Labeled “ugly” as a kitten, this little Scottish Fold boy had a hard time finding a home – until he met the right person. Now he’s known the world over, has millions of fans, and even a cameo in a new movie!
With his big bright eyes, endearingly folded ears and pristine white-and-marmalade coat, Waffles the Scottish Fold is nothing short of adorable. So it’s hard to believe that people called him “ugly” as a kitten, and that no one wanted to adopt him. That is, until Laine Lee entered the picture.
“We were looking for a dog and we happened to visit a country house that had many, many animals – dogs, cats and even a peacock,” says Laine. “As we explored, we came across one young cat who greeted us and started licking our hands. As we felt a connection forming between us and the cat, the owner told us he was a Scottish Fold and seven months old, and while his siblings had all found homes, he was the runt and not desirable. We ended up not getting a dog for another two years, because that day we came home with the cat instead!”
Laine and her partner named their new friend Waffles, and soon found he had a loving, playful and patient personality. “Waffles is the sweetest friend anyone could ask for,” says Laine. “He likes being around us, sharing the couch with us as we watch TV, and when we come home from work, he’ll drop everything he’s doing to come to the door and greet us. He has a lot of natural charisma.”
As Waffles matured, he grew even cuter, and Laine’s friends asked for more pictures of him. “We started posting photos on Facebook to journal his life,” Laine explains. “Waffles does so many funny things that we want to capture every moment of them. In the beginning it was just our friends looking at the photos, but very quickly we noticed the number of ‘likes’ on the page rising way higher than all our friends combined. It wasn’t until Waffles had more than a 100,000 followers that we realized that something special was happening.”
Since then, Waffles’ Facebook following has exploded to almost 2,500,000, and he also has a large presence on Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites, as well as his own website. His skyrocketing popularity has attracted attention from the media, including People magazine (“even though I am not a people”, quips his website). He also has a cameo appearance in the new movie Nine Lives, starring Kevin Spacey, Robbie Amell and Christopher Walken. And last year he was invited to travel with Laine from their home in California to Austin, Texas to attend South by Southwest, an annual set of film, interactive media, and music festivals.
“Never did we imagine that a cat, especially our cat, would be wanted to attend an event,” laughs Laine. “Seeing so many people lining up to see Waffles in person was both a shock and an awesome event within itself.”
Not surprisingly, Waffles has his own line of merchandise, available through his website. Items include a calendar, posters, a pin and a keychain. “Besides being cute, Waffles is packed with silliness through his playful yet lazy personality. All the funny things he does inspire us to share those moments. The creative process is also fun and inspiring, and when the subject is Waffles it’s even more enjoyable!”
Laine also likes to give back. “We love big cats as much as domestic cats, so we donate to the World Wildlife Fund,” she says. “We’re especially interested in the endangered wildlife that doesn’t get as much attention, like clouded leopards and snow leopards.”
At home, five-year-old Waffles enjoys a life of love and pampering. He even has his own sauna! “Waffles has a sniffly nose, so on the vet’s advice, we fashioned what we call our ‘cat sauna’, a customized fish tank with a nebulizer attached. This helps loosen the mucus in his nose. We have it in the living room so he can hang out with us while he enjoys his sauna.”
“Waffles has been such a blessing in our lives,” Laine adds. “We used to be afraid of cats and thought they weren’t as cool or loyal as dogs, but we’ve learned otherwise. Cats just like to show their affection is their own unique ways, and it’s something we’ve grown to appreciate more and more.” Given how popular Waffles has become, it seems millions of others feel the same way!