Courtesy of Rachel Braunigan
Nigel Kidd is giving the people what they want.
Recognize that last name? Nigel, 10, is the younger brother of Gideon Kidd, the 12-year-old mastermind behind the I've Pet That Dog phenomenon on Twitter and Instagram. Now, Nigel has made it a bit of a family business: He's the youngster behind the newly christened I've Pet That Cat accounts on Twitter and Instagram.
In the same style as his brother, Nigel posts a photo of his featured cats or kittens he'd like to pet along with a small vignette about the cats' personalities and what they like to do. He launched the accounts in November after a guest appearance on I've Pet That Dog for National Cat Day.
After that, people kept sending in their cat photos. Nigel and his mom, Rachel Braunigan, had previously talked about starting cat accounts, but he wasn't sold on the idea at first. But that was before the tidal wave of cat photos.
"I just thought that it might just be time because they're still sending in pictures when I hadn't even said that I would start the account," Nigel told Daily Paws.
Nigel is a big-time cat guy. Between his mom's and dad's houses, he spends time with five of them: Fred, Cherry, Meowzer, Pizza, Blanco, and Toffee. He loves that they play with him and provide tons of entertainment but then calm down and cuddle or sleep in his lap.
Fred, for instance, likes to come visit Nigel in his room, scratching on the door to let in before joining him on the bed to snuggle.
While Gideon—in non-pandemic times—is able to find dogs to pet around their hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Nigel knows he might not get to meet all the primarily indoor cats he features. But he still enjoys sharing their photos and stories.
"I think what I like most about them is getting to know and learning about all these amazing and funny cats, how they're each unique in their own way," he says.
Watching his brother post over the past few years showed Nigel how to run his account. So far, he's probably received thousands of photos of cats to be featured. All of them are "amazing," he says, mentioning trouble-making kittens like Thor and Loki and the mischievous Tacocat as some of his early favorites.
I've Pet That Cat is still in its early days after launching in November, so Nigel doesn't know if he'll explore merchandise options like his brother, but he still has a goal during pandemic days that are sometimes isolating and disheartening: spreading joy.
"Times are difficult and there's so much going on that little happy things help, and I think that was a reason that it helps Nigel, and he can bring something happy to the world, too," Braunigan says.
It also gives Nigel and his mom something to do each day. With Nigel launching his accounts, Braunigan has found herself even more busy with her secondary job: overseeing both her son's wildly popular social media accounts. Exactly what she imagined with kids, right?
"Absolutely not," she says with laughter. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this."