How These Cute Pets Earn Millions of Dollars for Their Owners

Jett Barnett

Tardar Sauce was one of a litter of 4 kittens born at the home of her owner, Tabatha Bundesen in Morristown, Arizona.

This little kitten had a permanent “grumpy” facial appearance that was caused by an underbite and dwarfism.

In September 2012, Bryan Bundesen, Tabatha’s brother, took a picture of Tardar Sauce and posted it on Reddit.

It didn’t take long for the photo to go viral, as Redditors wasted no time making memes from the photo.

Almost immediately, Tardar Sauce became an internet celebrity. Her owners quickly seized on this opportunity created by internet attention and built a brand around their beloved pet.

Bryan Bundesen started a Facebook page.

Then Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.

As Grumpy grew in fame, she was meeting famous celebrities, guest-starring on television shows, wrote her own books and even starred in an original Lifetime Christmas movie.

She appeared on NBC News Today show, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, CNM’s Anderson Live, and Fox’s America idol among many others.

In March 2013, Grumpy Cat pulled more crowd over Elon mask and Al Gore when she attended SXSW interactive. Over 600 fans waited for hours in line to take a photo of their idol.

Tabatha Bundesen quit her job working as a waitress at Red Lobster to becoming Grumpy Cat’s manager.

Her brother, Bryan Bundensen, managed Grumpy Cat’s social media accounts.

They created Grumpy Cat Limited, the company to manage Grumpy Cat’s “career.”

To monetize her image, Grumpy cat appeared in Television commercials for Honey Nut Cheerios.

Chronicle Books published “Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book” in July 2013, and the book debuted at number 8 on the Publisher's Weekly bestseller list.

Friskies hired Grumpy Cat to become their official Spokescat.

But that wasn’t all.

Grumpy Cat Limited sold several products like comic books, paper dolls, video games, and merchandise like T-shirts and mugs.

By the time Tardar Sauce died in 2019, Grumpy Cat Limited had made over $10 million from the Grumpy Cat brand.

As the influencer phenomenon continues to boom, several pet owners have seized the opportunity to monetize their adorable pets.

Many pets have become influencer personalities. The most followed pet on Instagram is Nala Cat, an adorable Scottish fold.

These pets make money through several avenues;

  • Sponsored ads
  • Published Books
  • Merchandise sales
  • Hosting live events
  • And even starting their own food brand.

Here are some of the top-earning influencer pets on social media.


This fluffy Pomeranian first made headlines in 2014 when he set a pair of Guinness World Records for the fastest 10-meter run on hind legs and the fastest 5-meter run on front paws.

He has also appeared in Katy Perry’s music video and has a book published called I am Jiffpom.

Over 10 million people on Instagram follow this cute little dog.

According to, Jiffpom earns about $32000 per Instagram advertisement.

Nala Cat

Nala Cat is undoubtedly the most famous cat on Instagram.

She even holds the Guinness World Record for the most followers on Instagram for a cat with over 4 million followers.

Her story began in a pet shelter in California, where her owner, Pookie, adopted her back in 2011.

Pookie started her cat’s Instagram to share pics of her adorable pet. Little did she know it would turn into a multimillion-dollar brand.

Now, Nala Cat is a whole brand with its own premium cat food. Due to her popularity, brands pay up to $15k per post on Instagram.

Nala Cat’s net worth is estimated at $100 million.

Doug the Pug

Doug is a pug that has gained internet fame over the last decade.

His owner created his Instagram account in 2014 and started posting photos of Doug.

By 2016, Doug the Pug had gained so much internet fame that he made several media appearances and published a New York Times bestseller called “Doug the Pug: The King of Pop Culture.”

He has appeared in commercials for brands such as Febreze, Home Goods, and Pedigree Petfoods.

Doug the Pug has close to 4 million followers on Instagram. He earns about $12k per Instagram shout-out.

Wrapping it up

Attention is the new currency.

Influencer pets are proof that attention, if well channeled, can become big business ventures.

Four billion people use the internet every day. The creator economy is only going to grow bigger.

You have the choice to either be a consumer or a creator.

Which one are you?

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