Starring roles for moggies in the online limelight

Forget showing off photos of our babies - cute and crazy cats are the new stars of social media videos and photos.

Per capita, we own more cats than anyone else in the world, with a quarter of us playing host to a feline friend, and a striking number of them are joining moggies around the world as online sensations.

The video Fat Cat in Pot, starring Annie, the grey striped Kiwi moggy, has attracted more than 12 million views for her attempts to squeeze headfirst into a tall ornamental pot. Another giggle-worthy local video shows a brother and sister cat fighting over catnip while they roll around the floor getting "stoned".

"Cats have multiple characters," SPCA Auckland executive director and proud cat owner Bob Kerridge explains. "They all have their own style. Sometimes they like to gain attention, sometimes they're just going a bit loopy. As a result they're both loveable and amusing."

The latest cat trend to hit social media is "cat bearding", which involves posting a picture of yourself holding your moggy in front of your face to create the impression of a long fluffy beard.

According to Google, "Funny cats" was the fourth most-searched cat term in New Zealand this year, with "YouTube cats" and "lol cats" also up there. Searches for the word "cat" spiked in January when economist Gareth Morgan said cats should be eradicated because they kill native birds.

A bicycle-riding cat recently drew fans overseas after his owner created a video of the cat riding on his shoulder. Then there's the masses who tune in to the wise words of French feline philosopher Henri who despairs over being put on YouTube and his difficulty in finding a quiet place to rest.

Felines are proving they are just as good company as dogs, says West Auckland resident Lance Ball, who owns ginger tom Superman.

He got his name from his habit of running up Ball's leg and sitting on his shoulder as a kitten. Now he turns heads for his love of riding with his head out the car window.

"People stop and take photos, I was once offered $1000 for him," Ball said. "People tear off the road because they're busy watching us. I've stopped taking him out after someone didn't stop at the lights and smashed into the rear of another car."

But Superman comes running as soon as he hears the car keys jingle.

"He does whatever he wants to do. He gets into bed and ‘spoons' like a human. He hoons around in the car and eats nothing but red meat.

"He puts on the sympathy limp if he doesn't get his way."

Sunday Star Times