The Beginning

If you would’ve asked me a year ago what my life would have been like today, I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years it would be what Brimley has transformed it into.

I’ve never been a cat person. I grew up with bulldogs, and developed a strong love for goofy-looking animals. I never knew Persian / smoosh-face cats even existed until around Thanksgiving last year, when I was linked to a picture of one online. After discovering the breed, I couldn’t get enough and wanted to meet one in person, so I did a Google search for “Persian rescue in Seattle” and was soon on the phone with Alex at SPHR.

IMG_20141126_113306Brimley came from a breeder at a young age, where after major eye problems were discovered that required surgery, both his eyes were sewn shut instead to bide time for more breeding. By the time he got to SPHR, he had so much goop caked all over his face and chest that rescuers didn’t even know his eyes were sewn shut. Just two days later, his eyes were opened up and I was invited to visit him. After hearing what he’d gone through, I figured there was no way he’d be trusting of new people again.

To my surprise, as soon as I walked into the room I was greeted with a fluffy (mostly) white cat coming right up to me for attention, welcoming me with loud purrs. I couldn’t believe it.

I fell in love with Brimley right away and applied to foster him while he got better. The rescuers were careful to not get my hopes up, letting me know that with his corneal sequestrum infections, there was a good chance he’d lose one or both eyes. I brought him home and began his twice-daily eye drops, eye ointment, oral medication, and painkillers. Along with this, we began weekly baths with whitening shampoo and daily cleaning / grooming sessions to restore his beautiful coat.

Brimley started showing miraculous improvement within the next month. The absolute best-case scenario happened, and his corneal sequestrum flaked off his eye with treatment, meaning he wouldn’t need surgery. His coat had begun to shine, he’d become confident in himself all around my apartment, and he was truly on the road to recovery. I knew I was going to adopt Brimley the day I brought him home, but I was also finally able to make it official now.

Rise to Stardom

pEAZa6OOne lucky day, I caught a picture of Brimley sleeping on my feet while I was relaxing on the couch, his head pulled back with a massive smile on his face. It was one of the most hilarious and ridiculous pictures I’d ever seen, so I posted it to Reddit where it got a tremendous response.

After seeing the response he got on Reddit, I decided to make Brimley an Instagram profile. I only used Instagram to follow cute animals anyway, and rarely posted, so I figured at the very least it would be a good outlet for all the pictures I was talking of him to avoid bombarding my friends with cat picture texts all the time. His following quickly got up to the hundreds… then the thousands…

Animal Planet

Once his Instagram following began to solidify, I got a comment on one of his posts from an Animal Planet producer, asking to get in touch about a potential show opportunity. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!

The show in question was called America’s Next Cat Star. I was invited to enter Brimley in the contest, and see if I could give some other rising internet stars a run for their money. Shortly after submitting Brimley and his story, I was informed he was a top 5 finalist and Animal Planet would be sending a camera crew out to my apartment to film him!

IMG_20150308_113015The camera crew visited for an entire Sunday, filming every part of our daily routine several times to make sure they had good footage for the show. It was exhausting, but fun, and Brimley did an amazing job with all the attention. Sure enough, a few weeks later, I was told Brimley was the winner of America’s Next Cat Star, and Animal Planet would be flying us out to visit their studios in NYC!

We booked our flight and Brimley rode right along with me in the cabin to visit the studios and enjoy a vacation in New York. Soon after, the show aired on Animal Planet and highlighted his amazing rescue story. This was when his popularity online completely skyrocketed.

Next Steps

12045671_1709606072593621_6578546941191943949_oAs of writing this post, Brimley is over 25k¬†followers on Instagram alone. It’s been an amazing (and sometimes exhausting) ride keeping up with his social media.

I am on a mission to use his popularity to help out Seattle Persian and Himalayan Rescue so they can continue to do the amazing work they do to save lives. Follow Brimley on Instagram or Facebook (both links are on his website) and keep an eye out for fundraiser events, and other meet-and-greet opportunities coming up to help raise money and awareness for rescuing!

Thank you,
R.J.