All posts tagged: pets

With Sniffs and Licks, Petzbe Makes Social Media Nice Again

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The CEO of Petzbe, a social networking platform that launched on the App Store last week, is a Brussels Griffon named Angus. Angus can often be found adorned in a stylish jean vest gazing stoically into the distance or, at times, yawning. According to his Petzbe bio, Angus is a “lover of the finer things in life. Peculiar in looks and personality. Extremely loving but with a healthy understanding of [his] human’s shortcomings.” Petzbe is like Instagram, but with a strict “No Humans Allowed” policy. The feed is a stream of cat and dog photos featuring captions and comments in the voices of the pets. On Petzbe, you don't just post about your cat. You become your cat.

The free app is available on iOS. Create an account for Fluffy—username, bio, the whole nine yards—and then you’re free to roam a world of pets. You’ve got your profile, which you can access by clicking the paw print in the bottom right corner. To the left of the paw print, click the cat-dog icon to browse pets categorized by breed. Or click the bone icon to search topics like Fashion and Petzbe Portraits. Instead of “following” pages and “liking” posts, encouragement is offered in “sniffs” and “licks.”


Pet accounts have been floating around social media platforms for a while—some to great success. Dogs like Jiff, a Pomeranian that looks like a teddy bear, and Marnie, a Shih Tzu with a permanently dazed expression, command social media followings well into the millions. What's the big difference? While those pets hold their own among all the other posts on Instagram, Petzbe lets you enter a world where the only #selfies you’ll see are of cats and dogs. Remember? No humans allowed.

Since launching last week, the app has amassed more than 2,000 users. To keep them on the same page, the app includes a feed with the latest Petzbe news (Roofis is a dad!) and encouraging frequent user challenges. The latest was Petzbe’s “Lend a Paw” challenge: For each photo users posted showing a paw, Petzbe donated $1 to animal rescue centers, resulting in a total of $1,000 to the ASPCA. For now, Petzbe is small enough that it can afford to pay this out of pocket. As Petzbe expands, the app's creators hope to partner with animal rescue centers to keep similar challenges alive.

Other challenges, like a prompt to describe "How I Met My Human," have also sparked interest. Scrolling through the responses, it's hard to separate the personified pets from the people using the app. As pets, though, one thing stands out: People are really, really nice.

Andrea Nerep, Petzbe’s creator and the owner of Angus, had this in mind when she launched the app. Growing up in Sweden with a mother who ran a dog hotel, Nerep has been observing pet-human behavior since she was a kid. When she moved to New York City from Stockholm four years ago, she was aware that New Yorkers aren't particularly known for their friendliness. But something changed when Angus was by her side. People were nice. She connected with strangers she otherwise wouldn't have spoken to. If you've ever interacted with people and their pets—on the sidewalk, at a party, even at the office—you can probably relate. People love their pets and love talking about their pets. And those conversations tend to be nicer than, say, sports or politics. You’d be hard pressed to find a conversation about Angus’ fetching habits go awry.


Nerep began working on an app that would bring out the kind of empathetic interactions she experienced during her dog walks. If it provided a space to archive her 1,000 photos of Angus, even better. Petzbe's “No Humans Allowed” policy makes pet-owners more or less anonymous. Without knowledge of who the person attached to the account is, preconceptions around that person are wiped away, at least a little bit. “Social barriers are broken down,” says Nerep, as well as “social status, economic status, appearance. Nothing matters anymore.”

Stripped of their identity, some users on Petzbe can be vulnerable in ways they may not on other social media platforms. Last month, one user posted a photo of a dog with the caption: "So my mom just got dumped and I won’t be posting for a while. Trying to comfort her." Other "pets" chimed in with stories of their humans going through breakups, providing comfort that it would get better. Nerep has also seen users open up about mental illness on Petzbe. “What we all want is compassion from someone,” she says, “but it’s easier to talk about it from the pet’s perspective. It can be therapeutic in that way.”

