Nathan the Cat Lady, Tabby Dates - The Community Cats Podcast (2024)

Kristen Petrie[00:00:02]

You tuned into the Community Cats Podcast. Ready? Let's go.

Stacy LeBaron[00:00:13]

Welcome to the Community Cats Podcast. I am your host, Stacy LeBaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over 20 years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action. Today we're speaking with Nathan Kehn. Nathan is an actor living in Los Angeles with four cats. His Instagram name Nathan The Cat Lady has brought in almost a half a million followers between Instagram and Tik Tok. Nathan is launching Tabby, the cat person’s dating app, because he knows what it's like to have girls turn their nose up at him because he loves cats. Nathan works closely with and promotes cat rescue groups, such as Milo’s Sanctuary, and special needs cat rescue. Nathan, I'd like to welcome you to the show.

Nathan Kehn[00:01:04]

Thanks for having me on.


So, of course, we first have to ask you. How did you become passionate about cats?


You know, it's something that I was actually raised with. I grew up with cats and dogs and something about cats, you know. I had tigers and lions all over my room. I had stuffed animals of cats all over, and I just, I love cats. I never expected it to come back and be such a big part of my life, but it's just kind of how it ended up coming to be.


So when you had groups of cats, did you foster kitties or did you always own like, a batch of cats?


We always seemed to have three cats at a time. So, when I was born, we had three cats and then as one would pass away, we would end up getting another cat. So I always had three cats and two dogs growing up.


So that was the family's magic number. My magic number was four. So I always felt like four was a good balance for me to have at my house, but, you know, I think every family develops their magic number as to what the perfect number of cats is.


Yeah, and I actually have four cats now and I think it's a great number. I love having four cats.


So then the question of the day is how many litter boxes do you have for those four cats?


You know, everyone always asks me that because they assume I have four, but I have, I have one in the living room and then I have an electric litter box in my bedroom. And since that one, empties it, after every cycle, I don't need to have four because it clears it out in between. So, I've got the two and I just change them every three days or so, and it seems to be fine.


That's great. Well, I think it comes down to, you know, if you're able to be around and sort of literally be on top of it on a regular basis. And as long as the cats are comfortable, then, you know, it sounds like whatever works is always the best plan, right?


Right. Absolutely. Absolutely.


Yeah. So let me find out more about your background. So, you know, you've had cats. How did you get into the sort of, the social media, and sort of developed Nathan the Cat Lady? How did that all come about?


Yeah, it originally started because I was just trying to build up my Instagram for acting, because it's gotten to a point where I was being turned away for commercials, because I didn't have a high following. I only had about 700 followers. And I would go to a job or a casting, I would audition for it. I'd go to the callback. I would get put on avail and then they'd say, hey, can we look at your Instagram? And I always thought that was so weird. And so I’d send them my Instagram and then I would get released from the job. And it finally occurred to me like, oh, I don't have a following and they're hoping I'm going to promote their commercial on top of the stuff they're already paying for. So I started doing skits, and they did alright, and then did a video with one of the cats and it went viral. And I was like, oh, that was interesting. I did another video with the cats, went viral again. And to the point where people started asking like, hey, where's the cats? Can you do more things with the cats? Because I gained, I think, sixteen thousand followers in one month from those two videos. And so I started doing more videos with the cats and kind of incorporating them more and more, and people just loved it. And so, I think when I hit twenty-five thousand followers, I was like, you know, I think it's time to, time to embrace this and just keep going with it. So, I started trying to play around with some names and I tried Cat Daddy and that got real creepy, real quick, which was not the theme I was going for. And so I thought it was funny because, you know, the girl I was seeing at the time, her, on her page they knew me as the crazy cat lady guy. They were sort of like, where's that crazy cat lady? And so, I was like, you know, that's funny. It always gets a laugh. I'm gonna try that so I switched it to Nathan the Cat Lady, and people just seemed to love it. I ended up doubling my page in the next two months and ever since then, it's just kind of grown. And I, after I embraced the crazy cat lady lifestyle, it's gone from there.


So, what do you do with your cats? I mean, are you a good person with video and pictures and, and that kind of stuff. I mean, do you have to be talented to have like such a large following or to all of us who are cat ladies and cat lovers and stuff. How can we do that with our cats and an Instagram page?


