Atlanta animal shelter makes the front page of Reddit with viral cat ad

A low (make that no)-budget video shot on the fly to promote Furkids, an Atlanta animal shelter, scored a huge social-media triumph when it made the front page of Reddit today. It’s now been viewed more than 1 million times.

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The video stars Paul Preston, a contractor with a rental property management company, as a cat commentator eager to move some furry merchandise. (“You like black cats? We got the blackest cats you’ve ever seen. It’s like midnight inside a coffin over here!”) At the end he warbles “Angel,” the song Sarah McLachlan sings much more somberly in those tear-jerking ASPCA ads. Irreverent? Yes. But hilarious, too. See the video below.

Paul’s not a professional comedian (yet) but likes to make funny videos for his family and friends. His sister Helen Preston, a Furkids volunteer, came up with the idea for a cat commercial and Nicole Neill, Furkids’ adoption team manager, got on board.

Helen has an early cameo as the woman who’s had it with goldfish as pets. Nicole appears as a human embodiment of those inflatable wavy-arm things in front of car dealerships (is there an actual word for it?) Anyway, the trio teamed up with some of the shelter’s residents for the commercial, which is almost entirely improv.

High five!

High five!

“If we’d done any of this intentionally none of it would have been possible,” Paul said. At one point, a cat actually high-fives him on cue. No one was more surprised than he – note his expression of delight.

The video was released on Christmas Eve and had logged maybe a few dozen views when someone posed it to Reddit and fellow users bumped it to the front page – a notoriously tough achievement, given Reddit’s mercurial ways. Since then the video has gone gangbusters and donations have started arriving. The roughly 300 shelter residents still all need a home, though.

“For three hours’ worth of labor and a couple of cans of cat food, that’s a heck of a payoff for such a low investment,” Paul said. “I’m pleased with myself!”

Nicole and everyone at Furkids have been thrilled with the response, but now Reddit has issued a challenge. “We’re going to do a dog one next,” she said. “The pressure’s on!”

For now, here’s the catchy cat ad:

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