Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Exclusive Interview: Kaley Cuoco Unveils Her Own Effing Pet Brand, Oh Norman!

Glenn Polyn//May 1, 2024//

Exclusive Interview: Kaley Cuoco Unveils Her Own Effing Pet Brand, Oh Norman!

Glenn Polyn //May 1, 2024//

Listen to this article

Not counting commercials, actress Kaley Cuoco first appeared on TV in the 1992 film “Quicksand: No Escape,” which starred Donald Sutherland. In the early 2000s, Cuoco made a major splash with her role as Bridget Hennessy on the ABC sitcom “8 Simple Rules.” With her signature long blond locks and incredibly infectious smile, Cuoco effortlessly stole the spotlight and quickly became a household name, gaining widespread recognition.

In 2007, Cuoco landed her iconic role on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” Her portrayal of Penny, who was Sheldon and Leonard’s neighbor, turned into a career-defining moment that ensured she would become television royalty.

Over the years, the Emmy-nominated actress has developed a well-known reputation for being an animal advocate who often adopts rescue animals. In fact, that was the first topic that Cuoco brought up during an interview in March of this year.

“Most people who know me, know that I’m a huge animal lover,” she said. “It’s mainly dogs, but I’m an all-animal person. I also have a ranch and rescue farm that has many farm animals.”

While Cuoco recalls having many dogs when she was growing up in California, the first animal that she adopted when she was on her own will always have a special place in her heart. That companion animal would be a tan-and-white pit bull mix named Norman, who she believes was approximately 2 years old when she adopted him.

“I actually saw him on a shelter website,” she reminisced. “I knew I wanted to rescue my own dog for the first time. I lived on my own and my mom went with me. His name [at the shelter] was Storm… It was so overpacked that when we got there to meet with him, they told me that they didn’t want me to be turned off by him because he had not been walked in weeks. They thought he was going to scare me off. They let me take him around the neighborhood for a walk, and he was jumping everywhere. He was wild and barking and trying to lick me, and I fell in love with him.

“He was a big blockhead but that yummy big blockhead that you dream of… He was fabulous in all the ways,” she continued. “I knew I wanted to take him home. I also knew I wanted to change his name because the storm is now behind you, and I called him Norm. That is how Norman came about.”

Cuoco “knew right away” that Norman was the perfect dog for her. The goofy-grinned, handkerchief-wearing pup was often seen on a daily basis by her 3+ million followers on her Instagram account.

“I wanted this dog to be in my life,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2017 of Norman, who actually had a broken leg when she adopted him. After adopting him, Cuoco often called Norman “my main man” and noted that he saved her “in more ways than I can explain.”

Her love for the pup inspired her in 2017 to name her TV production company Yes, Norman Productions because, as she says, “that is an obvious play on words because Norman had never heard of the word ‘no.’ ”

Her first project through Yes, Norman was an adaptation of the book The Flight Attendant, which was developed into a comedy-drama series with Cuoco starring in it and serving as executive producer.

Sadly, Norman passed away in January 2021 at the age of 14, but when Cuoco took the plunge as a pet industry entrepreneur in October 2023, she named the brand Oh Norman! for her beloved pup.

“When I launched the pet line, I figured it would always be ‘Oh, Norman!’ as that’s what I always said to him,” she laughed. “We basically named him Oh, Norman! It was the perfect name, but I said, ‘My gosh, I hope this name isn’t taken,’ because I’d be devastated. That was the only name that I wanted to name this company. And the exclamation mark was very important to me. It might sound silly or look silly, but that is how I feel when I say his name. The brand had to have an exclamation mark in the title.”

Cuoco says she always had the idea to start a pet company with ethically sourced and eco-friendly products. She embarked on this journey to create a brand that would not only honor her cherished Norman, but also revolutionize the pet care industry. In the process of making this dream a reality, Cuoco was introduced to JOBI Brands, a celebrity-backed brand venture studio that previously helped other celebrities such as Courteney Cox and her brand Homecourt. In the end, Cuoco teamed up with Katie Hunt, who is the pet company’s co-founder and CEO.

“It’s very authentic for me to have a pet line,” Cuoco explained. “I’ve been approached for years about it, and it never felt right until now. I finally got to launch something that I truly believe in with a group of people who believe in the same things. The most important part of it for me is that, if I ever was going to come up with a company or have my own brand, was that a portion would go to animal rescue. And that is something that we’re really proud of, and that sets us apart.”

