VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Rover, the rescue cat, is strutting his way to internet fame. As his online bio says the fashionable feline is “living [his] best nine lives.”
“All of my cameras are filled with Rover,” said Rover’s caretaker/mom, Angelina Kayyalaynen. “We’ve received so many different positive messages on a daily basis like, ‘Thanks for making me smile.’ ‘Thanks for making my day.'”
With 238k followers on Instagram and more than half a million on TikTok, Rover’s videos have drawn international attention.
“We had a request from Taiwan’s vogue magazine. That was just mind-blowing,” Kayyalaynen added. “They posted Rover on their website.”
Kayyalaynen and her husband adopted Rover in 2015 from the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society in Washougal. The feline companion started as an “adventure cat,” going on hikes, walks, and camping trips.
“In cold weather, we would put some clothes on him to keep him warm and what we think happened is he became so accustomed to wearing things it didn’t bother him anymore,” Kayyalaynen said. “
Kayyalaynen said Rover’s journey from hiking trails to the living room runway, happened unexpectedly.
“I made a little necklace out of [toy] mice and put it on him and was posing him for some pictures,” she said. “My husband was standing there with treats and he [Rover] got fed up waiting for his treat, so he just marched right on over across the living room, toward us, and we had our camera rolling at the time.”
The couple said they posted that video and the internet loved it! Although, it wasn’t until quarantine when Rover went viral online.
“Quarantine happened, everybody was home and somebody shared it on Reddit, and it got shared across every single platform,” Kayyalaynen said.
From then on, the outfits have become more elaborate. Ranging from angel wings to a Game of Thrones cape, Kayyalaynen said she’s handmade every custom outfit.
“It’s like two days worth of work to sew it make sure it fits him, make sure he likes it, make sure he is comfortable. It has to get it pre-approved by the model himself,” she added. “This isn’t meant to be something that stresses Rover, and I think that reason why people have loved his videos so much is that he’s always relaxed. We never force him to do something that would make him uncomfortable or anxious. Plus, he really seems to be enjoying the treats part of it.”
With Rover’s rise to internet fame, the fashion ‘meow-del’ is also helping shine a light on shelter pets and black cats.
“The part that we’re especially proud about is he is a shelter kitty and if we’re able to shed some light on just how amazing these pets are through something like these videos– we’re hoping it’ll give a chance to other kitties to get adopted more,” Kayyalaynen said.
October marks “Black Cat Awareness” month.