Sunday 21 July 2019

As grumpy cat wins €570k lawsuit, these are the pets that have made their owners millions

Grumpy Cat arriving at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles.
Grumpy Cat arriving at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles.

Sophie Christie

Tardar Sauce – better known as Grumpy Cat, the sour-faced puss which rose to Internet stardom five years' ago – has won a $710,000 (€572,000) payout in a copyright case in California.

Grumpy Cat Limited sued the owners of US coffee company Grenade for breach of contract after the store used the cat's image on several of its products, despite only having an agreement to use the cat for its "Grumppuccino" iced drink.

The damages will be paid to Grumpy Cat's owner Tabatha Bundesen, who has already made a mint from her pet, which was born with dwarfism and an underbite. In 2014, it was reported she had made £64m (€73.5m) from an array of commercial deals and products, including bestselling books and a film.

Grumpy Cat looks as cheesed off as ever at book launch (Generated thumbnail)

Ms Bundesen later said the figure was "inaccurate" although she refused to disclose her pet's true income.

Grumpy Cat is one of a number of pets to have earned their owners a fortune. In the age of the Internet, it has become easier for pet owners to show-off their cute and quirky animals, with many going on to secure lucrative merchandise and sponsorship deals. Below, we look at some of the pets that made their owners rich.


'Eddie' from Frasier – $3.2m (€2.3m)

Moose, known on screen as Eddie, was the Parson Russell Terrier in TV sitcom Frasier, which won the role after six months of training. His ability to fix Kelsey Grammer, who played the titular character, with a long, hard stare – which became a running joke on the programme – contributed to him being hired.

Kelsey Grammer, Peri Gilpin, Jane Leeves, John Mahoney, and David Hyde Pierce star in the NBC series "Fraiser."

Moose reportedly earned $10,000 (€8,000) per episode of the show, which ran for 10 years, giving him a net worth of around $3.2m (2.3m). In 2006, he died at the age of ​16, leaving his fortune to his owner Mathilde Halberg, a Los Angeles dog trainer.


Pal – $2.7m (€2.18m) a year

Pal was the male Rough Collie who portrayed the fictional female collie Lassie in film and TV. His first film was Lassie Come Home, which was followed by six more MGM Lassie films.

Elizabeth Taylor and Lassie in Lassie Come Home

During his career, Pal earned a reported $4,000 (€3,230) a week, which today would equate to around $51,000 a week, or $2.7m (€2.18m) a year. He died aged 18 in 1958, with his fortune passing to his owner Rudd Weatherwax.


Boo the Pomeranian – $1m a year (€800,000)

Boo, the 11-year-old Pomeranian that became an Internet sensation in 2010, has 17 million followers on Facebook. He became famous when a picture of him went viral.

this was 5 years ago today when human used to put me through neck and ear workout drills. totally normal.

Posted by Boo on Saturday, October 28, 2017

Upon reaching five million Facebook followers, publishers offered Boo's owner a deal for a picture book called Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog, which retails for £8.99 (€10).

In 2012, Boo became an ambassador for Virgin America in charge of "official pet liaison", starring in campaigns intended to give advice to people travelling with their pets.

Boo reportedly earns around $1m a year for his owner Irene Ahn.


Lil Bub – $20,000 (€16,100) a year

Another Internet celebrity, Lil Bub has an extreme form of feline dwarfism and her tongue always hangs out of her mouth because of her short lower jaw and toothlessness.

The six-year-old cat is owned by Mike Bridavsky, who sells a variety of merchandise, such as toys, mugs, calendars and tote bags. She has also appeared in film and TV, and does several "meet and greets" with fans each year.

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wonky squonk #lilbub

A post shared by Lil BUB (@iamlilbub) on

While the amount of money that Lil Bub has earned for her owner has never been disclosed, it’s thought she earns up to $20,000 a year from YouTube royalties alone. The earnings are high enough that Mr Bridavsky was able to quit his day job and donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to animal charities.


Pudsey the dog – £1m (€1.15m)

Pudsey and his owner Ashleigh won the sixth series of Britain's Got Talent in 2012 thanks to their dog trick and dancing act, launching the male Border Collie, Bichon Frise and Chinese Crested Powderpuff cross to stardom.

He subsequently featured in several TV talent shows, as a contestant and judge, theatre performances, and even starred in his own film Pudsey: The Movie which was released in 2014.

Ashleigh and Pudsey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Pudsey was euthanised in July last year after he was found to have terminal blood cancer. During his lifetime, he reportedly earned £1m, of which £500,000 (€574,470) came from the Britain's Got Talent prize, £150,000 (€172,340)was a fee to appear in panto, and the remainder came from a book deal worth £350,000 (€402,000).


Crystal the monkey – $108,000 (€87,000)

Crystal, the 23-year-old female capuchin monkey and animal actor, has starred in films including Night at the Museum, Zookeeper and The Hangover Part II. She also played Dr. Rizzo on the sitcom Animal Practice.


Crystal was paid $12,000 (€9,680) per episode for Animal Practice, around $108,000 altogether as the show only aired for nine episodes. Her other earnings have not been reported, but are expected to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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