Sign up for the Austonia daily newsletter
×
becomeMemberIcon

become a member

Chupie the Lykoi cat is now recognized around Austin after going viral on TikTok. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

Chupie the Lykoi cat isn't as feral as he may look—unless, of course, it comes to getting his paws on some precious baguettes.


The unusual kitty has recently gone viral on social media, garnering over 30 million views on TikTok and cheering up cat fans globally during the difficulties of the pandemic.

But according to owner and Austin resident Michelle, who asked not to disclose her full name for privacy reasons, this wasn't what she expected at all when she first made Chupie's Instagram and TikTok in January.

Chupie's claim to fame—aside from his overwhelming cuteness and love for all foods (except salsa and carrots)—is his unique genetics. Lykoi cats, named after the Greek word for "wolves" and often aptly dubbed "wolf cats," are the result of a mutation originally found in feral cat populations that have since become a pedigree cat breed.

He's gotten plenty of love—and plenty of bullying—for his wolf-like appearance. Michelle has been told he looks like anything from the weasel of "Suicide Squad" to Clint Eastwood as a cat.

Chupie isn't your average werewolf. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

"I think that a lot of people think that he looks like an ugly cat because he looks mangy," Michelle said. "But that's kind of what makes him special."

But Chupie doesn't have the disposition of a werewolf. In fact, the friendly cat can be seen kayaking, hiking and lounging around locales around Austin, from historic bar Nickel City to his favorite spot at South Austin's Little Darlin'.

@chupiedoesntgiveameow

Wanna play some pool? ##fyp ##viral ##funny ##lykoicat ##werewolfcat ##adventurecat

♬ The Banjo Beat, Pt. 1 - Ricky Desktop

He's almost always well-behaved, too—that is, until food enters the picture.

Just a few days after making his Internet debut, Chupie first went viral for viciously gripping onto a bag of H-E-B buns. The post gained 1.3 million views.

@chupiedoesntgiveameow

Give me your buns🥖👀##fyp ##trending ##catsoftiktok ##lykoicat ##funny ##viral ##funnycatsoftiktok

♬ Rasputin (Single Version) - Boney M.

Since then, similar videos of Chupie gripping baguettes, treats and other goodies have gained up to 11 million views apiece.

@chupiedoesntgiveameow

Back at it again🥖 ##fyp ##tiktokviral ##lykoicat ##catsoftiktok

♬ Countdown - Snoop Dogg

Michelle and her husband have beencreating content nearly every weekend and are now busier than ever. Still, it's been a rewarding, if unexpected, life change, especially as she hears from fans worldwide who view Chupie as a bright spot in their life.

Michelle said that she's received countless positive messages from fans, many of whom struggled during the pandemic.

"I joke that he's a 'meowtivational speaker' because I really think that we sometimes live in really dark places, especially during COVID," Michelle said. "So if we can give them even a little part of their day, even if it's 10 seconds where they feel joy, then it's worth it."

That popularity has translated into real life. Chupie is celebrated by fans and newcomers alike nearly everywhere he goes. In an interview with Austonia, Chupie was almost immediately greeted by a fascinated stranger who was quick to scratch his head and take pictures, something Michelle said is a normal occurrence.

"Everybody knows him when I go places now," Michelle said. "People are like, 'Oh my God, is that Chupie? Can I feed him the crust of my pizza?'"

Chupie before getting a treat. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

Chupie after he gets a treat. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

"He's living better than me probably," Michelle joked. "We live our lives well together. But I've never done so many things in one weekend until I started making these videos."

So what's next for Chupie? Michelle hopes one day she can take her kitty on global adventures where he can meet fans. For now, she's busy making Chupie merch, sending out care packages and is looking forward to taking her pet to animal events like the POP Cats festival on Saturday.

"This has gone way further than I ever imagined, and it's about Chupie, but it's also about the 'I don't give a meow' attitude," Michelle said. "I think people need to take life less seriously, so it's nice to be an outlet for that."

Popular

The Trail of Lights is going on its 57th year as the most famous light show in Austin. (Trail of Lights)

The holiday season is upon us, so get ready to celebrate with carols, snacks and light shows galore. Austin is full of holiday festivities spanning throughout all of December so get out and enjoy the cool weather while it lasts.

Keep Reading Show less

In this season of gifts, giving, and gratitude, Tito's is making it easy to shop for your friends and loved ones while helping our community.

The beloved Austin company's Love, Tito's retail space, downtown at 215 Lavaca Street, is fully stocked with great gear. 100% of net proceeds of whatever you purchase—a new collar for your four-legged friend, a Tito's tee, some branded barware—go to the nonprofits they support. From the environment to animal rescue, you can choose your cause while choosing a new copper cocktail kit… or old school cap… or golf polo.

Keep Reading Show less

Texas linebacker Bijan Robinson came out with his own NFT trading card. The USMNT also came out with an NFT by an Austin artist.

When Texas and the NCAA passed a bill allowing college athletes to profit off their names and likenesses this summer, Longhorn athletes joined professional teams and athletes by stepping into the growing NFT scene.
Keep Reading Show less