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Move over, Grumpy Cat. There's a new beagle in town

By Carol Stender
cstender@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 09/23/2013 9:35 AM

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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. —Please don't hate me, but I like cats.

Really, I do.

But my visit to the Minnesota State Fair gave me a whole new perspective on cat popularity when I got to see Grumpy Cat in person.

Grumpy Cat is a fluffy tabby whose sour expression has been posted throughout the social media sites. The pictures are often accompanied by equally grumpy, zany captions.

The cat's sour look actually is caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite, according to the Internet. It's a contrast to Grumpy's disposition, which surprisingly was calm amid the flurry of photographers clambering for a picture.

Grumpy is owned by Tabetha Bundesen, of Morristown, Ariz., but it was her brother, Bryan, who started the cat furor. He posted a picture of Grumpy on the social news website reddit and the rest, as they say, is history. YouTube videos soon followed and the Official Grumpy Cat Facebook page was launched. That site has had more than 1.2 million "likes."

The cat has made appearances across the United States.

While Grumpy made a few stops at the fair, it was a special photo opportunity that brought the cat to the fair. Grumpy Cat was going to have her photo taken with a crop art picture bearing her likeness.

Grumpy Cat was in a cat carrier as Bundesen brought the tabby to the building. Once she unzipped the bag, the flurry of photos began, as photographers captured the cat coming out of the carrier, being carried a short distance to the photo shoot and again as the cat was turned to face the picture.

Okay, so yes, I was one of the idiots, I mean one of the photographers grabbing a picture. My photos weren't centered as much around Grumpy as the media spectacle that surrounded her appearance. One professional photographer parked himself in front and took picture after picture of the scene. Some people in back of the photo-taking mob held their iPhones and cameras aloft in hopes of catching one shot of the cat.

And through all the hub bub, Grumpy Cat continued to look grumpy.

I admit that I've seen and chuckled at many of the Grumpy Cat posts, but I was awestruck at the cat's celebrity.

It made me want to shout, "Get a life, people. Really. It's a cat!"

But I might say that out of jealousy. I'm quite impressed at the marketing genius that's made Grumpy Cat such a phenomenon.

Grumpy Cat is a different feline compared to the cats we had on the farm. Like many farms, we had a plethora of them. From the ones with fluffy coats to short hair tabbies, they earned their keep by keeping the mouse population in check. They definitely were a non-pedigree bunch, but I liked them.

At milking time, they'd sit in a row, hoping to catch a stream of milk aimed their way as we stripped the cows. Each one loved a good scratch behind the ears, and they'd make the trek to the house each evening when they thought it was their feeding time.

Yep. They were good, old, normal, non-pedigree cats who would shake their heads in amazement at Grumpy Cat's celebrity.

So, I've been thinking, if there's a Grumpy Cat, could there also be room for a Mocha the Beagle campaign?

My doggie pictures would focus on, obviously, my beagle. The shots would capture the daily scenes of Mocha sniffing her way through life. For the beagle, its all about the scent. As any hound lover knows, it's a trait that often gets them into trouble. That includes the numerous times when, on our daily walks, we head down the road at a pretty good clip, only to have my arm yanked back as the beagle investigates a scent.

It might not have the same appeal as Grumpy the Cat, but my dog could get the competition out of the way for awhile by chasing her up a tree.

Sic 'er, puppy. It's time for Mocha's social media campaign to start.