Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Who put this cheeseburger on my cat?

Wacky Web sites are nothing new. If they're lucky they'll get lots of hits and maybe even some coverage in the mainstream media. But the oddball photo site called "Stuff on My Cat" has taken on a life of its own (or would that be nine lives?)

The name says it all: the site contains photos of cats with all kinds of, well, *stuff* on them. I first heard of the site about a year ago when I saw a photo on the Internet of a cat sitting on all fours with one of those clear plastic salad-bar trays on its back–full of salad, of course. The Web site's owner started the site by putting things on his own cat, from office supplies to spare PC parts. Then the viewer-submitted photos started rolling in.

The Web site has featured all manner of cat-stuff photos since then, from cats wearing cutesy outfits like pirate get-up and baby clothes, to Christmas lights, a cheeseburger, and helmets made from an orange and an eggplant. According to Publisher's Weekly, the site has received more than 17 million hits since its launch less than a year and a half ago, and it was named one of the coolest sites of the year by Yahoo and GQ

The "Stuff on My Cat" juggernaut has now moved into the publishing industry with a book of the same name featuring photos from the Web site. Publisher Chronicle Books supposedly went through the first printing of 45,000 copies faster than a cat running from a garden hose, and another 15,000 copies are on the way. For its next act the publisher is now asking for booksellers to submit their best photo of a stuff-laden cat, with judging taking into account three categories, says Publisher's Weekly: "(1) funniest/cutest; (2) most literary and (3) the most shamelessly promoting Chronicle Books."

And there's more "Stuff" besides the book: the Stuff on My Cat Page-a-Day Calendar (and wall calendar), as well as a box of postcard featuring "Stuff" photos. What's next, Stuff: the TV Series?

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