Catherine adores cats of all kinds and appreciates the nuances of feline communication, their intelligence and unintended silliness.
A few years ago, I happened to open a link to a YouTube posting entitled "Cat Man Do" and found myself spewing latte and laughing aloud!
My Introduction to "Simon's Cat"
Cats are among my favorite things in life. They run the gamut from playful and silly to dramatic and arrogant. They are excellent communicators but only to those who take the time to notice the nuances. Cat lovers who are attuned to their felines will be generously rewarded with true affection and companionship peppered with humor and unpredictability.
My early morning habit is checking e-mail while enjoying a cup of coffee. I savor the peace and quiet before the rest of the family wakes up. A few years ago, I happened to open a link to a YouTube posting entitled Cat Man Do and found myself spewing latte and laughing aloud! Rarely have I seen anyone nail cat behavior so perfectly! This was my introduction to the creative genius of Simon Tofield, and I continue to be a huge fan today.
Who Is Simon Tofield?
Simon Tofield is a British animator and the director of Tandem Films, a commercial studio in London. Cat Man Do was his first flash-animated film short about a hungry cat's attempts to wake up his owner. It won Best Comedy in the 2008 British Animation Awards. It was also this serendipitous effort inspired by his own kitten, Hugh, that went on to launch the character of "Simon's Cat."
What had started as practice with new animation software ended up going viral after someone absconded with the video. Little did he know at the time that this first post on YouTube would get 3 million hits. Apparently there are many other cat fans in cyberspace!
Started Animating Flip Books
Simon began drawing cartoons as a child and got his first cat at nine. He studied animation and graphic arts at De Montfort University in Leicester, England and started with simple animation flip books.
His life-long interest in the outdoors and animals, especially cats, helped him develop a keen sense of feline behavior. He finds endless subjects to animate from the antics of his own four cats: Jess, Maisy, Hugh, and Teddy.
The Animated Short That Started It All
Simon, who has been drawing his cats for years, produces his computer images on a Wacom tablet and pen then plays them back at 25 frames per second. That's a lot of drawing!
His great ear for cat language enables him to reproduce the sounds himself. They are recorded and dropped into the films by his sound engineer, Russell Pay, from Shrooty. It takes between six and eight weeks to make an animated short.
Cat Man Do
Including his original Cat Man Do, he has produced over one hundred black & white films and continues to introduce more on a regular basis. He occasionally features dogs which are characteristically represented as simple-minded and food obsessed.
The arrival of a new kitten brings a comic twist beginning with the animation short Double Trouble, and a large and over-zealous tabby, inspired by Simon's own cat Maisy, was recently introduced in the short film Tough Love.
There are also seasonal collections which showcase holiday themes. "Simon's Cat" remains purposely unnamed so that viewers can identify him with their own favorite felines.
Fed Up: An RSPCA Project
In 2008, Tofield made an animated short for the RSPCA "give animals a voice" campaign. It highlights the problem of overfeeding and dog obesity. Called Fed-Up, it was inspired by his sister's dog.
In 2013, Tofield donated over $56,000 to a British children's hospital through the auction of his work entitled "Doodles." His devotion to stray cats is apparent in his own charities and his Sponsor-A-Cat Program. Those who may not be able to have a cat can still help fund the care of sick and needy felines.
Off to the Vet
Simon finished his first 12 minute color animation short called Off to the Vet in 2015. It was an ambitious undertaking considering his use of the traditional frame to frame process at 25 fps.
The projected cost of production was $472,000.00, and he successfully raised that through crowd-funding via IndieGOGO. It went on to earn The McLaren Award for Best British Animation at the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Simon's Cat Dash
In 2018, Mr. Tofield and the Endemol Shine Group, Good Catch, released the mobile game Simon's Cat Dash. It challenges players to collect costumed cats by outrunning dogs and acing capers throughout the house, garden, and neighborhood in search of butterflies to impress Simon's love interest.
No doubt, Tofield's whimsical animation and humor will ensure that it matches or exceeds that of his popular 2017 puzzle game Crunch Time.
"Simon's Cat" Finds International Success
The "Simon's Cat" brand has been hugely successful across the globe. Book sales have topped 2 million, YouTube views are over 1 billion, and Facebook fans number 6.5 million and counting.
New introductions in publishing, gaming, apparel, and other merchandise have driven interest and continue to inspire the brand's developers. A new partnership with Nine Lives, a veterinary enterprise in Hong Kong, is in the works with plans to open "Simon's Cat" branded clinics throughout the region.
