Not long ago, my wife and I were struggling to find a particular photo in her phone from our recent wedding to share on Instagram. This search was not made difficult by the numerous other images from that weekend, but rather by the literally thousands of photos of our cat virtually drowning out all evidence of our existence on her device.
I’d make a joke about us being crazy cat people, but this is a situation familiar to any pet owner reading this article. You know you just had to get that photo of your pet doing that thing that they do probably every day because they are simply the cutest, right?
I know whenever I’m having a rotten day, swiping through endless photos of our cat getting into mischief puts a smile on my face. Why not spread that love and unload a few gigabytes of that four-legged storage space while you’re at it by giving your photogenic furball their own Instagram account? Not only will it allow you to delete some of those excess images from your phone, but I guarantee that if your pet is even kind of cute, they will have more followers than you in no time.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few of New Orleans’s most famous Insta-pets.
Chances are, you probably already follow Lil’ Bunny Sue Roux. With over half-a-million Instagram followers, her audience outnumbers that of some up-and-coming celebrities. Born without her two front legs, Sue Roux is often described in her hashtags as a kangaroo, a bunny, and even a T. rex. These are all valid comparisons, as her boundless energy and lust for life show that her seeming disability has never slowed her down. Sue Roux has become an inspiration to many of her followers, who have submitted fan art of her via Instagram from all over the globe. And her popularity shows no signs of slowing: currently, a Sue Roux stuffed animal, book, and comic strip are all in the works.
“Well, we'd have to be talkin' about one charmin' motherf***in' pig.” ~ Jules, Pulp Fiction (1994)
If only Vince and Jules could have this breakfast conversation in 2017…though today they would probably spend most of their meal just swiping through their phones, ignoring each other like the rest of us do. While on their phones, chances are they may be liking a photo of Hank. Hank is charming, and with more than 200k Instagram followers, its easy to see why. Like Lil’ Bunny Sue Roux, he has served as a muse for his own gallery of fan art. Hank also had a limited edition bagel fashioned in his likeness, courtesy of local baker @bagelboynola. Hank showed up to greet fans at one of Bagel Boy’s pop-ups the last week of its availability, and on a separate occasion even accompanied him on a few delivery runs.
*In the print edition, @BagelBoyNola was mistakenly referred to as Hank’s owner. The author apologizes for the confusion.
In 2013, local music photographer and Where Y’at Magazine contributor Gary Loverde established this Instagram account with the mission of posting one feral Mid-City cat each day for 999 days. Every one of these gorgeous black-and-white photos is frame-worthy, drawing attention to New Orleans’s feral cat population, which is one of the largest in the country. Though Gary achieved his one-short-of-a-thousand goal on March 3, 2016, his account promises a return during 2017. In the meantime, prepare to get lost in some of Instagram’s most artfully captured cat candids.
“He’s a dog, and he’s the best at it,” declares Lil’ Sebastian’s profile. While all other dog owners may challenge this assertion in favor of their own best friend, this deaf rescue has certainly mastered the art of striking a pose around New Orleans. We are all happy that Sebastian has clearly found a loving home, and we enjoy watching his adventures.
New Orleans and partying are practically synonymous. Franklin the Poodle likes to party … or, at least, his humans do. Anyone who has a pet and doesn’t regale themselves regularly by dressing them up is failing on multiple levels. Franklin’s owners are clearly winning, making him wine, gym, read, and Mardi Gras on the reg.
Closing out our list is NOLA Jangles. It is unclear if the menagerie of fluffy friends featured in this account all live under one roof or if it is a pastiche of pictures posted by various contributors. Regardless, this digital basket of adorables is sure to warm your heart.
Be sure to follow the authors’ cat @Lil_Nacheaux_NOLA
Wanna make your pet Insta-famous?
Want to bulk up your furry friend’s Insta-presence? Where Y’at chatted with Jackie Akey, human mommy and Instagram manager for Lil’ Bunny Sue Roux, to bring you some tips on how to win your pet to a half-million followers.
1) Quality over quantity
“Only put your best images out there,” Akey suggests. “Even if a photo is still cute, if it is grainy or a bit out-of-focus, it hurts the quality of your account.”
Akey also skews the notion that you need to post at least once a day.
“I’ll often go a few days between posting photos. Not only does this give me time to find quality images, but it also gives our viewers something to look forward to.”
2) Post more photos to build followers
“I've found that for our account, photos will get more likes and shares, while videos will get more comments,” Akey says. “Both have their benefits for your audience, but if you are looking to build followers, you may want to post more photos in the beginning.”
“Hashtags are important for gaining exposure, as these allow people to find you,” Akey says. “I believe Instagram lets you include about 30 hashtags, so include as many as you can.”
One helpful suggestion Akey adds is to include your hashtags in the first comment beneath your post, rather than in the post itself.
“This prevents your initial post from looking too cluttered or tacky.”
4) Tagging related accounts
Tagging established accounts with similar themes and interests is a great way to potentially get your account noticed by their audiences.
“In my wildest dreams, I never expected Roux to have 1,000 followers,” Akey says. “Then one night, @Cats_of_Instagram shared one of her posts, and we blew up to over 20k followers in a matter of hours. My phone battery died from all of the follower updates.”
“Instagram offers analytics to help you identify everything from your key demographic to the best days and times each week to schedule your posts,” Akey says. “For those who are really serious about building their account, you will want to take advantage of these tools.”
6) Have a really cute pet
Having amassed merchandise deals, international coverage in major media outlets, and an impressive mid-six-figure follower base, one would assume Akey is an experienced social media guru.
“I’m definitely not a social media professional,” Akey laughs. “In fact, I now manage the Facebook page for my business and don’t come up with posts that often. We are so happy that Roux has touched and inspired so many people, but her page is still something we do for fun. It’s not what my husband and I do for a living.
“The truth is, if you have a cute pet, people are going to like it. Most pet owners already have a phone’s worth of photos of their pet doing something cute, so content isn’t hard to come by. At the end of the day, that’s really all it takes.”
*In the print edition of this article, we mistakenly printed a photo of @mybestfriendhank without a proper photo credit to Très Bien Photo+Video. We apologize for this mistake wholeheartedly.