It can also be really silly. Nerep recently came across a conversation between a few users on Petzbe about eating cat litter. "One is like, ‘Oh, I love poop.’ And another is like, ‘I eat cat sand too!’ And these are humans sitting [around] and telling each other that they love poop!” She laughed, relaying the story. "And then one dog tagged another dog like, 'Hey, this guy also loves poop!'"

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Bento the Keyboard Cat, internet sensation and YouTube star, dies

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The beloved feline star of the popular meme has died age nine. But does this really mean the end?

Tonight hes jamming with Kurt and Jimi. Keyboard Cat, the internet meme that bookended a thousand pratfalls, is dead.

In April 2009, thanks in part to a single tweet by Ashton Kutcher, videos of a cat playing a junky little Casio riff became the de rigeur way to play out any footage of, say, a man falling down an escalator in a wheelchair, a singing woman collapsing a table, or just a mortar round misfiring.

The cats owner, Charlie Schmidt, posted the news on Keyboard Cats Facebook page, with its 820,000 followers.

The original Keyboard Cat.

Only, that isnt quite the story. Schmidts original clip of a musical cat the one youre most likely to have seen was shot in 1984. Hence the grainy VHS quality, which made the vaporwave-obsessed internet of 2009 fall in love with it. The cat in that video was called Fatso. He died in 1987.

The recently deceased Bento, born in April 2009, just as the Keyboard Cat phenomenon was hitting its peak, was already a remix. It seems that Keyboard Cats can spontaneously regenerate whenever a few million dollars are dangled in front of them.

Schmidt used Bento to make a second Keyboard Cat video, plus any number of side adventures: a parody of Miley Cyruss Wrecking Ball, an ad for Wonderful Pistachios, all the way up to a spoof on Banksys Exit Through The Pet Shop.

Bento taking on the starring role of Keyboard Cat.

You can hardly blame Schmidt for needing a physical product. Grumpy Cat is reputed to have a net worth of $100m. Within days of the first post to a Reddit thread, Grumpy Cats Red Lobster waitress owner was able to quit her job and go full-time. She shares a manager with Keyboard Cat, and with fellow celebrity felis catus, Lil Bub, and with animated cat meme Nyan Cat. Lil Bub generates enough that owner Mike Bridavsky can give away $200,000 a year to animal charities.

Hamilton, the moustache-toting Hipster Cat, had a web series, appeared in commercials, and had his own calendar line. Henri, a black cat, who appears, subtitled, in black-and-white, in French, like a cat Sartre, earns a $1,000 a week just from his online store. Appearance fees can be far greater. Maru, a Japanese-owned Scottish Fold, is the most watched cat of all time, with 325m YouTube views of him doing very basic cat stuff, like getting slightly freaked out by boxes.

Keyboard Cats spoof on Banksys Exit Through The Pet Shop.

The internet cat-industrial complex is vast. Cat food company Friskies flew Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Sauce, first class, to South by Southwest. They paid for a chauffeur, a personal assistant, and unlimited food. At a conference with Al Gore and Elon Musk, she was the star. The 2013 documentary Lil Bub and Friendz began when the makers witnessed 10,000 people turn out to the Internet Cat Video Film Festival.

How do you make a smash like Keyboard Cat? You start with $850 of cat piano lessons, Schmidt once quipped. Certainly, it helps if the cat has bodily issues. Keyboard Cat is notable among the truly great cats of the internet for being just a standard moggy, who had to work his way up on his boogie-woogie skills alone. Grumpy Cat has an underbite and feline dwarfism. Lil Bub a short lower jaw, toothlessness and osteopetrosis. Pop Tart Cat (Nyan Cat) has a pop tart for a body. Hipster Cat has a strange white moustache.

Bentos generation is getting long in the tooth. Perhaps not for nothing has Marus owner adopted and begun showcasing a second cat in addition to the 10 year old. The death of a cat is a private tragedy. The death of an internet cat is an economic catastrophe.

