Though Nala may have a bit more Facebook and Instagram friends and followers than your average kitty, this photogenic feline's story isn't very different from many other shelter cats lucky enough to be adopted into loving homes. When she was just five or six months old, she found herself separated from her original family and in a shelter—a devastating experience for any pet. As a result of her relocation to a shelter, she'd also picked up infections and a respiratory ailment, which is something that commonly occurs with shelter animals. However, things turn a turn for Nala when she first met her human mom who happened to visit the shelter with no intention of adopting!
Needless to say, Nala's charms proved irresistible (how could you turn down those big blue eyes?), and Pookie (her soon-to-be mom) took her home. Pookie began sharing pics of Nala and her adorable facial expressions with her friends and family on Instagram, and before they knew it, the photos spread far and wide, gaining Nala a legion of admirers from around the world! Today the pair is dedicated to spreading the word about the plight of shelter animals everywhere, as well as educating would-be pet parents about the responsibilities of pet ownership before they make the decision to welcome a furry friend into their home. Cuteness recently spoke with Nala about her past life as a shelter kitty, her passion for helping other shelties, her favorite thing about the movie The Lion King (from which her name comes, of course), and much more!
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us. We know how busy the life of a celebrity pet can be! So let's start from the beginning. We understand that you were just a kitten when you chose your adoptive human, Pookie, at the shelter by licking her on the face. Great move, by the way! How did you know that she was the right human for you?
A little kitty has to play her strengths! Shelter life is tough, and I was the last one of my siblings to get adopted. I spent some time alone, but I didn't want to just go with anyone. I'm not sure how I knew, but once we met I felt safe and that I was headed to a loving home with Pookie.
When did you know that you were going to dedicate your life to helping other shelter kitties get adopted into loving homes?
The passion grows from experience, and I believe everything happens for a reason. There are many situations and circumstances that can leave a family broken apart. Now that I have been through that part, I feel that this is my second chance at a happy home, and if I have the opportunity to help others I think this is the least I can do.
Tell us about the cat rescue groups you support and what the rest of us can do to help them out.
I work with many rescue groups to try and get the word out about adoption, and donate a portion of the profits to shelters and charities with the company I have started. I also am working with large companies to get food to sheltered cats. I would say that the best way to help is to learn about adoption, and adopt a cat/kitten but only if you're ready.
We must say that we find you one of the most photogenic celebkitties around—with your adorable moonface and big blue eyes! Was there ever a time when you were camera shy?
You make me blush!! In all honesty Pookie and her sister Ping are the best photographers I know, and it doesn't hurt that they know all my best angles. The only time I get camera shy is when I'm with my fans, but I try my best to give them the best selfies.
You've got a whole lot of fans creating some pretty cool fan art for you, which must be very flattering! How does it feel to have so many admirers all around the world?
It is very flattering!! It feels very surreal, and I still can't believe where I am today. It's more than any cat can ask for.
Since you share the name of Simba's love interest from The Lion King, we assume that you're a fan of the movie/musical? (What cat wouldn't be?!) What's your favorite part of the story?
Very true, I'm a sucker for a rom-com. I don't know how many times I've watched that movie! I think my favorite part would have to be watching Timon and Pumba raise Simba. They're his adoptive family, and it just proves that a family is someone that loves and cares for you, no matter how different you are. I'd be happy for every cat to find their home and family and truly live to the "Hakuna Matata" style.
Finally, what do you like to do to unwind after a long, hard day?
After a long day of work, ! usually run around at 3 in the morning to keep my figure, or play with the printer. There is also this random ominous glowing dot that appears out of nowhere that I have been trying to catch. One day, dot...one day.