Cat pics career: meet Bam, Instagram star

“He’s always been the size of a not particularly small dog,” says Al English of his cat, Bam. A nine-year-old tabby and white, Bam has paws the size of russets and the bearing of Orson Welles. His sheer magnificence, haughty stare, and propensity for finding his way into snug spaces have earned a hefty Instagram following, with Al now providing a daily photo instalment, invariably captioned “Good Morning Bam”. The pair met when Al, a music manager, was living in a shared flat in east London. Bam belonged to his landlord in the house across the courtyard. “Then when they moved to New York, I said I would happily look after him,” he says.

The arrangement was meant to be temporary, with the owners planning to relocate Bam to their new city, but after a year or so Al noticed Bam’s owners had now acquired a dog. It looked increasingly unlikely that he would be relocated to the US. So when Al and his girlfriend Emma moved out of the house, they took Bam with them. In New York, his owners bristled, insisting that they would one day return.

“But two years later we eventually got their blessing to keep him,” Al says. “We were at a house party when we got the email to say he was ours and Emma burst into tears. Bam was just happy to go with whoever fed him.”

Bam is a beloved and benevolent presence, whether he is swatting at light-pulls or dozing in the laundry basket, but being fed is one of his priorities. He is also wilfully oblivious to the concept of a lie-in – with Al designating the kitchen as Bam’s sleeping space to stop him from pawing at the bedroom door in the morning. “Then he worked out he could climb on the roof and sit outside the bedroom window, shouting at us. He’s pretty smart.”

Al did not intend for his cat to become an Instagram sensation. “When I set up my Instagram account, I said I wasn’t going to post any pictures of the cat or food. And then one day I posted a picture of Bam and it took on a life of its own.”

While Al’s account also attracts record aficionados – those interested in his Roland Bocquet and Li Garattoni LPs – he concedes that the bulk of his followers are Bam fans. “I’ve resisted giving him his own account,” he says. “Record fans have to tolerate Bam and Bam fans have to tolerate records.”

It’s rare, however, that Bam himself displays much musical appreciation. “I’ve had to put all my records in plastic sleeves because if he wants attention he’ll start scratching the sleeves – he knows that will get me straight there.”

Occasionally Al himself appears in the photos, and as Bam’s cult has grown he has increasingly found himself recognised at markets, bars, even at a hotel in Berlin. The first time it happened he was at a gig: “Someone touched me on the shoulder and asked me if I was Bam’s dad,” he says. Now the title has stuck.
Source :theguardian


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