In 2017, you didn’t need to bother trying to make it as corporate CEO, professional football player or Hollywood star if you wanted to be rich. You could just have had a dog with an Instagram account.
That’s right. Plenty of pets are bringing home the bacon for their owners these days. While private income is, well, private, we can make a good guess at which animals were high-earners in 2017. Here are 10 that are surely making bank.
1. Grumpy Cat
Hands down, Grumpy Cat is the cash cow of modern pets. She is that unhappy-looking cat you see in oh so many internet memes. And her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, has taken that dour expression and parlayed it into so much more with merchandising and sponsorship deals aplenty.
In 2014, news reports surfaced that Grumpy Cat (who goes by the name Tardar Sauce in her private life) had made her owner nearly $100 million. Bundesen denied those claims, but since you can get everything from Grumpy Cat calendars to Grumpy Cat PJs, we’re sure she’s not hurting for money.
On the canine side of social media fame, we find Boo. This seriously cute little Pomeranian with a puffball haircut has 17 million followers on Facebook alone. His webpage gushes that he’s the cutest and most famous dog in the world.
According to some reports, Boo brings his owner $1 million a year. We can’t verify whether that’s true, but it’s probably not a stretch. Like Grumpy Cat, Boo has licensed his image for plenty of products and has even inked a book deal.
3. Crystal the Monkey
Ok, so this might not be a pet you’d have at your house, but some people do have primate companions so we’ll include her on the list. Crystal has been acting since 1997 and became something of a star with major roles in “Night at the Museum” and “The Hangover: Part II.” For more details, see her Facebook page.
When it comes to money, Crystal may have peaked in 2012 when she earned $12,000 an episode for the series “Animal Practice,” according to a report by Vanity Fair. However, she’s probably always just one zany comedy away from her next big payday.
4. Lil Bub
Part bulging eyes, part perpetually hanging tongue, the appeal of Lil Bub is hard to describe. The cat, who has 3 million Facebook fans, looks like she was caught in the middle of lapping up some milk. In fact, Lil Bub, the runt of her litter, was born with several genetic anomalies. She has an extreme form of feline dwarfism and a short jaw and toothlessness that give her face a unique appearance, but owner Mike Bridavsky says she’s a happy, healthy cat.
Fans can head to The Bub Store where socks, blankets and toys await. Being a rescue cat herself, Lil Bub is all about giving back. So far, the feline philanthropist has donated $300,000 to the ASPCA since 2012 which we’ll assume means she made her owner a whole lot more.
5. Bodhi, the Menswear Dog
Some mornings, you just want to dress up your dog in a lumberjack coat and knit hat. Other days, you’re dying to see what he’d look like in shades and a preppy sweater. Or at least, that seems to be the case for the owner of Bodhi. Going by the name of Menswear Dog, this canine — a Shiba Inu — claims to be the most stylish dog in the world.
In 2014, Bodhi was reportedly earning $15,000 a month. Now, he has a book out and plenty of magazine modeling shoots in the bag. Plus, with 325,000 followers on Instagram, and 231,000 on Facebook, he’s in a position to charge thousands for a sponsored post. Bodhi is certainly in the top tax bracket by now.
People all over the world are making money off their pets, and Maru the cat lives with her owners in Japan. The feline has apparently warmed animal lovers’ hearts with his quest to fit into small boxes. In 2016, Guinness World Records officially recognized the cat –- with 325 million views at the time — as being the most watched animal on YouTube.
Maru has nearly 580,000 subscribers to his mugumogu YouTube channel. There’s no word on how much he makes, but that kind of fame means plenty of potential for yen.
It’s been a couple of big years for Hamilton. We don’t mean the musical. We mean Hamilton the Hipster Cat. An Instagram smash, the feline has nearly 800,000 followers, undoubtedly because he was blessed with white fur on his face that looks like a nearly perfect handlebar mustache.
Hamilton’s owner, Jay Stowe, hasn’t been stingy about sharing the wealth garnered by his famous pet. He gave away Hamilton’s first Instagram account to a pet adoption group once he hit 550,000 followers. Stowe has also donated $250,000 to charities, thanks to Hamilton’s fame.
8. Manny the Frenchie
Manny’s owners started his Instagram account as a joke but quickly figured out how to turn it into a moneymaker. Today, the French bulldog has millions of social media followers and was named one of the country’s top pet influencers, according to Forbes.
Like other famous pooches, it’s hard to tell how much money Manny the Frenchie makes for his owners, but they have been generous with the proceeds. Back in 2015, Chicago Magazine reported that Manny was responsible for $100,000 in charitable donations. Today, the dog has a foundation, Manny & Friends, that has supported the work of dozens of organizations.
9. Jiff the Pomeranian
Boo isn’t the only super-adorable Pomeranian with a short ‘do making a boatload of money on the internet. Jiff the Pomeranian – also known as Jiffpom – claims to have the most Instagram followers by an animal. More than 7 million people apparently love to see the pint-sized dog posing on the social media site.
Forbes estimates an Instagram influencer with 7 million followers can earn an average of $150,000 for sponsored posts. We don’t have to tell you how quickly that type of money can add up.
10. Venus the Two Face Cat
Thanks to a genetic anomaly, Venus looks like she has two faces fused together — one side black with a green eye and the other orange with a blue eye. She has been featured on TV and by National Geographic, and her distinctive looks have helped garner 1.4 million Instagram followers. Venus has more than 1.3 million followers on her Facebook page.
As with other famous pets, Venus offers more than a pretty face to admire. She has her own calendar and doesn’t seem to mind posing for sponsored posts, which undoubtedly help her cash in on her looks.
What’s your favorite celebrity pet? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.