Illustration: Damon Dahlen/HuffPost; Photos: Getty Images
“Farewell To…” is an end-of-decade series that explores some of the biggest cultural trends of the last 10 years. HuffPost’s culture team says bye to the celebrity feminist litmus test, so long to lily-white and mostly male literary institutions, RIP to the movie star and more.
If you’re a famous animal, free from the burdens of politics and world events, you live in blissful ignorance ― riding your perky personalities, witty-bitty faces and poor grammar to fame and followers. In today’s market, animals can turn viral fame into monetary value overnight, and some of the top earners could easily eclipse six figures.
With the explosion of social media, the 2010s saw all kinds of animals ― cats, dogs, kangaroos and even octopuses! ― skyrocket to more fame than their humans perhaps ever thought pawsible. In 2014, we looked at what happened to some of the most famous celebrity animals, and with the decade coming to an end, and the sad news of the recent death of Cosmo, the dog from “Fuller House,” we thought now would be a good time to take another stroll down memory lane to see what other beloved animal influencers are up to now.
Boo, The “World’s Cutest Dog”
Boo the Pomeranian, aka the “World’s Cutest Dog,” is much more than just a pretty face. He’s also a published author — well, the subject of a few different books anyway, including the timeless classics “Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog” and “Boo: Little Dog in the Big City.” Over the last decade, this powerful, plucky pooch has gained a massive following online, having more than 16 million fans on his Facebook page and just shy of 600,000 on Instagram.
When this dog wasn’t busy being a muse for novels, he was playing around with friends and enjoying his favorite foods: chicken, grass and dirt.
He’s dead. His humans released a statement on Facebook in January 2019 confirming the news. Boo had supposedly been suffering from heart problems following the death of his fellow viral BFF Buddy in 2017. He was 12.
Grumpy Cat, The Grumpiest Cat
Who couldn’t fall in love with the mug on Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Sauce. Known for her iconic resting cat face, Grumpy overcame feline dwarfism to rise to fame in 2012 after a photo was put online by her humans, the Bundesen family. Videos followed to prove the original photo wasn’t doctored, and the legend of Grumpy Cat, the world’s grumpiest, most cynical kitty, became one of the internet’s first crazy viral memes.
Since the viral images, Grumpy Cat went on to appear on several TV shows, including “Good Morning America” and “American Idol.” She became a spokescat for Friskies, was voiced by Aubrey Plaza in her own Lifetime Christmas movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” and accumulated millions of fans on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
But the question is, “Where’s Grumpy Cat now?”
She’s dead. The 7-year-old kitty died at home following complications from a urinary tract infection in May 2019.
Roger, The Ripped Kangaroo
He’s breaking hearts and metal buckets. Roger the kangaroo has a classic superhero origin story. He was rescued as an orphaned joey and obviously channeled that into gaining his Hulk-like physique. After he was saved as a baby roo, his human, Chris Barns, set up the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs Australia as a place for him to grow up.
Roger became a viral star after images of his ripped bod crushing a bucket hit the internet in 2015. However, he would later “retire” as the alpha of the sanctuary due to arthritis and fading vision.
So where is Roger now? Drum roll, please …
Also dead. Barns announced the death in December 2018. He was 12.
Lil Bub, The Littlest Bub
It’s not easy being Lil Bub. The famous kitty was born with a number of abnormalities, including dwarfism, toothlessness and a mismatched jaw that left her tongue constantly sticking out. She also suffered from a rare bone disease called osteopetrosis.
But never one to let the world get her down, Bub took her unique look to the internet and became a star after her photos were posted to Tumblr in November 2011 and later to Reddit. Lil Bub has accumulated 2.4 million followers on Instagram, more than 3 million on Facebook and starred in “Lil Bub & Friendz,” a documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her efforts have also reportedly raised $700,000 for animal charities, according to her human, Mike Bridavsky.
So where’s the Lil Bub that we lub?
