A feral cat in New Jersey. A pack of feral cats attacked a woman and her dog in France.
YouTube screen capture
Thanks to the unstoppable power of the Internet phenomenon known as the cute pet viral video, even animals are getting their crack at the realm of global celebrity. Here are five famous pets who have landed TV appearances, corporate sponsorships, book contracts and even movie deals from their viral video success.
Henri le Chat Noir
Filmed in moody monochrome, the Henri le Chat Noir oeuvre features world-weary feline Henri, a melancholy and terribly serious little cat who reflects upon his world with resigned, existentialist despair. In French. With subtitles."The cardboard box, a comfort to most cats, was my pit of despair," Henri laments in the latest video. "And when I reached the top, it toppled from the weight of my own ennui." Henri le Chat Noir is the brainchild of William Braden, who created the first of the six videos as a student film project. In April, Ten Speed Press released Henri's first book, "Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat."
Giant George, The World's Biggest Dog
For several years, the Great Dane named Giant George held the official Guinness record for tallest dog on the planet -- 43 inches. That's measured at the shoulders, mind you. End-to-end, George is about 7 feet long and 250 pounds. For his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2010, George was given his own row of three seats. "Giant George: Life with the World's Biggest Dog," published in 2012 and written by owner Dave Nasser, earned surprisingly good reviews. Publisher's Weekly: "Startlingly honest and well-written, Giant George's story stands apart from the slew of other dog books on the shelves."
Chris P. Bacon
Born with malformed hind legs, the piglet now known as Chris P. Bacon (sound it out) was saved from euthanasia when Florida veterinarian Len Lucero took pity on the li'l fella. Using spare parts and kids' toys, Lucero built a harness/wheelchair for the piglet and the subsequent videos went viral. That led to a three-book deal with Hay House, publisher of inspirational and self-help books. The titles, to be penned by Dr. Lucero and co-writer Kristina Tracy, are part of Lucero's larger initiative to reach out to and inspire handicapped children. The first book hits shelves this fall.
The stern but fuzzy Internet meme known as Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) made her debut with a simple online pic in late 2012. She's since lent her disapproving visage to a million image macros and online gags. Due to her particularly cranky facial expression (caused by feline dwarfism), Grumpy Cat has become a genuine celebrity, with dozens of TV appearances, various Internet awards, an expanding line of merchandise and -- yes -- a book deal. She's got a movie in the works, too. Producer Todd Garner has optioned Grumpy Cat for a Garfield-style feature film adaptation. “You read all of the memes and the comments, and one is funnier than the next," Garner told Deadline Hollywood. "We think we can build a big family comedy around this character.”
YouTube screen capture
Boo, The World's Cutest Dog
"My name is Boo. I am a dog. Life is good." So reads the digital inscription on the Facebook page of Boo, probably the Internet's single most famous animal. Boo earned celebrity status way back in 2010 when a series of Facebook photos -- either adorably cute or deeply disturbing, depending on your point-of-view -- captured the attention of celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Ke$ha. The Facebook page now has more than 7 million fans and last year Boo was appointed Official Pet Liason for Virgin America Airlines. Boo has endured his share of celebrity tribulations as well, including a Twitter death hoax and the scandalous disclosure that Boo's owner is … wait for it … a Facebook executive. Now a bonafide merchandising force, Boo has since issued several wall calendars, a line of plush toys, a children's ABC primer, and two hardback photo books: "Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog" and last year's "Boo: Little Dog in the Big City."
One more reason to love dogs: A gang of feral cats in France attacked a woman and her poodle, forcing both victims to seek medical attention for their injuries.
The cat-attack occurred Sunday (July 21) near the city of Belfort in eastern France. The 31-year-old woman was walking her dog near a wooded area when six felines set upon her, knocking her to the ground, The Independent reports.
The victim was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital where she was also given an injection for rabies. Her poodle was treated at a nearby veterinary clinic. (10 Amazing Facts About Cats)
Josette Galliot, the mother of the victim, said, "The cats jumped on my daughter and managed to knock her over. They bit her on the leg and on her arms. They even pierced an artery."
"My daughter thought it was a living nightmare. She's still traumatized and is bordering on depression," Galliot said.
Veterinarians and local residents are divided over what may have provoked the feline fury. According to some observers, a recent heat wave in the area may have played a part in the unusual mauling.
Veterinary specialist Valerie Dramard believes the cats were protecting their territory from the poodle, and the woman simply got in the way.
"Cats are not new zombies of the apocalypse," Dramard said reassuringly. "They are just very territorial and unfriendly with unknown species."
But cats are known as aggressive hunters, too: Recent research has revealed that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds, and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals, each year in the United States.
Some wildlife conservationists have even proposed a ban on cats, or at least prohibitions against free-roaming cats. "We have long accepted the fact that you can't let your dog run free, and yet cat owners seem to take offense at the idea that they would be asked to keep their cats indoors," Stanley Temple, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus in conservation, told LiveScience.
About 8,000 feral cats are born every day in France, according to The Independent.
"We must get rid of this scourge," Galliot said. "There are too many cats in the neighborhood, many of which are strays. There are also lots of children here. We don't want it to happen again."
For cat lovers, rest assured: Researchers at the University of Oxford have noted that, while numbers are trickier to come by, domestic dogs are also killers of wildlife and disease-spreaders when they're allowed to roam free outdoors. The scientists' review of past studies on the effect of roaming domestic dogs was detailed this year in the journal Biological Conservation.
This article originally appeared on LiveScience.com. More from LiveScience.com:
The 9 Oddest Medical Case Reports
Image Gallery: Cats that Glow in the Dark
That's Odd! The 10 Weirdest Animal Discoveries
Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.