The star of pop culture blog FourFour explains his obsession with his “ugly” exotic shorthair

By Helin Jung
Updated December 08, 2009 02:22 AM
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If you’ve ever seen a YouTube video of an exotic shorthair, it’s probably Winston, blogger Rich Juzwiak’s 5-year-old rescue cat. Juzwiak blogs for Vh1.com and contributes to Jezebel.com, in addition to running his highly-addictive blog of screengrabs, animated gifs and pop culture commentary, fourfour.com, where he occasionally tells the Internet about his cats, Winston and Rudy. It’s been four and a half years since fourfour started, and Winston has since gained a motto, “NOT OF THIS WORLD,” and hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. PEOPLEPets.com chatted with Juzwiak recently, and got him dishing about his two feline superstars.

Only posting about Winston does not equal Rudy neglect.
“I don’t post on Winston because he’s cute. He’s arguably horribly ugly. I look at him sometimes and think, ‘You are the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life, you monster.’ Seriously, when I pull his face back, it’s like, ‘Uggggh what created you!’ But the main thing about him is that he’s weird. That’s the reason that I don’t post about Rudy so much. I think that Rudy is a very handsome boy, but he’s just a cat. Winston’s the weirdo. It’s not, ‘Look at my cute cat,’ it’s, ‘Look at this alien species that I live with.’

“To the point of not covering Rudy as much, people mistake that as being neglectful or somehow he doesn’t have enough love, but the opposite is true in real life. Rudy sleeps on my chest every night. There’s a part of Rudy that’s extremely affectionate; you can just tell he loved his mom a lot. That’s the best thing about Rudy, just that he has this real big heart. It often doesn’t come through, but when it does, it’s awesome.

“It’s Winston’s show, but they interact and that’s fun. I like positing them that way because then Rudy’s the underdog and people like Rudy just because he’s less covered.”

Winston and Rudy have a terrible habit.
“The cats will try to bat the food out of your hand that you’re putting in your mouth. Every time. They’ll get up on your lap and try to intercept it from the plate to your mouth. They’re terrible. Sushi? Forget about it. When we cook, they’re really awful. They have a big sense of entitlement. They feel like because the food is more scarce than they would like it to be – because they’re fed twice a day – that they need to be sharing with us, and that’s not the case, and they don’t get that at all.”

Winston is awesome. Period.
“Winston, to me, is like wish fulfillment. Growing up in the ’80s, there were so many fuzzy, impossible, mythic creatures to covet: mogwai, Gurgi, various Muppets, things that I wanted so bad. With Winston, I finally got my mogwai. I finally got this weird creature that is adorable and melts my heart and just interacts with the world in a way so different than anything I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s amazing. I think there’s a lot of noise in the world, and I try not to add to it. I try to say something different and do something different and express myself that way. I do feel that by presenting Winston the way that I do, it’s expression. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have this outlet to share him.”

Our collective obsession with cute animals is a good thing.
“Animals are inherently second-class citizens, but I think people take that to an extreme, where they think animals don’t have feelings. They don’t think that they’re worth anything and they’re only made for people’s use. I think it’s like anything, like with racism or homophobia, where just being exposed to this stuff does all the difference. Just knowing a gay person is enough to make a lot of people not homophobic. Just looking at cute animal pictures is enough to make people think about what they’re doing and what they’re consuming and how they interact with the world. I think that cuteness is biologically encoded anyway, so it makes complete sense that people are fixated. That doesn’t go away.”