KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — There’s a cat out there with over 1.1 million Instagram followers. Now let that sink in.
Meet Bujibu Chempel, a British Shorthair who turns three tomorrow. Owned by actors Hanis Zalikha and Hairul Azreen, the plump feline was feted to a sumptuous birthday feast hosted by Purina Malaysia.
Bujibu Chempel is, after all, the brand’s ambassador.
Hanis told Malay Mail how Bujibu first came into their lives: “A few years ago, I came across videos of a large and fat breed of cat, which I do not think is common in Malaysia. Being a cat lover, I called up my friend Johan Eskandar, the noted cat breeder.
“He invited the both of us to his studio where we first saw Bujibu who was born in Russia. He had been in Malaysia just two weeks at the time,” she said.
Hanis immediately took to the cuddly cat, adding that even her husband could not help but find Bujibu adorable as well.
“He is not really a cat person, and Bujibu tends to be aloof which suits him fine. Johan was not planning to sell him but gave him to us as a gift when he saw how much we liked him,” she said.
Neither of them expected the cat to become such a huge hit when they first started chronicling his antics on Instagram. Hanis says most of the early photos and videos were of the two cuddling Bujibu.
“I think many found him irresistible from the get-go, as the first few posts were well received. This is probably due to his size, furriness, and indifferent personality.
“From there, things just soared, especially after people started viralling his video exploits. I think many find watching Bujibu frolicking around to be a good stress reliever, hence his popularity,” she said.
Hairul, on the other hand, considers Bujibu to be useful training on how to raise a child.
“He would often wake us up at night so that we can open the door for him and cleaning out his litter box… “
When their first child Yusuf Iskandar, who is now almost two, was born, Hairul felt they were ready to take care of the baby.
Yusuf’s affection for Bujibu is clear as he frequently wraps his arms around the cat who is almost the same size as he is.
“When Yusuf was born, we kept Bujibu outside as we wanted to avoid any complications such as his fur affecting our son’s breathing,
“But no matter what we did, Bujibu would find a way to come in, and position himself beside Yusuf’s cradle like a guardian of sorts,” Hairul said.
The three plus Bujibu are busy with their various work assignments.
“I will be shooting several action films soon, while Yusuf and Hanis have recently been chosen as Anmum’s ambassadors. To top it off, both Bujibu and Yusuf’s reality TV series My Little Heroes is well received,” he said.
As the event was held at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ shelter in Ampang, Hairul added a timely reminder.
“It saddens me to see so many unloved house pets who are abandoned by irresponsible owners on a whim. We encourage people to adopt rather than buy a new pet, but they should only do so with proper knowledge on how to raise a cat as a loved family member, as we do with Bujibu,” he said.