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The owners putting pets on vegan diets: ‘We feed our animals without exploiting others’

Veganism is on the rise, and not just among humans. But is the trend safe especially when it comes to carnivorous cats?

The owners putting pets on vegan diets: ‘We feed our animals without exploiting others’

Veganism is on the rise, and not just among humans. But is the trend safe especially when it comes to carnivorous cats?

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Nine outstandingly irked cats in costume for Dress Up Your Pet Day

Guys, it’s been a very special day.

A day of delight for internet animal enthusiasts and overbearing pet owners, and the bane of existence for actual pets. It’s Dress Up Your Pet Day — an actual, genuine thing.

Apparently started by U.S. animal advocate Colleen Paige, Dress Up Your Pet Day was designed to promote pet adoption and generally showcase pets for the delightful, dress-upable creatures they are.

Falling this year on Jan. 14, the day saw hundreds of social media posts featuring four-legged critters in tiny costumes.

We laughed, we cried, we picked out our favourites, including these very annoyed cats and one very disgruntled chug (pug-chihuahua).

These cats do not want to save the day.

These little jaws will end your summer.

Jaws who?

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Ollie does not want to participate in any fiesta, anywhere, anytime.

Midnight will likely use an Unforgivable Curse for this.

This little kitty just can’t wait to be king so it can seriously banish its owner.

Purrrrrrrease no dress up for mee #MeowThanks #DressUpYourPetDay

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This little feline does not choose you.

PikaJasmine! #nationaldressupyourpetday #dressupyourpetday

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This miffed cat wishes a plague of skulltulas on your house.

And… this dear thing. Someone help.

Ah, for good measure, look at this very good dog:

‘Cuz it’s #DressUpYourPetDay #starwarsdog #bantha #starwars

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WATCH: Watch the transformation of chick beauty in 60 captivating seconds

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Smile! Grumpy Cat wins 500,000 over copyright breach

Owners of internet sensation with permanently gloomy face win payout from US coffee group

Smile! Grumpy Cat wins 500,000 over copyright breach

Owners of internet favourite with permanently gloomy face win payout from US coffee group

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Paddles, First Cat of New Zealand and social media star, dies after being hit by car

Jacinda Ardern, prime minister, writes of her sadness after her pet was killed shortly after moving into the PMs home in Auckland.

The first ever First Cat of New Zealand has died after being hit by a car near the prime ministers home in Auckland.

When Jacinda Ardern became New Zealands new prime minister last month she also brought with her a polydactyl cat, named Paddles.

The cat had opposable thumbs and quickly became a social media presence.

Its @FirstCatofNZ Twitter account was started just days after Ardern was declared the prime minister-elect on 19 October. The cats Twitter bio read: Have thumbs, will tweet.

Paddles (@FirstCatofNZ)

Hi, I’m Paddles and I am the First Cat of New Zealand. I have opposable thumbs, I’m purrty special.

October 21, 2017

Paddles was also responsible for nearly derailing Arderns first phone call with US President Donald Trump when the cat came into the lounge meowing loudly.

A spokesman for the prime minister said the ginger cat, adopted from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), was hit by a car near Arderns Point Chevalier home and killed on Tuesday.

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Jacinda Ardern on Paddles the cat’s opposable thumbs – archive video

The driver of the car told a local who then took the cat to a vet, the New Zealand Herald reported. The vet declared the cat dead.

Adern wrote on Facebook: To anyone who has ever lost a pet, youll know how sad we feel. Paddles was much loved, and not just by us.

Thanks for everyones thoughts. And on behalf of Paddles, please be kind to the SPCA. They found her before we did, and we will always be grateful for that.

The person manning Paddles Twitter account said the cats father, Arderns partner Clarke Gayford, wanted gifts of condolences to be made in the form of a donation to the SPCA.

