TikTok pets are sweet, but our relationships can be toxic

By Noah Newsome
Elm Staff Writer

The social media platform TikTok has been home to numerous types of influencers over the platform’s lifespan. These have ranged from cooking gurus to masters of fashion, though one group stands above the rest as the most adorable. These would be the animal influencers of TikTok, people who make their pet, or pets, the primary focus of their account and the main star of a majority of their videos.

While following these and other influencers on social media can be a fun pastime, and an excellent source of serotonin depending on who you follow, it always pays to be mindful of how attached you become to an influencer.

You may be taking part in a parasocial relationship, or a faux relationship that exists between a celebrity and a fan where the fan believes that they truly know the influencer and that the influencer cares about them on a personal level.

While many parasocial relationships can be benign, they can also quickly get out of hand. It is ok to be invested in an influencer, just avoid going overboard. These creatures may be cute and cuddly, but at the end of the day they are a celebrity behind a screen, so don’t let them dominate your life and emotions.

Here are some of the more notable animal influencers on TikTok. These videos can vary in tone from cute to hilarious, with some influencers opting to dress their pet up or simply film how their pet reacts to mundane objects.

Noodle (@jongraz)

Dogs are considered to be man’s best friend with many dogs being high energy and playful, though some wiser dogs also know when to take it easy. Luckily, numerous fans have come to view Noodle as an expert on when to take a break and when to kick it into high gear, as the pug can declare any day a “no-bones day” or a “bones day.”

Now what is a “no-bones day”? To put it simply, it is a mental health day where you set aside time to relax. Whether or not a day has bones is decided when Noodle’s owner, Jonathan Graziano, lifts the elderly pug from his dog bed and performs a “reading”.

If Noodle decides to slump back to sleep, a day has no bones, if he stays standing then a day has bones. Just because a day has bones does not mean it has to be all work either, rather it is also a day to treat yourself to something nice as a reward for working hard. Noodle’s prophetic account has four and a half million followers and over 67 million likes combined.

Biscuit (@mistermainer)

While the previous pup may have been more low-key, Biscuit the English bull terrier is anything but. His main claim to fame is being a fabulous dancer, complete with mood lighting provided by his owner Dmitry Pepper.

Together the pair have cultivated an account that focuses primarily on comedy with the aforementioned dancing videos as well as various skits set up by Dmitry. While Biscuit’s owner is a talented cinematographer, Biscuit really knows how to work it for the fans. Currently the pair’s account has almost 10 million followers and close to 340 million likes across all their videos.

Nala (@1bike1world)

Cats tend to be depicted as lounging, lazy creatures most of the time so when this mold is broken it can be a big deal. Nala stands out as a globetrotter along with her owner Dean Nicholson who runs the account 1bike1world, which documents the pair’s travels by bike through various countries.

Dean set out on a biking journey from his native Scotland in September of 2018, finding the stray Nala in December of that same year near the border between Bosnia and Montenegro. Their meteoric rise began when their story was covered by the animal news website “the dodo” and spread across various media outlets.

Dean and Nala now use their fame to raise money for various animal charities such as Arhturs Acres Sanctuary in New York and Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Florida, as well as numerous other charitable organizations across the globe. Their trips around the globe have earned them an international fanbase, with their account having over 50 thousand followers and over 300 thousand total likes.

Pot Roast (@potroastsmom)

This list ends with a somber conclusion, as the main animal of this account, an elderly cat named Pot Roast, recently passed away. Pot Roast’s tired eyes and chilled out demeanor gained him numerous fans, and his death made waves on TikTok and other social media sites as users mourned the death of one of TikTok’s rising animal stars. The account currently has about one million followers and over 71.1 million likes across all their videos.

Should you find yourself too invested in a particular social media personality, take time to reassess your relationship with them. TikTok allows us to connect with those who we find interesting, However it also creates an opportunity to become too connected.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Featured Photo Caption: TikTok is not the only social media platform that has seen parasocial relationships with animals. Social media has allowed for people to feel connected to pets and animals, such as Grumpy Cat, Boo the Pomeranian, and Koko the Gorilla.

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