I’m personally relieved to close the door on 2019, as it was not a good year for internet-famous cats. Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, passed away in May at the age of 7 following complications from a urinary tract infection. There was more bad news on December 1, when Mike “Dude” Bridavsky made the Instagram announcement that his beloved Lil BUB had died in her sleep at the age of 8 while fighting a bone infection.
Making her debut via a simple photo post on Reddit in 2012, and having more than 10 million followers on various social media platforms, Grumpy Cat’s perpetual “grumpy” facial appearance was the result of an underbite and feline dwarfism. Thanks to merchandising deals, book deals, paid appearances and a Lifetime movie, several estimates had the global feline star being worth millions of dollars, although her owner never publicly revealed Grumpy Cat’s net worth.
Tumblr launched Lil BUB into the public in 2011, and it was feline dwarfism, osteopetrosis and various genetic mutations that caused her deformities, including a small jaw and limbs, which restricted her movement. But this “cat from outer space,” as Bridavsky described her to me during an interview, was particularly photogenic in a beautiful way that mesmerized pet lovers.
During their lives, both influencer cats graced the pet product industry when they partnered with various pet brands, including Purina, Halo and cbdMD. While Grumpy Cat brought people happiness by enabling them to channel their frustrations via humorous memes, it was Lil BUB’s mission to help the underdog, the outcast, those bullied for being different. With the assistance of her dude, Lil BUB raised more than $700,000 for animal shelters and pets with special needs.
At a time when there’s so much negativity in the world, we will greatly miss the positivity created by Grumpy Cat and Lil BUB. With that in mind, Pet Age is proud to bring you this issue, which contains a special report on pets in the workplace.
While we all know that the workplace can be a stressful environment, the presence of pets in an office produces many benefits, such as improved morale and increased productivity while also generating a healthy work-life balance, which is crucial to avoiding burnout.
In addition to the emotional benefits, companies are also taking note of the fiscal gains that come with having pets in the workplace, with the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) reporting that pet ownership is responsible for a yearly saving of $11.7 billion due to reduced doctor visits lower health care costs.
For 2020, we’ve decided to make a few minor changes to our editorial content, which includes a new Q&A section called Trending Topics, with CBD being this month’s subject. As always, our mission is to provide the news, analysis and advice to help guide and inspire you. Enjoy!
Glenn A. Polyn