Instagram has no shortage of non-human influencers that attract major brands and promote various ideas across the community of social media users. Earlier we posted a story about the Bee Influencer that makes a lot of ‘buzz’ to attract attention to the bee extinction problem.
Many pets also get millions of views and rise to stardom on Instagram. Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub, Boo, Pomeranian, and Doug the Pug are among the army of iconic pets that enjoy the love and attention of both brands and followers.
Such popularity is hardly surprising as people tend to treat them more like their kids. American households owned over 42 million cats and 63 million dogs, and 91% of them considered their pets like family members, as per a recent research.
Each year Americans pour vast amounts of money into the market for pet products. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), revenues in that segment surpassed $72 billion.
Cats have been mentioned on Instagram 193 million times since its inception in 2010. The word dog has been used on the platform over 234 million times. According to Loni Edwards, an animal talent manager from a talent agency, The Dog Agency, pets have become an important part of our lives.
“Pets raise endorphins and make people feel happy. They are adorable to look at and are easier to connect with than human influencers,” he said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization support the idea of using pet influencers to promote the idea of pet adoption instead of buying designer breeds. However, this work shall not be a detriment to the welfare of the pets, according to PETA campaigns director Ashley Byrne.
“Nobody should treat animals as accessories or frivolous possessions. It’s important for people with animals who have an audience on the internet to encourage their followers to treat their pets like members of the family,” she said in the interview with AFP.
Since 2013, the face of PETA’s campaigns was Lil Bub, a cat whose tongue was always hanging out due to genetic anomalies. The cat’s owner, music producer Mike Bridavsky, started posting her pictures and writing stories about her on Instagram, after her adoption in 2011.
Lil Bub’s death in the previous week triggered a wave of emotional posts.
“Bub has made a huge difference in the world of animal welfare and in the lives of millions of people worldwide,” Bridavsky wrote on Instagram.
Bridavsky also added that a national fund for special needs pets with Bub serving as its face raised $700,000 for “animals in need,” with $75,000 raised in 2018 alone.