As Taylor Swift's cat Benjamin Button steals the show on Time cover, why pets are the new celebrities

Taylor Swift may have won Time magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year, but her cat Benjamin Button has stolen the limelight from his owner
Taylor Swift's cat Benjamin Button stole the limelight from his owner on the cover of TimeTaylor Swift's cat Benjamin Button stole the limelight from his owner on the cover of Time
Taylor Swift's cat Benjamin Button stole the limelight from his owner on the cover of Time

I am not surprised that many of the headlines regarding Taylor Swift being named Time magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year have focused more on her feline companion Benjamin Button rather than on his incredibly talented owner. Although I am not a cat mum like Taylor (I am a dog mum to Dexter), I totally understand why Taylor decided to bring Benjamin on the cover shoot. She even joked (or was she joking?) when she made reference it to on her Instagram with the caption: “Time Magazine: We’d like to name you Person of the Yea- Me: Can I bring my cat.”

I know Swifties are very aware of Taylor’s love for cats, but for those of you who aren’t, as well as being the proud cat mum of Benjamin Button, she also owns Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson (Olivia is reportedly the third-richest pet in the world). As to be expected, there were plenty of reactions online about her decision to include Benjamin Button on the cover.  On Taylor Swift’s X account, formerly known as Twitter, one fan said: “As you should queen!!!! followed by a cat emoji, whilst another said: “please give us more cat content we miss them.”

It would seem that celebrity pets are becoming just as famous as their owners, and of course, Benjamin Button is not the first celebrity pet to star on a magazine cover. Miley Cyrus appeared in Paper magazine with her pet pig Bubba Sue in 2015 (unfortunately Bubba Sue passed away in 2019), model Karlie Kloss starred in the Summer 2015 issue of Porter magazine with her rescue dog, Hollywood, and Lady Gaga appeared with her French Bulldog, Asia on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. 

It is not only magazine covers that celebrity pets appear on, they also often join their owners at red-carpet events. Hollywood actor and Jennifer Aniston’s ex Justin Theroux brought his pit bull Kuma as his plus one to the premiere of the Disney + live-action version of Lady and the Tramp and of course, you can’t be a celebrity pet without having your own Instagram account, can you? No of course you can’t!

Demi Moore’s chihuahua Pilaf (known as Pipi) has his own Instagram, as does Katy Perry’s dog, Nugget, who featured in the music video for her single ‘Small Talk.’ Emily in Paris star Lily Collins and her husband Charlie McDowell have their own Instagram account for their dog Redford, who has 77.6K followers and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Foe Thee Frenchie’ has an incredible 533K followers. 

Although without question celebrity pets have become more influential in recent years due to the rise of social media, they have always been an important part of the lives of both actors and politicians.

When Winston Churchill’s dog Rufus was hit by a car in 1947, after a few months, he received a second poodle he called Rufus 11, who then became very ill. He wrote a letter to Bella Lobban, who ran a kennel that looked after him to say he feared the worst and said:  “I am so sorry that Rufus has developed this distressing complaint, and I hope you will let me know at the end of the three weeks whether or not he has recovered. After the said loss of the first one, I feel that I would rather not have another dog just now. Please do not therefore look for another poodle for me.”

Luckily for Winston Churchill, he did not have to worry as Rufus made a full recovery. 

Winston Churchill leaving Buckingham Palace, accompanied by his poodle Rufus on  25th September 1951. Photograph by GettyWinston Churchill leaving Buckingham Palace, accompanied by his poodle Rufus on  25th September 1951. Photograph by Getty
Winston Churchill leaving Buckingham Palace, accompanied by his poodle Rufus on 25th September 1951. Photograph by Getty

Other well-known stars from the past who were animal lovers included Audrey Hepburn. According to Forbes, “Hepburn was among the first in Hollywood to bring her dogs along everywhere she could, in turn making it glamorous to have a beloved pooch underfoot- and unintentionally contributing to the concept of a dog being a chic fashion accessory.”

Audrey Hepburn was a big fan of dogs. Photograph by GettyAudrey Hepburn was a big fan of dogs. Photograph by Getty
Audrey Hepburn was a big fan of dogs. Photograph by Getty

Now back to the present day and Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift reportedly first met Benjamin Button when he was a kitten on the set of her ME! Music video in 2019 and asked the cat handler in charge of him about adopting him. Once she discovered he was available, Benjamin Button’s life (as you can imagine), changed dramatically from that day on, which led to him sharing the recent Time cover with his owner!

I can completely understand Taylor’s obsession with all her cats as anyone who knows me can testify that I am ‘crazy’ about my dog. As George Eliot once said, “Animals are such agreeable friends- they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”

Taylor, I am totally with you when it comes to taking Benjamin Button on all your photo shoots, just be careful he doesn’t try and eclipse you, although he might have already done that! However, I don't think you have to feel sorry for Taylor. If her 2023 is anything to go by, 2024 is set to be an even bigger year for her!

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