Q&A with the Creator of YouTube Sensation 'Simon's Cat'
When your new kitten paws at you to feed him, it's usually not worth sharing with the world. But Simon Tofield thought otherwise. Inspired by his own three cats at his Bedfordshire, England home, Tofield, 38, creates line-drawn films depicting the hilarious relationship between a man and his ever-hungry feline companion.
Thanks to YouTube and more than 30 million viewers around the world, the films are now an Internet sensation and fodder for Tofield's new book "Simon's Cat." The paperback came out just last month, but Tofield is already hard at work on a second title due next year. Tofield took some time away from the drafting table to talk to Paw Nation.
So when did you fall for cats?
My first cat was a tiny barn kitten I found in a stable when I was nine years old. I wanted so badly to keep it and I was crying for weeks before my mum finally said I could have her.
But you've got more cats now...
Yeah. Jess is about nine years old and she's a real lap cat. She's never more than a meter away. Then there's Maisie, a lovely marked gray tabby who's seven, and Hugh, who's two. I thought two cats was enough, but it didn't take too much persuasion to convince me to get Hugh. But he was worth it -- he started the whole "Simon's Cat" phenomenon.
He's the inspiration for your films?
He was my first ever boy cat and the inspiration for my first film, "Cat Man Do." He was on top of me one day, pawing at me and trying to get my attention for a long while before I finally got up to feed him. As soon as I got up, he just jumped off like he knew he was getting what he had been after. I just thought, "That's brilliant! That'd be great to animate!"
Are all your films based on real experiences with your pets?
I like to base them on reality. It's important that you put things in there that cat owners can relate to, like cats' mannerisms. Great cartoons have to be based on realisms that appeal to people. That's the secret.