The initial line of eco-friendly products included dog bowls, toys, apparel, supplements and grooming products. As Cuoco and Hunt share a passion for animal rescue, a portion of all sales going straight to rescue organizations to help homeless dogs. Cuoco feels it’s the least she can do to help spotlight the plight of animals that she says have been relegated to one of L.A.’s severely overpopulated, under-resourced shelters.

“You know, an animal is so innocent,” she said. “They have no voice. I want to kind of be a voice for them and speak up for them.”

Last month, the brand launched its latest product line, W.T.F. Treats (short for Wholesome Tasty Fresh Treats). The treats currently come in two varieties, Pumpkin Slices and Beef Jerky. The Pumpkin Slices Crafted are air-dried, single-ingredient treats that are entirely plant-based with pumpkin as the sole ingredient. The Beef Jerky contains only five ingredients – free-range and grass-fed beef raised without antibiotics or hormones, pumpkin, apples, rosemary extract and coconut glycerin.

If you noticed the eye-catching treat names, that is intentional. Among the brand’s other products are an interactive 4-in-1 dog toy called I Effing Love You! Recycled Plush Toy, a dog sweater is named the Holiday Cozy AF and supplements with such names as Calm the Eff Down! and Stop Effing Itching!

“With all respect to my team, I definitely got into a little fight on wanting to name these products with the ‘Eff’ in the title,” Cuoco said. “They all loved it, but they were like ‘I don’t know if this is going to sell well. People are going to be turned off.’ I didn’t care. I think it sets us apart. I think it’s noticeable, and when have you not said, ‘Oh my god, calm the eff down’ to your dog? Or ‘Stop effing itching!’

“We kind of just ran with it,” she continued. “I’m very grateful that they jumped on board with using ‘eff’ in the names. It was very fun to name the products, and it kind of works. It’s our logo, and it’s fun. It definitely makes people take notice, which I like. Who hasn’t said that to their pet once in a while? It’s funny!”

However, more than being funny, Cuoco says the product names match her personality and work well with the packaging design, which was also important to her.

“Packaging is everything,” she noted. “It has to grab your attention. There are so many products out there, and you have to try to set yourself apart. So it was important to me that [the product name and packaging] are eye catching and fun and a bit edgy. It was important to me that I really stuck with that, and everyone has come on board since then and said the product names were a good idea.”

In fact, she says Calm the Eff Down! is the brand’s best-selling product. The veterinary nutritionist-certified product is made with such clean and effective ingredients as soothing chamomile extract and relaxing melatonin. Like all Oh Norman! Products, the packaging is made from eco-friendly materials.

“[Calm the Eff Down!] has worked wonderfully with so many dogs,” she explained. “We’ve gotten so many good responses. It’s an all-natural supplement to calm your dog in a natural way. I’ve taken it myself twice to ensure there’s nothing bad in it. It’s not for human consumption, but if you accidently take it, you will be fine.”

Looking back, Cuoco has no regrets about this journey, but she admits that it has been a challenge to her in terms of having to learn to be patient.

“I found a wonderful group of people at JOBI, and we’ve hired some amazing people to help me launch the brand,” she said. “It’s funny. In my life, I move very quickly. I’m kind of all or nothing, let’s get this down now, so I’m learning this sort of venture is more of a marathon and not a sprint.”

She laughs before sharing a typical exchange that she has with her team.

“I’m like, why can’t we launch something new tomorrow? They’re like, ‘um, that’s going to take six months to make,’ and I’m like, ‘What?!’ ”

Cuoco has an enthusiastic spirit when it comes to the future of her pet brand. By putting her name on the brand and its products, she knows she has to stand behind her claims.

“For me to say I trust this and you can trust it too, that’s a big deal to me,” she said. “I hope people will love the products but, most importantly, it’s about giving back. When you buy something from Oh Norman!, you’re giving back to rescues, and that’s the most important thing to me. You’re not only getting an awesome product that is eco-friendly, that’s healthy, that’s all-natural, but you’re doing good, and you’re giving back to animal rescue. I think most people who have pets want to be able to do that.”

While she says the brand is currently only available online to consumers, Cuoco is hoping to expand to brick-and-mortar retail in the future.

“Right now, we’re just a new, little company,” she concluded. “We’ll see what the future holds.”


(Photos courtesy Oh Norman!)