to field. Like all up to date cat, she additionally enjoys enjoying with a cellphone simply as a lot as a teaser wand.
When she’s not snacking on chicken-flavored liquid snacks or in “zen” mode, she principally plays by herself. “Plastic wrap is her jam and bathroom paper rolls are her life,” Methachittiphan says. “When Nala was younger, she used to fetch rather a lot. However with so many cats in our home, she sort of would not do it anymore. Typically, she’ll do it when she’s within the resort.”
White Espresso & Luna Rose
Espresso, a 5-year-old British shorthair, survived kidney lymphoma. “One in all his kidneys is bigger than the opposite,” his mother says. “When individuals go to, Espresso at all times hides. But when we exit to see individuals, he’ll allow them to maintain him.” After 25 weeks of chemotherapy, this shy however suave girls’ man appears to be like ahead to going to the vet. “We take him to see the physician for a check-up each eight weeks.”
“Once we met Luna, she curled up right into a ball and allow us to cradle her for hours,” Methachittiphan says. When the 4-year-old Scottish Fold combine isn’t not carrying round her catnip–stuffed banana toy, she likes to eat. “Luna eats method an excessive amount of, and her favourite factor to munch on is rooster. She goes loopy for it.” She’s additionally further chatty at meet and greets.
The Queen of Caturday
“Nala may be in the identical house with our different animals, however they’ll’t get near her as a result of she has this large bubble,” Methachittiphan says. “She’s a queen.”
If Luna is sitting in a field however Nala needs it, she’ll stroll as much as Luna and growl. It sounds stunning as a result of Nala is cute and pleasant in public. “Once we do a meet and greet, she likes to scent and groom strangers,” she says. “Nala is aware of she’s well-known. Individuals cry after they meet her.”
Paws for a Trigger
Nala has donated 5,000 meals to Kitten Rescue L.A. She’s mailed 55,000 meals to Daisy’s Hope Foundation. She’s additionally obsessed with reducing overpopulation. Contemplating that greater than 1.4 million cats are euthanized yearly throughout the U.S., the purpose is to finish euthanasia because of lack of assets and overcrowded shelters. Nala additionally helps The Pet Training Mission, Concern Free Pets, Waggle, and The Paw Project. “Kitties want their claws to dwell wholesome, blissful lives,” Methachittiphan says.
“Nala is at all times going to unfold love and happiness. It doesn’t matter the place you’re from or what you imagine in. Whenever you’re on her web page, all that issues is that you simply’re type and supportive in the direction of one another.”