(UPDATED SATURDAY AT 8 A.M. WITH QUOTES, INFO FROM BOB'S OWNER, AMANDA COFFELT)
St. Louis-based Friskies cat food Wednesday announced southeast Cobb County resident Amanda Coffelt and her cat Bob won the Epic category in the third annual The Friskies awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Coffelt’s video, titled “How Bob Gets His Exercise,” was chosen out of thousands of video submissions as one of 12 finalists — three each in four divisions. The Friskies is the award for the best Internet cat videos of the year.
The public voted on their favorite videos Aug. 11 through Sept. 8 at www.TheFriskies.com. In an interview Friday, Coffelt said she adopted Bob, a 4-year-old spotted American short-hair, two years ago as a stray she took in on a freezing-cold day. Three to six months ago she posted Bob’s video on her Instagram account, which mainly has strange or interesting drawings of cats (www.instagram.com/idraw_on_cats).
“I had been wanting to capture [his exercise routine] on video for a long time because people would not believe how spastic and crazy he was,” said Coffelt, who lives in the Galleria/Cumberland area with her husband, Steven Wallace. “[Bob] was really chasing his tail but it looks like he’s break-dancing or something. I finally got it and was ecstatic. It shows his funky, crazy personality.”
The overall winner was Tampa, Fla., resident Chris Poole’s “Dumpster Kitty” video starring Cole and Marmalade, which also won the Strange category.
The two other category winners were Funny: “Cat vs. Flipflop” starring Buddy, by Leah Lester of Palm Coast, Fla., and Res-cute: “Cat and Baby Play Peekaboo” starring Howie, by Ryan Phillip Boso of Liverpool, Ohio.
Friskies awarded each category winning videos’ creator a $5,000 cash prize, a golden catuette and bragging rights as one of the best Internet cat videos of 2014. The grand prize winner received the most votes overall and took home an additional $20,000.
“This year’s ‘The Friskies’ was one of the best yet. Some videos were hilarious, some were adorable and some were absolutely outrageous!” Whitney Evans, Friskies’ assistant brand manager, said in a statement. “We were blown away with the amount of fan support and votes each video received. Without a doubt, the videos combined with the countless votes of passionate fans made for a fierce but amazing competition.”
Coffelt could not attend the ceremony because she was already taking a Caribbean cruise this week, but Friskies let her send a friend, Heather Bazal, to go in her place. Coffelt, who works as a customer solutions specialist for Culpepper and Associates in Alpharetta specializing in graphic, web and trade show design, said winning the award was “pretty freaking awesome.”
“Oddly enough I am more excited about the catuette than the money,” she said. “It’s an odd, fun thing. … It was a huge surprise they even selected my video and then to win the category. I’m debating what I’m going to do with the [prize] money.”
Friskies gave away more than cash and catuettes. To recognize the hard work cat shelter organizations do to ensure cats find forever homes, the company partnered with 10 cat shelter organizations nationwide. Friskies awarded those partners 250,000 total cans of Friskies wet cat food.
Every vote for a finalist video during the voting period equaled one can of Friskies wet cat food donated to a shelter partner. Additionally, with direction from the category captains, Friskies donated a total of $23,500 to shelter partners.
To view the videos, visit www.TheFriskies.com.