EXCLUSIVE: Grumpy Cat speaks on the royal baby, ‘Sharknado’ and Internet fame
You’ve likely seen the face a hundred times if you are any level of Internet user — the scrunchy, squinty, scowly little ball of fur the world has come to know as Grumpy Cat.
Her (yes, it’s a her) real name is Tardar Sauce. She and her brother Pokey were born on April 4, 2012, in Arizona. They are owned by Tabatha Bundesen and her brother Bryan. They posted a photo of Tardar Sauce, whose unusual face is actually a result of feline dwarfism, on Reddit in September 2012, and Grumpy Cat was born. Almost overnight, she rose to worldwide stardom as her perpetually grumpy expression launched countless Internet memes. Grumpy Cat now has more than a million Facebook and Twitter followers, a contract with Friskies, a book, a calender and even a soon-to-be iced coffee line called Grumppuccino.
But who is the real cat behind the frown? Is she really that disgruntled? Against her better judgement, and even though she could think of a million things she’d rather be doing, Grumpy Cat agreed to an interview with Metro. Her owners Tabatha and Bryan also dished to us about the “real” Grumpy Cat and how having a world-famous pet has changed their lives.
Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat
Metro: Deep down, do you ever feel un-grumpy?
Grumpy Cat: I have an active night life. In the wee hours of the morning, I wreak havoc on Pokey and anything that is moving in the house! Waking people up makes me un-grumpy, but only for a moment.
Tell us a joke.
Have you heard of Metro US? Neither have I.
What is your favorite food?
Soft chewy chicken kitty treats! I also like my hard food mixed with wet kitty food.
Congratulations on your newly published book ‘Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book.’ What do you think of making the New York Times best-seller list?
I wrote a book once. It was so awful it hit the NY Times best-seller list. Meh. Did I mention it was awful?
How do you feel about being a household name and having your photo everywhere?
The best part about being a household name is that my humans have been able to help support animal shelters. You should check out your local animal shelter. There are many pets that need homes and they also offer low-cost spay and neuter programs.
What do you think of the new royal baby Prince George? Any words of wisdom for a fellow overnight celebrity?
Prince William and Kate should read “Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book” to Prince George over and over to make sure he can handle royal life. I’d say be grumpy to keep the people away, but that obviously doesn’t work.
Did you see ‘Sharknado’? What did you think?
They should have bumped up the production of the Grumpy Cat movie. I’m certain Gene Siskel rolled over in his grave when “Sharknado” premiered.
Have you considered the next move in your career? Are politics in your future?
The next move? Bed. Bed sounds like a great idea. [Yawn] Coffee and movies are the next step! Look for Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino and stay tuned for the Grumpy Cat movie to come out! I’ll leave politics to the politicians, as they obviously need more practice.
Tabataha and Bryan Bundesen
Metro: When did you first notice that Tardar Sauce was a bit different than other cats?
Tabatha: We knew she was a little different when she was born. She was smaller than her siblings and had a cute little stubby tail.
You’ve mentioned that her perpetually grumpy pout might be due in part to feline dwarfism — could you explain that condition and whether it affects any other aspect of her life?
Feline dwarfism is a condition caused by a genetic mutation. She wasn’t bred to be a dwarf cat, and her parents were both average-sized cats. She is normal and healthy, according to the vet, but she does move a bit slower and her back legs are less flexible than typical cats.
When you first posted a photo of her online, did you predict it would lead to global fame?
Bryan: I took the original photo the first time I held Grumpy Cat and she looked 1o times grumpier in the photo than she did laying in my lap! We thought people would enjoy her grumpy mug so we shared it on the Internet. We had no idea it would go viral and that she would become so well-known!
What is she like behind the scenes? Is this grumpy thing a total facade? Has she become a diva?
She is the complete opposite of her grumpy facade. She is a sweet, loving little fur ball and likes attention and being held. She is super calm and never gets scared like many cats. Fame hasn’t changed her at all, and she is generally indifferent to the added attention.
How has being the owners of Grumpy Cat changed your lives? Do you feel like her fame has taken over your own careers?
Being the owner of Grumpy Cat has had a positive impact on both of our lives and we are very thankful for that! We have traveled a few times for different events and public appearances. Most recently for the launch of “Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book” in Los Angeles. This has allowed [me and my sister] to spend much more time together than we have in the past since we live almost 2,000 miles apart! I’ve worked for Time Warner Cable for more than 12 years, and prior to that I was in the U.S. Army for four years, and Tabatha has worked as a server for many years. We both had very busy and active lives before Grumpy Cat became famous, and it has definitely taken over a great deal of our time. The amount of email and messages via social media is insane, and we appreciate all the people that have become fans of Grumpy Cat!
What is it like when you are with her in public? Is she instantly recognized?
Yes, she is recognized almost immediately when we have her out in public! Many people come up and ask, “Is that Grumpy Cat?” When we tell them yes, they ask, “The REAL Grumpy Cat?” and it’s usually followed by a “Squeeeeeee!” and a quick photo.
What’s something about her no one knows that you can share with us?
We’d have to say that most people don’t get to hear her purring. She has the softest purr that we’ve ever heard. Many times you don’t realize she is purring unless you are petting her and happen to feel it. It is so cute!
Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro