The Instagram @iizcat is where artist Nick Filippou posts his daily life as a cat dad with his feline – Minnie. Looking at his comics, cat owners can’t be any more sympathetic with these hilariously accurate situations. On the other hand, non-cat owners can have a peak in the life of cat parents and the joy and struggles they have with a cat.
The account’s and comics’ name are called “i-iz-cat”, spelled in the vein of “cat-speak” similar to the “I can haz cheezburger” cat meme.
The comics are drawn in Nick’s classic, rudimental style, not many details are paid attention to because they are not focused on showing his skills, but rather are about his paw-some life with Minnie.
The comics have it all, from cat’s usual box obsession, spontaneous interruption, hilarious shenanigans, undying hunting instincts, to Minnie's catnip psychedelic reactions, and many other things, Nick’s comics will be both familiar, but still captivating to readers because there will never be enough comics to describe Minnie and cats in general!
Nick talked about the inspiration, as well as the context behind his comics in an interview: "So, the comics star my real-life rescue cat, Minnie. I adopted Minnie 5 years ago from a shelter in Baltimore. She was a former stray and part of a TNR program (trap neuter release) that spent most of her life living outside. The clipped ear in the comics is real, and is from her being a part of the TNR program.”
“My first comic came from a Christmas poem I wrote about the cat’s perspective of '‘Twas the Night Before Christmas' and have been drawing them ever since. Minnie is always the inspiration."
As expected, Nick is a big cat lover, which also adds up to why he draws comics about his cat: “My favorite thing about cats is how zen they are but also, at the same time, they’re little agents of chaos. Cats both relax me and make me laugh."
However, Minnie is not the first cat Nick ever had, as he used to have a cat named Binx. "I adopted my first cat in college - a rescue from Baltimore, and snuck him home. Of course, I got caught sneaking a cat into the house, and my dad, who was very anti-cat, wasn’t a fan. He warned me if that cat scratched any furniture, or things like that, that he would take him back to the shelter.”
Nick was worried that his father would return the cat to the shelter, however, a bond was formed: “Then, a few days later, I come home from class and see my dad snuggling with my cat in my bed. They’ve been best friends ever since. Even when I moved out a few years later, my dad told me I couldn’t take Binx with me because he loved him too much and that this was his home. It was pretty adorable. I let Binx stay with my parents and moved into an apartment."
After that, his love for cats continued to blossom when he participated in volunteer work at a local rescue organization - where he found the lovely Minnie. "I then started volunteering at a local rescue in Baltimore, and that’s where I met Minnie. Minnie was a very adventurous girl who still was living outside. The shelter owner would call out 'Minnie!' and I’d see this adorable cat hop over the fence, returning from the woods meowing up a storm. I fell in love. I remember the shelter owner saying, 'Minnie would give anything to be in a loving home.' So when I had things situated at my apartment, I knew I had to adopt her”. Nick reminisced.
“I also adopted another cat, a tortie named Sylvia who only had 3 legs. The two lived in my apartment for a few years, until Sylvia, unfortunately, passed away. Sylvia was a sassy girl who I still very much missed. I was glad I was able to give her home even if it wasn’t for that long."
Nick’s wife also loves Minnie as much as he does, but it was Nick who turned her into a cat lover. "When I started dating my soon-to-be wife, I remember her telling me she wasn’t really a cat person. She much preferred dogs. That was until she met Minnie.”
“Minnie is the sweetest cat I’ve ever met and is quite similar to a dog. She follows you EVERYWHERE, is very vocal, and loves to snuggle on your lap, your chest, even your head. She’s very loving. My wife was impressed. When we moved into our house, Minnie loved it. She had so much more room to explore and play”
Speaking of Minnie being quite similar to a dog, the family also has a dog too, as you can see from some comics. She is also a boxer rescue from Baltimore - where Minnie was rescued: “Dany is a very sweet girl and MY first dog ever. I was very worried about how Dany and Minnie would get along. We read plenty of articles and watched videos on how to introduce cats and dogs and followed all the steps. We found out Dany is also a sweetheart and the two have become great friends who enjoy snuggling on the couch together. Minnie is still the queen, and Dany is her subject."
Lockdown has been tough with everyone, not excluding Nick’s family. "Lockdown has been tough for sure. Luckily, both my wife and I have been able to work from home and keep our jobs. We feel lucky. It also has allowed us to reevaluate what’s important. We had to have a small backyard wedding in June 2020 and it turned out to be a really intimate and beautiful ceremony. Of course, we took wedding photos with Minnie and Dany on our special day as well!"
The comic covers just about everything in the spectrum of cat owners’ life with their beloved cats. A dash of humour, cuteness and the accuracy are what make the comics so well-received!