Portland’s OwlKitty stars in movies like ‘Titanic’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ on YouTube
Tibo Charroppin knew his cat Lizzy was a movie star.
“She’s such a diva, to begin with,” he said of his young cat, as he sat in his living room in late March, with her in his lap.
Her older cat, Juliette, isn’t so keen on the limelight.
The Portland-based video editor began putting Lizzy, also known as OwlKitty for her owl eyes at night, in videos in late 2018.
“I’ve worked from home as a video editor for a long time,” Charroppin said. “She was always in my face, wanting attention and I always loved making little videos for friends and family.”
So he and his now wife Olivia Boone started a YouTube channel dedicated to making videos of Lizzy. But it wasn’t enough.
“I have this green screen, I have this really, really cute cat,” he recalled saying. “Let’s do something funny.”
So, using his songwriting skills, he began putting her in famous movie scenes, starting with the tyrannosaurus rex in “Jurassic Park.”
This first video was a success.
“I remember waking up and showing Olivia and it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re getting like 5,000 subscribers overnight.'”
So they decided to make another one. And another.
Lizzy was Rose in “Titanic,” hung out with the gang at “The Office,” and was home alone with Kevin in “Home Alone.”
OwlKitty has two million subscribers on YouTube and another million each on Instagram and Facebook.
Charroppin tries to mix up the kind of scenes he does, giving Lizzy fans a variety of clips to watch. Still, he says, he finds the most viral videos are the classics.
He films them all in his home, using green screen and any good light he can find in different rooms. It’s a painstaking process of erasing the existing film and putting various videos of Lizzy in its place.
“And then of course there’s the management of Lizzy and her mood,” Charroppin said. “So it’s like, is she playing right now? Is she just hungry enough to want a treat? Is she well-rested, but not too hip? Depending on what I was supposed to do that day, it can be very short.”
In that way, of course, it’s really like working with a movie star.
Due to copyright laws, more often than not, Charroppin said they couldn’t monetize OwlKitty videos. They sell merchandise and monetize behind-the-scenes videos. And they promote with Cat Adoption Team to promote adoption, the organization from which they adopted Lizzy.
“You’ll never see Lizzy on a can of cat food – she’d be beautiful – but if we can use her fame for a good cause, it’s cat adoption,” Charroppin said.
“It’s better to find a cat that needs a home — because there are so many — than to go to a breeder,” he said. “There are enough cats for everyone in this world.”