Monday, December 8, 2014

This 29-year-old was a waitress — then she got a cat with dwarfism, quit her job, and became a multi-millionaire

By Alyson Shontell

(Business Insider) Tabatha Bundesen, 29, is the owner of feline internet sensation Grumpy Cat. She lives in Arizona.

Grumpy Cat has a form of dwarfism and an underbite that yields a perpetual frown.

On Sept. 22, 2012, Bundesen's brother changed her life.

Bundesen was working as a waitress. Her brother took a photo of her peeved-looking cat and posted it to Reddit. The photo went viral and Grumpy Cat quickly became a meme, with recognition on sites like BuzzFeed and CNBC. It earned more than 1 million views on Imgur within 48 hours.

Here are the original pictures posted of Grumpy Cat:

The fame allowed Bundesen to quit serving tables.

"I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media and the phone simply hasn't stopped ringing since," she tells The Telegraph.

In two years, Bundesen has generated nearly $100 million from Grumpy Cat's paid appearances, book deals, and modeling career, according to The Telegraph (Bundesen tells Huffington Post that amount is inaccurate, but doesn't say if it's high or low). Bundesen believes Grumpy Cat is "unstoppable."

"We knew she was extremely unique, but we didn't know she would be this magnitude of special," Bundesen said at Grumpy Cat's second-birthday party in April.

"I'm used to working every day, so this is a huge routine change," Bundesen said. "You don't have to have a routine when you have to take pictures of the cat."

Another perk: "I'm getting to travel ... we get to see my family that lives in different parts of the country more often," Bundesen told Phoenix Business Journal in an interview. "It's really awesome that Grumpy Cat can spread to joy to so many people — and she's a cat."

Grumpy Cat was born in Bundesen's home. Grumpy Cat has a brother named Pokey.


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