The cats are back.
Ginger, Oscar, Zoey and Sweet William the Furst are stars of the Internet again, thanks to “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats 2.0 – The Sequel.”
Their engineering, cat-loving papas have produced a hit follow-up to their 2008 “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats,” viewed 6.4 million times and growing. The sequel is on its way to becoming a YouTube phenom and has been featured on http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/.
Paul Klusman still makes Wichita his home with Ginger, Oscar and Zoey. T.J. Wingard now lives in Waco, Texas, and adopted Sweet William the Furst, a fluffball with one eye.
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In their newest droll video – the fantasy of cat ladies everywhere — the two discuss such concepts as the “Aspect Ratio Drift” of Ginger, who’s plumped up a bit.
“Cats evolve and grow over time,” Klusman narrates, taking a ruler to measure his orange-hued kitty’s backside.
He and Wingard then show a chart that diagrams the ups and downs of Ginger’s girth, which strangely mimics the ups and downs of the U.S. economy, making her a “leading economic indicator” studied by Swiss economists, they say in the video.
Viewers find that Oscar keeps busy working on watercolor paintings and “post-modern cardboard deconstruction art.” Sweet William the Furst chews on cardboard boxes.
Zoey is focused on “gravity-based activities” such as standing, sitting and sleeping.
Gravity is typically good, Klusman says in the video, but “gravity can also be a cruel mistress,” causing “Costume-Induced Sideways Cat Instability Syndrome.”
The camera then pans to cats in a variety of costumes falling to one side or another because of their getups.
“Removal of the costume often restores cat stability,” Klusman says reassuringly.
The new video had just less than 200,000 views as of Monday afternoon.
“It seems to have similar popularity to our first video, so it might be another big hit for us,” Klusman said in an e-mail Monday. “After making so many other cat videos these last five years, I’m amazed to have (potentially) another big hit. “
Klusman and Wingard said in a conference call with The Eagle – complete with a cat purring into the phone – that they’ve been making cat videos on the YouTube channel klusmanp since their 2008 debut.
Klusman said he and Wingard “hit some magic formula on that first video in 2008.” Creative people “tell you to expand your horizons, don’t be afraid of branching out and taking a risk,” he said.
But his take is: “If you happen to find something that works by pure accident, don’t change a thing.”
The sequel is nearly identical to the first video, while others in between, such as “An Engineer’s Guide to Cat Flatulence,” have taken on different looks and tones.
The engineers say that although they love all animals, cats best suit their personalities.
“They’re not ‘I need you all the time all the time all the time,’ ” Wingard said.
“They do have a certain amount of independence,” Klusman agreed. “You can go away, and they can be by themselves.”
In “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats 2.0,” Klusman notes that cats “have nearly taken over the interwebs” and are “among the most distracting forces of productivity.”
In the years since their 2008 hit, Klusman and Wingard have received marriage proposals – apparently the ratio of cat ladies to cat fellas is a bit off – and invitations to cat video festivals.
The two collaborate long distance. The extra money they make from their videos helped pay to go a cat video festival this past summer at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where the two met – and got to hold – Internet sensation Grumpy Cat. They described Grumpy Cat as “the Elvis of the cat video world.”
“Poor T.J. – the faithful guy’s been plugging along,” Klusman said of his cohort.
Wingard noted that he was mistakenly called “D.J. Wingard” on the Cheezburger site.
“I guess I’m going by ‘DJ T.J.’ now,” he joked.
“Hollywood hasn’t snatched us up yet,” Klusman said. “The day job is still really what pays the bills.”