From “just another kitten” in an overcrowded shelter to a budding internet superstar, our cover cat Nala shows that a rocky start can be overcome by lots of love—and an Instagram account filled with loads of cute cat photos!
On a fateful day in 2010, Varisiri Methachittiphan, or Pookie, as she prefers to go by, walked into the Castaic animal shelter in northern Los Angeles—just to look—and walked out with the five-month-old Siamese/Tabby cross she would come to call Nala. “She licked my face,” Pookie recounts, “and I knew she was the one I was going to take home.”
“Back then Nala was still a little kitten, all alone in a big cage,” Pookie recounts. “It’s really sad to see…that’s why I believe promoting adoption is so important. I brought her home, and the rest is history.”
Pookie started posting photos of her new kitten to Instagram and, day by day, watched as the people following Nala’s account ticked—and then lept—upwards. Today, Nala has a nearly 1.5 million Instagram followers, a number Pookie herself can’t account for: “I'm not exactly sure how it started, but I know it definitely has something to do with how cute she is!”
Fans come for the cute cat photos but take away a pro-adoption message. Pookie and Nala work closely with Kitten Rescue and Focus on Feral, among others, and each month donate a minimum of 10 percent of profits from the line of merchandise Pookie has developed— which includes super-cute silk scarves and iPhone cases—in support of rescue work.
Ask Pookie what’s special about Nala and you get an interesting answer: “She is cute but her face is normal; she's a little chubby, but a lot of cats are…” In other words, Nala is special because of the relationship she and Pookie share. Everyone can find their own Nala Cat—at their local shelter of course.
“It’s important for people to adopt,” Pookie notes, “because it allows for the animal shelters to help other animals. In reality, not all animals can find homes and when the animal shelters can no longer take care of them, the sad truth is [animals] are put down. By adopting, you are saving a life!”