Pet Instagram accounts are a growing trend on social media, and two UMF professors, Karol Maybury and Misty Krueger, have accounts for their pets and have received a “paws”-itive response from their audience.
“A few years ago I adopted an eight-year old cat named Fluffy from the Kennebec Valley Humane Society,” said Misty Krueger, an English Professor. “[I] decided to create the page “What Would Fluffy Do?” to honor her greatness.” Krueger said that the name was inspired by “What Would Jesus Do?” which is a popular meme, along with another inspiration; grumpy cat.
Krueger thinks the outcome from the Instagram page has been overwhelmingly positivity not only for her but her cat as well. “I think they enjoy her cat-itude.” Krueger added that it was a creative outlet for her to post things in Fluffy’s perspective to share with the 60 followers her cat has.
“[It’s] a reminder that pets are fun and have funny personalities,” Krueger said, “and pets make people happy whether they are right in front of you ready for petting, or in pictures looking cute.”
Karol Maybury, a Psychology professor operates and maintains an Instagram account for her cat, Steekle, and his brother, Cinders. “[It started with a Facebook page] in 2015, as an ongoing joke with my kids,” Maybury said. “After seeing posts on Instagram about people and their pets, and I thought Steekle needed one too. It’s turned into a hobby.”
Maybury pointed out a correlation between Instagram and envy, and referred to Instagram as a “highlight reel” of people’s lives, and the pet accounts act as a “relief” from expectations of what a “perfect life” looks like. “I try to think of funny or witty things to post to interrupt the ‘look at this fabulous life’ that we see all too often,” Maybury said. “Research even says that the more time you spend on Instagram, the more unhappy you’ll be.”
“We do a cat of the month,” Maybury said jokingly. “It’s kind of funny because there’s only two of them. I’ll post little flyers around the house saying why they were chosen.”
The cat of the month is rewarded for little things like great posture, ability to meow and yawn at the same time, and bravery during medical testing (vet visits).
Between the two of Maybury’s cats there is a slight sibling rivalry. Steekle posted a picture of his brother, Cinders, when he was awarded cat of the month with a sarcastic caption, ‘Even if the Great Bacon Incident hadn’t disqualified me, Cinders still deserves his moment in the sun.’
Both Krueger and Maybury see the positive impact that these humorous posts have on their following. Steekler, Maybury’s cat, has 125 followers that like the witty posts told in his perspective. A popular photo of Steekler’s is a photo where he is showing off his biceps while sitting in a chair, and another one where his ‘human sister,’ Grace McIntosh, is grooming his stomach with the caption ‘If you’re seeking a valentine in 2019 (I personally love my life as a bachelor) I have one word of advice: grooming! Don’t forget the oft-overlooked tummy region. I’ve found it’s the first place a lady looks to see if a gentleman takes care of himself.’
Maybury proposed implementing a cat-friendly dorm, in which the pets would be guaranteed to have their shots up-to-date and to be certified therapeutic animals. Maybury says it could be limited to one dorm in which the students don’t have allergies to the animals. The goal would be to help provide a little extra love to those students away from home.
People interested in following these pets on social media can find them at @_steekle_ on Instagram and @whatwouldfluffydo on Facebook.