Uh, well there's a few ways to do it. For me, I'm actually, I've always been really good with making short video content. I started out with a little VHS recorder and would make little fifteen second videos, you know, this is back, literally had to take a VHS tape and put it in and I didn't even have a way to edit it. So, I just had to shoot fifteen second things on a VHS tape. And then in high school, I did the video announcements every week, on Friday, so it was we would be doing skits, you know, like twelve second skits or, not twelve seconds, but twelve skits at the end of the week for all the events coming up. And so I've been doing short video content since before Instagram was a thing. For me, so it's always been a really good skill that I've had. I think, for some people, you can be funny and clever, and that's a good way to build your account. For other people, I know some pages that have famous cats just because it's a pretty cat. And they just take great pictures of the cat every day and post it. So it really, what I tell people who want to build their account, it's just about making content that people are actually going to want to see. I've had people say, I don't understand why my account isn't doing well, and I'll look and it's, you know, a picture of what they had for breakfast and then it's a picture of their family from thirty feet back, you know, I’m like well, you gotta think people who don't know you, what's going to be entertaining to them.


It's great point. And you've broken into Tik Tok a little bit, too. Can you share a bit about your experiences there?


Yeah, Tik Tok. I was hesitant because, you know, it was the new app and it seemed kind of silly because it was just people lip-syncing other people's words or songs and just dancing for ten seconds, these goofy little dances. And I was like, well, I don't really need to get into that. You know, it doesn't seem like it's going to be around long. And then I had a couple of friends who went up to, you know, something like seven hundred thousand followers in a few months and I was like, whoa, maybe I should start taking Tik Tok a little more seriously. And so I started playing around with it and actually really started to enjoy it. It kind of gave you the freedom to, it would give you all these songs, which is where I get a lot of my content ideas. I will literally just sit and listen to music and I'll think of little videos in my head as the song plays, whatever the mood strikes, and I go. Oh, that'd be a skit. So that's kind of been great for Tik Tok. I just scroll through the music, get an idea and throw it up and it, you can grow so much faster on Tik Tok because of their algorithm. So I've only been on there probably six months and I'm already, I've already surpassed my Instagram. I'm at, I think three hundred twenty thousand now on Tik Tok.


Wow, that's incredibly impressive. I know it's another area of social media I have not explored, but I think I should. But I have shared this with my listeners, many, many times, which is I have a very strong love-hate relationship with social media. So I fully disclose that, but I realize there's a place and a purpose for it, but I also realize that it can be a bit of a concerning situation for your own human behavior, and mental wellness, and all that kind of stuff too. So there's this balancing act that you have to play, but I think Tik Tok seems to be here to stay and something that we should all consider going forward.


Yeah. No, I mean, I definitely agree with the, the mental health aspect. I actually noticed that, as soon as quarantine hit, because I went from having other things in my day that I needed to do, to spending most of my day on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. And I started noticing that it was really messing with my mental health, until I started taking time away and putting my phone down, like, well, I need to, I need to get out of this world a little bit. So I definitely get where you're coming from on that.


Yeah. And with that being said, let's talk about relationships and let's talk about the Tabby app. So what is that? And how did it get started?


So Tabby is, it's the cat person’s dating app. It's basically an app for people that love cats and are looking to date. I mean, it's, it's as simple as that and it's like a silly concept to have to have a separate dating app just for the pet you have, but I have been rejected multiple times by girls, just for having cats. I even had a girl right before we launched, try and add me on a different dating app and I have pictures of my cats all over my profile. In her bio it said, don't hate me if I hate cats. It was, it seems like such a ridiculous thing that she had to call out. She had such a hatred for cats it had to be in her dating profile, but it's true. I've had multiple girls say, hey, I'm a dog person, this isn't going to work, or I ended a relationship because she didn't want to live with cats and we'd been together a year and it was getting to be that point. And she said, well, I don't ever want to live with cats and that was a deal breaker for me. So, you know, it's something that I think a lot of people deal with the, the crazy cat lady stereotype. And I got approached by the people who created Dig Dates, which is a dog person’s dating app, and they said, we're looking to do a cat person’s dating app but obviously, you know, we know the dog world, not the cat world. We're looking for a couple of guys to, you know, who know that world. And so they approached me and Sterling the Trap King, because we're already good friends for, like, that is an amazing idea. We would love that and we both had been rejected. I had just done an interview on national TV about a new study saying that men with cats in their dating profile get rejected some crazy amount of times more than people without. And so, it was perfect timing for me. And I, yeah, we jumped on board and started getting things ready and promoting it and it's been going really well so far.


I would assume the same thing happens with women, too, you know, women who have cats and they date men that don't like cats. I mean, doesn't it happen on the other side, or do you feel like the statistics are different?