2020 was a strange year for all of us with the global COVID pandemic. The only ones that were happy about it were our pets who loved having us home for companionship. Through the Eyes of Simon's Cat is a look back at the 2020 calendar through a cat's perspective.
"Baby Simon's Cat" Campaign
Also launched was the "Baby Simon's Cat" Campaign which incorporates a new kitten plushie from Teespring with a series of Origins films and an interactive game that allows users to adopt, talk to, and play with their own animated cats. The Origins films tell the story of how Simon and his cat first met and became a family.
Simon Tofield says of the project, “It’s been a real pleasure exploring the story of how 'Simon’s Cat' became part of Simon’s family. I’ve totally fallen in love with 'Simon’s Cat' as a kitten, and the accompanying apparel and games really add to the overall experience of the story.”
Simon's Cat: Story Time
2022 introduced a new Match 3 game available on Apple Arcade called Simon's Cat: Story Time and features many fun game scenarios to play. A new line of apparel is expected to make a debut soon.
- "Simon's Cat" website
- "Simon Tofield’s success comes in a Flash," Charles Solomon, LA Times, November 27, 2009
- "Interview: Simon Tofield," Ilan Sheady, Skigly: Online Animation Magazine, November 15, 2011
- Endemol Shine Takes Control of Animation Company Simon’s Cat," Leo Barraclough, Variety, August 17, 2015
© 2011 Catherine Tally
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on February 10, 2018:
Thank you, Kathy! He has just released a new mobile game called Simon's Cat Dash in collaboration with the Endemol Shine Group Good Catch.
Kathy Burton from Florida on February 09, 2018:
I love Simon Tofield’s work but knew nothing about him. Thanks for sharing!
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on August 30, 2012:
Hi Kris:) I hope you like Hidden Treasure as much as I do! I can really relate to the stuff that accumulates under things , cat toys included- lol. I'm delighted that my hub introduced you to Simon Tofield. He's just too good! Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. I'm happy to have you as a new follower too. My best to you!
KrisL from S. Florida on August 30, 2012:
Voted up, and funny, and shared. I had seen "Cat Man Do," but didn't know about the creator, or that there were more where that came from.
I just watched "Hidden Treasure."
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on April 22, 2012:
Hi,christin. I'm so glad that you got a good laugh! It's my pleasure to introduce you to Simon's marvelous ability to pick up the nuances of cat behavior and relate them back through his cleverly animated drawings. Cats are naturally funny, but he knows just which behaviors to highlight. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Ann-Christin from UK on April 22, 2012:
Loved these video's really made me laugh and reminded me of cats I've had in the past.
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on March 26, 2012:
Hi mooboomoo! Thank you for stopping by. I always enjoy meeting other cat lovers, especially those that can laugh at silly feline behavior. I wish Simon had a cartoon strip in the U.S. He is absolutely brilliant!
I appreciate your comments and am glad to see you following me.
mooboomoo from London on March 26, 2012:
I've been a big fan of Simon's Cat for a while now, he captures their behaviour beautifully. he does cartoon cells for some newspapers over here too and they are brilliant.
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on February 02, 2012:
Hello,nifwlseirff. I agree, and laughter really is a key to good health and well-being! Thank you for your comment.
Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on February 02, 2012:
Simon's cat makes me laugh every time!
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on January 21, 2012:
You're welcome, writingalaska! I love to meet Simon's fans. Thanks for the comment.
writinginalaska from southeast Alaska on January 21, 2012:
love his stuff!! thanks for the Hub. :) lvh
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on January 18, 2012:
Bless you, Epi! Hugs and kisses back to Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel and a big thank you. Cat's rule!
epigramman on January 17, 2012:
...I so much enjoyed this - what a tribute you have paid to his great talent and in return I will post your labor of love to my FACEBOOK page with a direct link back here and by sending you warm wishes from my two best friends Little Miss Tiffy (the diva in my picture and my mum's cat) and Mister Gabriel my big all white cat who is deaf and loves going on his walks with me wearing a leash and body harness - lake erie time ontario canada 8:40pm
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on November 27, 2011:
Hi Deb! I'm happy that you enjoyed watching the videos. I hope you drop by my hubpage again soon. Thanks for your comment.
Deb Welch on November 27, 2011:
Very funny and cute - his videos are interesting. Thanks.
Catherine Tally (author) from Los Angeles on November 27, 2011:
I'm so glad that I introduced you to Simon's cat and that they made you smile. Thanks for stopping by!
Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on November 27, 2011:
I really enjoyed the videos of Simon's Cat and I thought that they were really funny. They made me laugh! The video "Double Trouble" is real cute, funny and fun to watch. The videos are wonderful and very entertaining.