Paddles (@FirstCatofNZ)

Just spoke w Paddles Dad, @NZClarke. If you would like to remember Paddles you are most welcome and encouraged to donate to the NZ SPCA.

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Google Photos can now recognize the lovable faces of your cats and dogs

I wish this was one of the approximately 8,000 dog photos on my phone.
Image: Ruud Lauritsen/Kennel Club/REX/Shutterstock

Google knows that your phone holds untold gigabytes of snapshots of your favorite animal friends. So the search giant is making it even easier to group those pics all together.

The algorithm behind Google Photos will now be able to recognize your Very Good dogs and cats automatically, and will group the reams of photos you’ve taken of them just like it does with pics of people. Google announced the new functionality in a blog post, which is alone worth a read for the sheer number of paw puns pulled off in five short paragraphs. 

You’ll also be able to assign a label to each grouping of pet photos, so when you’re in need of an Instagram-worthy pupper shot, you can just search your photos by your dog’s name. 

Image: google

Google claims you’ll be able search your photos by breed, too, but the company acknowledged to BuzzFeed that the algorithm could have trouble differentiating between multiple animals within that parameter. You’ll also be able to search using 🐶  and 🐱 emoji through all of your animal images, whether they’re actually your own, or just the funny cat pics you download from the internet.  

The new search and organization features are only available for dogs and cats, though. If you love your horse or iguana or massive rideable python, you’re sadly out of luck. You’ll have to organize those pics yourself.       

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Google Photos gets more pet-friendly

If you’re a pet owner who uses Google Photos, you’ve probably typed in “dog” or “cat” before in order to surface photos of your furry pal – like anytime someone asks you about your pet, for example, which clearly means they would like to see a picture of Mr. Fluffypants. Today, Google is introducing an easier way to aggregate your pet photos in its Photos app – by allowing you to group all your pet’s photos in one place, right beside the people Google Photos organized using facial recognition.

This is an improvement over typing in “dog,” or another generalized term, because the app will now only group together photos of an individual pet together, instead of returning all photos you’ve captured with a “dog” in them.

And like the face grouping feature, you can label the pet by name to more easily pull up their photos in the app, or create albums, movies or photo books using their pictures.

In addition, Google Photos lets you type in an animal’s breed to search for photos of pets, and it lets you search for photos using the dog and cat emojis. The company also earlier this year introduced a feature that would create a mini-movie starring your pet, but you can opt to make one yourself by manually selecting photos then choosing from a half-dozen tracks to accompany the movie, says Google.

Helping people with their pet photos (and those of kids, we should note) is a big selling point for photo-taking apps and other photography accessories. For instance, Google’s new camera called Clips has been specially designed to automate the process of taking the best photos of children and pets by capturing “motion photos” without sound, then using on-board machine learning algorithms to figure out which are the best images.

Google says the new pet-friendly features in Google Photos will roll out today to most countries worldwide.

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People are super psyched over Ikea’s new pet furniture collection

Image: ikea/screenshot

Even dogs and cats need to relax in style.

Ikea has just dropped a new collection designed exclusively for pets.

The new Lurvig collection, which means “hairy” in Swedish, made its pilot launch in five countries — Japan, France, Canada, U.S and Portugal (Algarve) at the start of October, an Ikea spokesperson told Mashable.

From a plush dog bed to a fancy scratching mat, Ikea’s pretty much got you covered.

Image: ikea japan/instagram


Here’s the catalogue, even if you aren’t in a country that has the goods yet yet.

People are really, really psyched.

And those that did manage to get their hands on the new collection naturally had to flaunt it on social media.

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According to the Swedish furniture giant, the new collection was created by “pet loving designers with support from trained veterinarians.”

The collection is also pretty affordable, as is usually the case with the Swedish retailer, with the collection’s priciest item, its padded cat house, coming in at $54.

Though really, we know we’re going to end up buying it all anyway.

Brb, shopping on Ikea now.

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