“My Cat is Big in Japan…”
These days, even pets are subject to the whims of fast fame – internet animals seem to be one of the biggest trends on the planet right now. But the animal-as-celebrity phenomenon is nothing new, as it turns out. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more prolific furry (or not furry) companions over the years…
Television’s most lovable collie has also been the star of over a dozen movies, but first popped up in a 1940 novel, setting the standard for loyal dogs everywhere and making ‘old mills’ a household name.
Who needs weathermen when you have the predictive powers of Pennsylvania’s famous rodent? As the old Celtic tradition goes, if he sees his shadow…Bill Murray gets to see tomorrow.
Dolly the Sheep
A product of three separate mothers (one for the egg, one for DNA and one to carry the embryo), the world’s first cloned animal was a huge celebrity, and punchline, in the late 1990’s.
The original Shamu actually died in 1971, but a series of trained Sea World orcas over the years have been referred to by the same name, at least in public. When they’re not maiming their trainers, that is.
Internet meme cats are a dime a dozen, but this frowny-faced superstar blasted into the pop culture vernacular by being uniquely funny-lookin’ and adorable at the same time.
The formerly-stray Soviet space dog was the first animal to orbit the Earth. She was launched into the stratosphere in 1957 and, sadly, died several hours later (contrary to decades of reporting).
As in, the eponymous movie piglet, not the big blue ox. Not since Milo & Otis has there been a barnyard romp that created such a stir, though technically Babe made his debut almost twenty years ago.
For 70 years, the Ad Council and US Forest Service have been touting their burnt-paw mascot, recognizable by 95% of adults. Though I still find it hard to believe that only I can prevent forest fires…
TV’s talking palomino graced the airwaves for over five years. That was almost 50 years ago, but he still permeates popular culture with name-drops everywhere from Chappelle’s Show to Beastie Boys songs.
If you’re a rock n’ roller, you probably recognize this as the title of a Red Fang song. The Portland, Oregon party-metal band isn’t quite as popular as Shamu or Grumpy Cat, but every list needs…an underdog.
Lydia Mondy is a part-time writer and full-time animal lover. She once worked as a live-in caretaker at a no-kill shelter on Maui with 100+ cats and misses the feeling of a dozen felines sharing the bed…