I am thrilled to introduce Niko, a handsome, successful Norwegian forest cat who made it in the modeling business in Rio de Janeiro. His striking tuxedo markings make him recognizable as Sylvester from Loony Tunes. He freelances with Pet Models Brazil and is currently the face of Le Chat Gourmet. Today we interview his beautiful and devoted mother Tany, who works at a bank in a managerial role and whose ancestors came to Brazil in 1940s. She talks about the demands of raising and loving a feline star as well as her dreams for Niko's future.
MJN: How old was Niko when he came to live with you? Did you know right away that he had modeling potential?
Tany: He was 5 months old. Everybody liked him, and people wanted to take pictures with him.
MJN: What kind of audition process did he have to go through in order to register with the pet agency?
Tany: He was invited by the same agency that works with his "sister", a Maine Coon who appeared in several magazines. The money he makes goes towards his toys, food, grooming supplies.
MJN: What personality traits do pet models need to have in order to succeed in the industry?
Tany: Good behavior and patience.
MJN: Do you have any other pets in the house? Does Niko get along with them?
Tany: Yes he has a "sister" that I mentioned earlier. He loves to interact with her, but she doesn’t like it so much
MJN: Did you ever decline a project because you had moral objections to it or worried about Niko's safety?
Tany: There were several instances I had to decline a project: distance, potential stress for the cat, long hours etc...
MJN: Did anyone ever ask you to cut Niko's fur for a job?
Tany: Never, and I would never let that happen.
MJN: What are some of Niko's favorite toys? Does he have a strong hunting instinct?
Tany: He likes his toy mouse, cat toys on a stick and the cat scratcher lounge.
MJN: What would be your dream project for Niko? Can you think of a brand that you would like him to work for?
Tany: I would love to put him in a TV commercial, TV series, pet advertising (food, shampoo, etc..), school material (notebook, case, bag, etc...), clothes, even on a coffee mug or postcard. About the brand I would love to work with is Royal Canin or Hills Science Plan, Looney Tunes (as Sylvester the cat). Back in the 80s a Norwegian forest cat was the Whiskas official model, so I would like to work with them too.
MJN: How much longer do you think Niko can work in the modeling business?
Tany: At least another 6-8 years.