How to Make Your Cat an Internet Star in 8 Simple Steps

You already know that cats rule the Internet — it's home to endless adorable feline videos, GIFs, and memes. But does your cat have what it takes to compete with the famed Maru and Colonel Meow? Yes! According to a forthcoming book titled "How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity: A Guide to Financial Freedom" (April 1), by Patricia Carlin, whether your fluff ball is lean and nimble or stocky and clumsy, every cat has star potential. Here are eight steps to making him world famous.

Step 1: Identify his potential: Start by studying your cat’s physical features. Does he have freakishly long whiskers? Extra-fluffy fur? A unique tail? Also note his character traits — maybe he gets excited around children or has an odd meow. If you’re not sure what makes him special or are too blinded by love to be unbiased, get a friend’s opinion. “This is about finding out what makes your cat marketable,” Carlin tells Yahoo Shine. “And don’t overlook a flaw — who knew Grumpy Cat’s surly expression or Choco the cat’s slack jaw could work in their favor?”

Step 2: Pick a stage name: The name "Whiskers" is fine for an average kitty, but you'll need a moniker that propels yours into stardom. (Example: Anna Mae Bullock eventually became Tina Turner). Carlin’s suggestions: Translate his name into French (change “Socks” to “Chaussettes,” for example), try a phonetic spelling (“Mittens” to “Mit-enz”) or borrow from a celebrity (“Cher”). Another tip: “Avoid clichés,” says Carlin. “It may be tempting to name your orange cat Ginger, but he won’t stand out.” 

Step 3:Coin his schtick: Help your cat pinpoint his calling card by using props — mugs, pillows, a Roomba, balloons, a homemade fort — and observe his behavior. “Don’t get discouraged if it takes time for your cat to get into a groove or he simply doesn’t perform,” she says. Doing nothing worked for Internet darling Henri, le Chat Noir, an existential philosopher who lazes around his French apartment while his owner inserts hilarious voiceovers depicting his mood.

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Step 4: Film a viral video: Don’t worry about using a fancy camera; your iPhone will work just fine. Next, clear your space of any distractions, such as dirty laundry or last night’s dishes, and check for good lighting. And keep the video short and sweet (“No more than 90 seconds,” says Carlin). You can also turn your video into a GIF or video meme using Vine. And don’t forget to brand your video by inserting a logo using Photoshop or Illustrator.

Step 5: Market your cat: Giving your video a catchy title is key. (Check trending words on Yahoo and Twitter for ideas.) Then, share on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or video sites YouTube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion. “You can also generate fake buzz by posting your video under accounts created with pseudonyms,” suggests Carlin. And join special-interest websites such as Catmoji and Catster, where other cat lovers are likely to share your creation.

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Step 6: Maintain the momentum: Once your video has people talking, create a Twitter account under your kitty's name, along with a personalized website. “If your video is a success, people will want to see more of your cat, so tweet under his name on a daily basis,” says Carlin. You may also want to consider a publicity stunt: Spreading a rumor that your cat is feuding with Lil Bub, for example, is always a good one. 

Step 7: Money, money, money! It’s not enough to get people talking about your cat — the goal is to generate cash via advertising revenue from your website, of course. Other ideas: Gun for endorsement deals (Grumpy Cat hit the cat food motherlode when he became a spokescat for Friskies), create merchandise (T-shirts, cat bowls, shot glasses), make public appearances, or write a book proposal “by” your cat.

Step 8: Tame your diva: After so much exposure, it’s only natural that your famous feline will develop a bit of an ego. “Keep him humble by giving him regular breaks to restore his sanity and prevent burnout,” says Carlin. And a little catnip never hurts.

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