A cat from Salford is the star of the UK’s most watched TikTok of 2021.
Mia the Cat, a 15-month-old Persian, has received 185million views on a video of her completing a series of obstacle courses made from paper cups and cardboard.
Dmytro Vnukov, who owns Mia with his wife Julia, said: “It’s amazing.
“To be honest, we didn’t expect it at all.
“Obviously, it’s very difficult to compete with other people on TikTok or any other social media because some of them just have ridiculous views.
“I think it was difficult for us to comprehend and realise it for a day or two.”
Dmytro and Julia began playing games with Mia after collecting her in October 2020 and realising that she was not an ‘extremely agile’ cat.
The couple uploaded videos of their pet navigating mazes to YouTube, but they never intended for her to become a viral sensation.
Dmytro, a quantitative developer, explained: “We started as a family archive.
“My wife loves to take pictures and make videos, so it’s easier for her to remember and come back to her memories, so she was doing that with the cat.
“We started as a fun thing on TikTok and Instagram, but then we started getting some views, and we wanted to make better quality content and do something interesting with the cat.
“She’s also an indoor cat, so we wanted to stimulate her so that she’d get a little better at jumping and doing everything cats usually do, and that’s how the challenges started.”
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Since gaining a following, Mia, whose posts are mostly produced by Julia, has featured in many TikTok trends and videos advertising pet-friendly products.
Dmytro says he and his wife try to make sure their @mmeowmmia platforms ‘won’t let anyone down in terms of the content and how everything looks and works’ now they have a large audience.
He reflected: “I wouldn’t say we feel pressured as such, but it definitely feels different.
“We didn’t make it for the views initially.
“It was a great way to spend time together, and then it became not only fun but also a great opportunity for us.
“We try to invest what we get from the views and our sponsorship videos back, so we’re buying different things like lights and stuff, so that we can get better.”
Going into 2022, Mia might not be the only famous feline in Dmytro and Julia’s house.
He said: “We’re looking to get another cat probably next year and a parrot.
“We’re a little cautious about a parrot because we’ll have two cats, but that’s our main plan going forward.
“We’ll try to do a separate account for the cat, and you know there are different TikTok houses?
“We’d do a cat house essentially – Meow House!”