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Saturday December 20th 2014

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Make Your Pet an Internet Star

By Jennifer Leigh

In this Internet age when you can’t even finish lunch without snapping a picture of it, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be snapping photos of your pet relentlessly.

And if your pet is impossibly cute—of course it is—you could be on your way to Internet stardom.

In May, I started an Instagram account for my boyfriend’s tuxedo cat, Smudge. That’s right—he’s not even my cat. I didn’t even know I liked cats that much until Smudge came into our lives almost two years ago.

Not wanting my personal Instagram feed to look too crazy cat lady with photos of his sweet kitty face, I decided that Smudge was cute enough for his own account. But after reading “How to Make You Cat an Internet Celebrity,” I’m thinking Smudge might actually be able to earn his keep.

Although the book is sarcastic in tone (in case you thought it was serious), it actually gave me some insight into the success of feline celebrities such as Grumpy Cat or Lil Bub.

Since cat photos are a dime a dozen, the how-to book has taught me that if I want Smudge to reach more than 60 followers, I need to follow a few simple rules. While it’s a book about cats, I think the rules can apply to all pets except when it suggests using a string to elicit cuteness. Dogs don’t really go for that.

Identify your pet’s special gifts —whether your pet rocks sweaters better than you or has a funny walk, there’s someone who will follow him or her unconditionally.
“It may be painful to acknowledge that your cat is hideous, clumsy, or unpleasant. But none of that means he can’t make bank.”

Make good use of props and accessories —because it’s a lot of pressure on a pet to be entertaining without a little help sometimes.
“This is a foolproof way to build lasting fame for your pet, whose actual life is probably not very interesting.”

The importance of editing —keep videos short and pictures pretty.
“…You’ve compiled a real gem of feline edutainment. You’re going to polish that diamond until you can see your reflection, and in that reflection your eyes will reflect dollar signs back at you.”

STUDY UP
Check out “How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity” by Patricia Carlin at quirkbooks.com.

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FOLLOW ALONG
Here are some already or almost famous Insta-pets deemed follow worthy by team Inweekly:

@Acatnamedsmudge: I know I’m biased, but Smudge really does have some pretty funny photos. JL

@Snoopybabe: Snoopy is an exotic short hair cat that has better taste in fashion that me. JL

@JuJu_Citronella: This mini golden retriever, cocker spaniel mix living the big city dream has quickly become my favorite canine to follow because he looks just like my dog, Sammy.  SM

@FloppyBear: As if his name isn’t cute enough, Floppy Bear’s account brings all kinds of floppy, fluffy, cuddly, polar bear-like cuteness. SM

@andrewknapp: Have you ever wanted to play “Where’s Waldo?” with a dog? If so, you’ll love Andrew and his border collie, Momo. They are so popular they even have a book “Find Momo,” which is also available at quirkbooks.com. JD

@nevillejacobs: I admit, I started following him for the celebrity factor (Neville belongs to none other than Marc Jacobs) but I quickly fell in love with his swagger and ability to rock a hoodie. Neville’s best friend Charlie also has pretty follow-worthy account (@choochoocharlies). JD

@toastmeetsworld: What’s better than a dog named Toast? A dog named Toast with a constant tongue-lolling habit that’s what.  JD

@mensweardog: The best dressed dog on Instagram—hands down. JD

@barkleysircharles: Sure, there are plenty of cute Frenchie accounts, but few have names this good. JD