Oh, it absolutely happens on both sides. I think for men we get viewed as unmasculine and kind of weird. For girls, they get viewed as the crazy cat lady who cries and wear’s the bathrobe all day and smells, you know. I think they both have these really ridiculous negative stereotypes attached, which is great for Tabby, because it eliminates that. Everybody on the app loves cats. So that's one step you don't have to worry about and you can just move on to getting to know the people.


How hard is it to sign up for Tabby and does it cost any money?


It's very simple. It's like any other dating app. You download it from the app store or you can use it online at Tabby Uh, you make a profile, put up pictures of your cats, put up pictures of you. And right now the app is free for everybody, but there will be paid tiers coming up. So you'll be able to pay for special perks, like seeing who liked you, being able to send unlimited messages to people. And one of the beauties of us charging is we're going to be able to start really giving back to rescue groups and helping out with those kinds of organizations as well.

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That's great that you're talking about rescue groups. We're actually recording today in the wee hours of the morning because you're heading out to go help with a project in LA. So there are several rescue groups I know that you already have a personal relationship with. Would you like to talk a little bit about them?


Yeah. Well, you already mentioned Milo’s Sanctuary. I have a huge amount of respect for what they do and I actually went out there because they just got a new facility. But for those of you who don't know, she rescues disabled cats. So cats that don't have working legs, cats that are blind. There's a lot of blind cats there. And yeah, so I go out there and really help bring attention to them. I actually went out and filmed a video for their new opening and ended up getting, think it was somewhere around 1.5 million views on Tik Tok. So it brought a lot of attention to them, which was really good. And today I'm going to the Cat Cafe Lounge, which is a non-profit cat café, with adoptable cats, and because of COVID they've had to really shut down their inside space, so they're losing money and kind of hanging on by a thread. So I'm going out there to help them build or finish building their catio, which will be an outside patio with the cats that they can actually start bringing customers back in. So that's going to be really beneficial for them.


Have you seen, sounds like you already have but, you know, sort of what are your thoughts on the impacts of cats and rescue, and what's been happening with the coronavirus and COVID? And everything, I mean, what do you seeing going forward in order to help all those cats that are out there?


Yeah, the corona has really messed up a lot of things. For instance, the Cat Cafe, every, starting as of last year, they do a kitten rescue during kitten season every year. Because there's something, like ten thousand kittens that get put down every year because there's such a big boom. So, they do a pop-up kitten rescue. Well, this year they couldn't do it. So, all those kittens that they would have saved, they couldn't this year. And I know a lot of these cat cafes, for a long time, haven't been able to have anybody in there and, you know, these are nonprofits. They're not making a lot of money as is. So having COVID come and pretty much take away their ability to generate income, not to mention TNR, which is what Trap King does. Where they go out into the field and bring stray cats and get them fixed, and put them back, to help keep the population down. A lot of the clinics have had to close. They’re opening up now with curbside, but they were making a lot of good progress with TNR and rescue, and COVID just delayed a huge amount.


So I'll ask this question, in the dating app, do you have a section for, do you volunteer at a shelter or are you interested in trap- neuter- return? Are there things where you can find out maybe this is something you put in your profile, just to find out, are you, you know a cat owner, plus a passionate volunteer, working in the community to help with community cats?


Actually, that's something I should bring up with the IT department. So, as of right now, that's just something that you would put in your bio. I, we do have categories in there, for instance, for your cats, to say cats are allowed on the counter, cats sleep in my bed. So you can click all these different options that apply to you and your cats’ relationship, but I hadn't thought, we hadn't thought about putting something up that shows if you're involved with rescue and TNR. I think that'd be great, especially with all the rescue groups we’re planning to work with. And a lot of people that love cats are involved in some way in fostering and stuff like that. That's actually a really good idea and I'm going to have to add that to the app


Yeah. Well, I mean it really impacts your bathroom usage, if you are a foster home, because oftentimes the bathroom is a key location to foster, and sometimes, if you're with a partner, they're not so excited to share their bathroom with a litter of four kittens, where you might think it's just the greatest thing on this earth. So I do know that foster care, being a foster home, can be stressful on a relationship.


Absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah, that's a, it's a great idea to have a little section where you can talk about whether you do fostering or rescue or TNR because those are both big time commitments and space commitments, that definitely would be good to know going into a relationship.


So with regards to the Tabby app, you know, are there plans to, you've talked a little bit about the app itself. Are there any sort of in-person or, when we are in an in-person world, are there more components to the Tabby app or is it just going to be focused on the app and letting it be all virtual?


