Just over a year ago JJ Yosh posted his first TikTok of his rescue cat Simon swimming, jumping, and kayaking in a lake. To viewers surprise, JJ began sharing more of Simon’s favorite hobbies including camping, playing in the snow, backpacking, and even taking jacuzzis!
Simon’s fearlessness and his steadfast adoration for his owner quickly launched the pair to TikTok fame — as their special relationship idealized many cat owners’ dreams.
JJ Yosh and his now 4 year-old Bombay cat Simon have over 3 million followers on TikTok and over 80.1 million likes.
Read about the adventurous duos start to TikTok fame, advice to hopeful pet influencers, and learn Simon’s favorite treats here:
1. Why TikTok? What inspired you to create a TikTok channel and what has been the most rewarding part of your TikTok fame?
I saw TikTok as a growing platform last year and wanted to get involved as it was starting to take off in the United States. My favorite part is how easy it is to grow — which is fun! Instagram can sometimes be a lot harder to get good engagement.
2. Why do you think your videos with Simon appeal to so many people?
Because they love seeing a cat with such a human-like personality and also a cat that goes on adventures. There are a lot of cats on social media but not many that go hiking, biking, and kayaking! Also, I think our unique relationship adds value as well. People are able to relate to their connection with their feline pets through Simon and me.
3. What’s the most important factor when deciding which brands or charities to partner with?
Brands or charities my audience will find interesting, ones I personally want to engage with in a post or video, and/or products or companies I’ve organically used in the past.
4. Was there a specific point in time when your following exploded, or was it a gradual build? How did you decide to commit yourself full-time to social media?
My Instagram took a while to gradually grow, but my cat Simon’s took off and grew very fast and has been catching up to mine. And as a result I gain followers from his followers!
Simon’s TikTok exploded almost immediately. After about 6 months he was gaining a hundred thousand followers on some days.
I decided to do social media full-time after I landed a few good paid campaigns in 2016, and it seemed like a better business to be in than anything else I’d done before.
5. Do you have any advice or tips for people wanting to start their own pet channels on social media?
You need to post almost every day very regularly and have something unique your pet is known for.
Simon is just another black cat but with his colorful harnesses he’s instantly recognizable as “Simon, BackpackingKitty”.
A lot of famous cats and dogs have interesting physical features, or are very beautiful in their own ways (which always helps).
Lightning Round Questions:
6. Simon’s favorite outfit
I think he likes his yellow harness the best because it matches his eyes!
7. What’s the coolest trick that your cat can do?
He gives me high-fives and kisses on command.
8. What’s your favorite activity to do with Simon?
I love camping with him!
9. Simon’s favorite treat?
He loves to steal my shrimp or sashimi.