Grumpy Cat leaves behind a beloved legacy and a profitable business.
Feline celebrity Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Sauce, died last week from a urinary tract infection, her owners shared on Friday. The cat, who was 7, first rose to fame after a photo of her went viral via Reddit in 2012.
In the years that followed, she became one of the most recognizable animals in the world. As a result, it has entered into marketing agreements with companies ranging from Honey Nut Cheerios GIS,
and Friskies NSRGY,
cat food and starred in a TV movie where she was voiced by actress Aubrey Plaza. Her likeness was featured on hundreds of products sold on her online store and she was a popular figure at fan conventions.
While her bittersweet appearance has delighted millions of fans around the world, her death will bring more than just grief to her owner, Tabatha Bundesen. It will also represent a major financial setback.
Pet life insurance does exist, but it is a rarely offered product and would be of little help to the owners of a famous dog or kitten. It is not designed to cover lost financial opportunities related to pets that also serve as income generators for their owners.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” said Loni Edwards, lawyer and founder of The Dog Agency, a New York-based management agency that represents pet influencers. “As these pet influencers die, there’s not much you can do. “
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Bundesen has been silent on Grumpy Cat’s net worth over the years, in addition to disputing reports that the feline was worth $ 99.5 million.
The owners of Grumpy Cat, however, were awarded more than $ 700,000 after winning a lawsuit against a coffee company that violated a licensing agreement by using the image of the cat on more than one of its products.
According to Edwards, even a less popular animal influencer can earn anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 15,000 for a sponsored social media post if they have more than 100,000 followers. Grumpy Cat had amassed millions of Twitter TWTR followers,
and Instagram FB,
“They can’t do new campaigns or promote new products,” Edwards said. “It’s similar to what would happen if a human celebrity were killed. You can allow their likeness, but, in terms of making new movies and new offerings, this has been closed. “
(MarketWatch has contacted Bundesen and the Grumpy Cat agent for comment, but has not received a response.)
Pet life insurance won’t help you if your furry baby gets famous
Pet life insurance does nothing like its human equivalent. Rather than covering a loss of income, it simply covers the value of the animal and what it would cost to replace the animal. There’s a good reason: Companion cats live an average of 13 to 17 years, according to the ASPCA, while companion dogs can live an average of 10 to 15 years or more, depending on breed and size.
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On the death of a pet, the pet life insurance policy would pay only the amount that the owner would need to spend to get a new pet based on the price paid in the first place or the current cost of the pet. the breed, according to the insurance website TrustedChoice. It may also cover funeral or cremation costs, depending on the policy.
“Pet life insurance only covers the cost of replacing an animal, not the associated loss of income.“
This is because the law treats pets as property. “Your dog is basically treated like a table under the law,” Edwards said. “It’s crazy – these are living creatures that breathe. The law has not caught up with their role in society and the way we perceive them.
As such, pet life insurance is better suited to situations involving service animals than celebrity pets or show-bred animals, and the average pet owner. must stay away.
Plus, pet life insurance can have many exclusions, according to the Policygenius insurance website. It will not cover losses resulting from the death of a dog of old age or from an inherited disease; instead, it would only apply in situations such as accidents, thefts or sudden illnesses.
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Edwards experienced what the owners of Grumpy Cat will soon face. Her beloved miniature French bulldog Chloe died in 2017 allegedly following a vet error.
Before moving on, Chloe had attracted more than 178,000 followers on Instagram. Edwards is still filing a complaint against the vet clinic and couldn’t reveal how much money she made from Chloe.
““They are living creatures that breathe. The law has not caught up with their role in society and the way we view them.“
However, since there was no adequate insurance, she had to consider recouping her losses as if it were a business loss. This involved hiring an economist to produce a report calculating Chloe’s lost future income based on her income at the time of her death and her expected lifespan based on her health and race.
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Along with his clients, which include Chihuahua mix Tuna and pit bull Rescue Chase, Edwards advises them to purchase pet health insurance to cover the cost of vet visits and medical procedures. And TrustedChoice advises setting up a savings account rather than investing in pet life insurance.
Additionally, Edwards is working with the Animal Legal Defense Fund on a grassroots initiative to persuade lawmakers to pursue legislation that would classify these animals as other than property.
“These animals have distinct personalities and characteristics that have made them loved by millions of people,” Edwards said. “You can’t replace one human with another human. “