No, we really have plans to start doing, you know, singles nights and meetups. There's even a couple of locations that have said, hey, soon, as things open up, we'd love to host a big single's night. I know Sterling and I have even talked, we would love to travel and host these singles nights for people. It's just tricky right now, with COVID being what it is, you know, it's hard to have a single's night when everybody's wearing masks, you know. And you're limited to six people in a building. It really doesn't give us much option. But as soon as things improve with the country and health-wise, we definitely plan to start setting up cat-friendly date ideas, singles nights, and really get out into the community and help, you know, bring people together not just on a dating app, but in person as well.


I know there are a lot of organizations that don't necessarily have a lot of younger folks that are involved with their work, with either fostering or volunteering in other ways. I'm going to assume that the Tabby app probably skews towards a younger crowd, which is potentially really great, if more folks can get involved in participating with rescues and stuff. Are you finding that with the rescues that you work with, or the ones that you've spoken to that it does skew towards sort of an older age crowd? Or are you seeing a lot of younger folks getting involved in non-profit work?


I would definitely agree that it seems, it seems like an older crowd that's been doing it for a long time. I would hope that we can start bringing the younger generation in. And I think things like social media are going to be a great step towards that because I feel like a lot of people who are doing rescue now, they've kind of been doing the scenes and not getting a lot of recognition for it. And being able to bring attention to that is showing a younger generation, you know, oh, this is something that we should be doing too. We could be out helping these cats and stuff like that. So as of right now, yes, it's definitely been an older crowd that's been doing it for a long time. Hopefully, you know, even with Tabby and with social media, we can start bringing in a younger generation.


And with that said, I would think also then we have, going back to that social media realm, you know, is really important for us to focus on going into Tik Tok and Instagram. I mean, most people are on Instagram, Tik Tok and trying to do things. Do you have any tips about what things that we should do and trying to bring in younger folks. I mean, are there things that we’re not offering that we should, that could bring them in, or are we too strict, too rigid, too closed-minded? What are your perceptions?


I think people, when they think of rescue, I think people have always had a really, I guess bad perspective of it. I think being able to actually show the younger generation the animals that you're helping and that you're just there taking care of them and loving them, and how important it is. I think just putting it in their face is really key because it's, it's kind of like, for instance, when you think of people say, over in Africa, that are starving, you know, you always know they're there like, yeah, people over there starving, but it's not until you see the video of the children that are starving that you go, oh shoot. Maybe we should actually be doing something about this. I think it's just getting it in people's face. So these rescue groups, you know, doing the video showing these, these poor animals, really reaches that younger generation because you're doing it on their platform, you know, you're kind of going onto their turf and saying, hey, here's these animals. And, I think that's really the best way to do it, is reaching out to them through Tik Tok and Instagram. Instagram’s kind of everybody, Tik Tok is, definitely started out as a younger generation. So you're reaching a lot of that younger crowd by making videos on there.


So Nathan, if folks are interested in finding out more about the Tabby app, or the work that you're doing, or your Instagram page, how would people find you?


Well, if you want to download Tabby, it's available at the App Store for Android and iPhone, or you can just use it on Tabby And for me, I'm Nathan The Cat Lady on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. And Twitter is Nathan the CL, because they wouldn't let me use that long of a thing, but pretty much Nathan the Cat Lady anywhere you're looking for me.


That’s great. And before we close out, is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners? As well as, I'd love to hear about your four kitties.


You know, I would just want to reiterate, if you guys are looking for love and you've been rejected for loving cats, just jump on Tabby. Try it out. I think you'll have a lot of success with It. And in regards to my cats, I'm looking at three of them right now. I've got Ginger, she's my oldest female. I've got Pickles, he's the grumpy old man I've had the longest. Annie, Little Orphan Annie, that I got from the side of the road. And Princess who's technically my roommate’s cat, but you're like someday, I'm going to have to snag her and run.


Excellent. Well, Nathan, I want to thank you so much for joining us. This was a little bit of a different show, but you're very involved in rescue and it's great, and I really look forward to having the Tabby app sort of be able to integrate, and help build more bridges, with helping people with a passion for cats and turning it into action in their communities. So I really appreciate you spending the time with us today, and I look forward to the hope that maybe you'll be a guest on our show in the future.


Absolutely. This was great. I appreciate you having me on and would definitely love to come back in the future and talk about where we've gone and if we've been able to do the things we're hoping to do.


That's it for this week. Please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review. We love to hear what you think and a five-star review really helps others find the show. You can also join the conversation with listeners, cat caretakers, and me on Facebook, and Instagram. And don't forget to hit follow or subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, YouTube, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. Thanks for listening and thank you for everything that you do to help create a safe and healthy world for cats.

Nathan the Cat Lady, Tabby Dates - The Community Cats Podcast (2024)


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