Excerpted from How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity: A Guide to Financial Freedom, by Patricia Carlin with Photography by Dustin Fenstermacher. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.
What’s the easiest way to identify your cat’s special gifts? Just memorize this simple acronym: OBISTPHYBEHO. It stands for OBserve, Identify, STudy, PHYsical, BEhavioral, HOnesty. Here’s how the system works:
Step 1. OBSERVE. Assess your feline’s potential by taking a long hard look at him. Place your cat in a well-lit room. Study him from all angles, moving slowly so as not to trigger a startle reaction. You should know this cat well enough to pick him out of a police lineup (and don’t think that scenario won’t ever happen).
Step 2. IDENTIFY your cat’s most noteworthy features. You’ll have to ask hard questions. What makes your cat meme-worthy? Why would a complete stranger want to immortalize this animal on a Facebook wall? Remember, your cat will be vying with hedgehogs, pandas, babies, and Bible quotes for that same space. What does she bring to the table? Jot down anything that comes to mind: dreamy eyes, a mellifluous meow, a two-tone coat, the ability to fart while eating.
Step 3. STUDY the notes from Step 2. Do they make any sense at all? Are you even taking notes? If not, repeat steps 1 and 2.
Step 4. Focus on the PHYSICAL. Consider your cat as if he was a physical object; a delicate sculpture perhaps, or a pile of sweat socks. What are his best angles? Does he even have angles? Are most of his flaws confined to one side of the body? Does your cat need dental work, a haircut, or perhaps a bath?
Step 5. Focus on the BEHAVIORAL. It’s not only the way a cat looks that makes her famous; it’s also the way she acts. This may be the hardest assessment to make since, 99% of the time, most cats don’t do anything. Or do they? Take a closer look ... perhaps her whiskers twitch in a funny way when she yawns. Maybe her tail taps out the rhythm to Ravel’s Bolero. When guests come over, is there something she does that visitors find fascinating? For instance, do they comment on the cat’s resemblance to Agnes Moorehead, her cute way of chewing on extension cords, or perhaps her hostile reaction to being touched? Hollywood uses focus groups all the time to test what works. You can, too, just by luring a small group of trusted acquaintances to your home and keeping them in a room with your cat for several hours. Take notes.
Step 6. Employ HONESTY. It’s quite possible that your emotional attachment to this creature may blind you to your cat’s relative lack of pizzazz. You think you’ve got a super-cutie-pie, but in fact what you have is a gargoyle. You view your pet as a Stephen Hawking–level supergenius, when in truth he couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag (literally). But take heart! In the world of feline fame, seemingly negative characteristics can be a ticket to wildly disproportionate success. It may be painful to acknowledge that your cat is hideous, clumsy, or unpleasant. But none of that means he can’t make bank.