Kuma, The Dog With A Blog
Kuma von Clifford, the dog with a blog, was rescued from a shelter in South Los Angeles by human Sarah Clifford. Kuma broke into showbiz with a 2005 TV movie, “McBride: The Chameleon Murder.” In 2012, Kuma would gain perhaps his most noted role as Stan in Disney’s “Dog With a Blog,” a show about a talking dog who blogs about his human family’s high jinks.
Hey, Kuma, what you been blogging about?
Deadline reported the death in November 2018. Kuma suffered from complications from a stroke. He was 16.
Paul, The Predicting Octopus
You don’t want to Messi around with this cephalopod. Paul the octopus became a star of the 2010 World Cup when he accurately predicted match outcomes by choosing a mussel from one of two boxes adorned with the flags of the competing nations. Paul correctly predicted the results of eight matches, including choosing Spain as the winner.
What’s Paul predicting lately?
Nothing. Dead. Octopuses reportedly rarely live beyond two years, and Paul was around 2½ in 2010 when he was discovered dead in his tank.
Tillman, The Skateboarding Dog
Don’t be shifty, Tillman. What are you up to?
Very dead. Tillman suffered from an irregular heartbeat and developed a heart muscle disease. After “lapsing into a sudden bout of labored panting,” he reportedly died en route to the hospital in 2015.
Bento, The Reincarnated Keyboard Cat
Bento was actually the second feline to take up the moniker of Keyboard Cat. His predecessor, Fatso, died in 1987. But Bento was no poser. The pair shared an owner, Charlie Schmidt, and days after Bento was adopted he too was playing the keys.
Bento’s Keyboard Cat videos made him a star in his own right. Since his debut, he gained millions of views and fans online. He even starred in a Wonderful Pistachios commercial.
So let’s get the cat out of the bag. What’s he up to?
Uh, Bento’s dead. He died of cancer in 2018.
Chloe, An #Unfiltered Frenchie
Pardon my Frenchie, but Chloe is one hell of an influencer. The pint-size pooch gathered around 17,000 followers on Instagram, sharing her adventures as she made celebrity appearances and tested the limits of fashion.
You guessed it. Dead. Chloe was reportedly recovering from a routine surgery in 2017 and being held for observation when hospital staff “mis-calibrated an oxygen machine” and damaged the dog’s lungs. She suffered cardiac arrest and died shortly after. She was 4.
Uggie, The Doggie Artist
A professional in every sense of the word, Uggie the Jack Russell terrier left his mark on Hollywood with a co-starring role in the 2011 film “The Artist.” He stole the movie and our hearts. Uggie reportedly won a Palm Dog award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for his work and has left his paw prints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Other notable roles include appearing opposite Reese Witherspoon in 2011′s “Water for Elephants” and Will Ferrell in 2012′s “The Campaign.”
You already know. Dead. His human, animal trainer Omar von Muller, confirmed the news on Facebook in 2015, saying Uggie suffered from a cancerous tumor. He was 13.
Colonel Meow, The Cat-astrophic Dictator
Colonel Meow, a Himalayan–Persian crossbreed, began gathering followers … er … “minions” after his humans made him a Facebook page in 2012. The Colonel Meow Instagram account currently sits close to 300,000 followers, but there’s more than just an intimidating stare that cuts through your soul going on here. Meow also won the Guinness World Record for “cat with the longest fur.”
Where’s the Colonel now?
He’s in the Billiard Room with a lead pipe! No, just kidding. He’s dead.
So what happens meow?
Though it’s been a ruff decade in which many people feel like they’ve aged in dog years, it’s good to acknowledge those that actually have aged that way. Kuma, Colonel Meow, Roger and Grumpy Cat may be gone, but they’ll all live on in the photos and memes they left behind. Still, with new insta-famous furry friends joining the scene every day, the next decade should bring even more animal celebs to celebrate. Plus, famous fur balls such as Doug the Pug, Jiff the Pom and Katie, the monkey from “Friends,” are still around to capture headlines and our hearts.
And for all the others, at least there will always be the meme-ories.