Welcome to The ShoKo Blog!
My name is Rob and I’ve been sharing my cats, Shorty and Kodi, on YouTube for nearly 5 years. It’s been a lot of fun documenting these crazy cats and producing fun and informative videos. I’ve been wanting to set up a proper blog for years to bring you more info about ShoKo and to also address issues about cats in general.
Here’s a bit more info on all of us.
Shorty’s the black one. She was born September 24, 2010 and Bryan and I adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society two months later on November 24. She was a tiny, sleeping, black ball of fur with giant eyes in a small cage. They had no information about her other than “very playful” which turned out to be a bit of an understatement. We fell in love with her immediately.
She had a cold, though, so I had to give her oral antibiotics every day for a week with a syringe. She was the most adorable little sick, playful kitten ever and I think every time she sneezed an angel laughed. She was well-behaved and loved to play so much that sleeping seemed a noteworthy event.
She had this funny way of moving, kind of like breakdancing but not as graceful. She had short little legs, which partly inspired her name, and a big adorable belly that made it challenging to roll over or right herself if she fell, which was often.
Others thought she was funny too so I uploaded a few videos to YouTube, not knowing a thing about the process of filming your cats. She had some favourable response to her first few videos but nothing huge. Then I produced a video called Cat Yoga that was picked up by a popular yoga blog and was even tweeted out by Nina Dobrev, star of Vampire Diaries. It didn’t go Jimmy Fallon-viral or anything, but it was encouraging enough to keep going, and the rest is YouTube history.
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March, 2012. Bryan and I had moved from our small apartment with the 70s pink tile bathroom to a sizeable, for Toronto standards anyway, 1-bedroom concrete loft.
Bryan felt Shorty needed a playmate and that she was at the right age to play with another cat but also old enough to take on a mothering role as she had that sweet nature. But she didn’t have any experience interacting with other animals so we wanted to find a kitten.
We visited the Toronto Humane Society several times but we actually found a little guy, at the time named Spy, at Toronto Animal Services. He was there with his mom and 2 siblings. He was extremely playful from the moment we met him, crawling all over us, playing with the string on Bryan’s hoodie. We took him home that day when he was just 10 weeks old.
From his first steps out of the cat carrier, it seemed he felt he owned the place. A little scared of Shorty at first, but feigning fear was more of a game as he had no problem jumping on Sho, me or Bryan, wrapping us all around his little paw with his sweet charm to forgive him any insolence.
We named him Kodi, and ShoKo became an inseparable Matrix-like duo running and jumping off the walls like Neo and Trinity dodging bullets.
One of his most memorable moments is when he returned from getting neutered. The anesthetic hadn’t quite worn off yet and his existential experience with the cat staring back at him in the mirror turned into a popular gif on Reddit.
Both a bit older, he and Shorty sleep a little more often but still get up to their usual wall-jumping high jinks in the haunted hallway. Shorty’s favoured game is running at Kodi, batting his hind legs to get him to chase her, and then hiss maniacally when he catches her as if that’s not what she wanted at all. Kodi’s a great sport, taking it all in stride and doing his best to appease his older sister.
At the end of the day, you’ll still find them cuddled up together on a cat bed in the closet.
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I’ve always been obsessed with documenting life. Friends and family – and now Shorty and Kodi – just accept that I normally have a camera in my hands.
I’ve also always made videos of trips and occasions into virtual scrapbooks, inspired by the storytelling and memory-invoking medium of multimedia.
The ShoKo Show is a natural extension of that, and it remains among the greatest joys of my life sharing my cats with the world. And winning the 2014 Golden Kitty award for the best cat video at the Internet Cat Video Festival was definitely a highlight!
I’ve always loved animals and begged my parents mercilessly for a dog growing up, but I had terrible allergies to all animals, especially cats. When I was 19 I moved from a small conservative town in ultra-conservative Alberta to the “big city” of Toronto, where I studied fine arts at York University, became a vegetarian, and completed my rebellion with adopting 2 cats. The severity of my allergies had decreased as I got older though I still couldn’t pet my cats without immediately washing my hands after.
I became an ardent supporter of animal rights and I co-hosted Animal Voices, an animal advocacy radio show, on CIUT, 89.5 FM and ciut.fm from 2003-2008. I had the privilege of interviewing and connecting with many authors and activists around the world, including former Flipper trainer Richard O’Barry, vegan baker extraordinaire Chef Chloe Coscarelli, and it was a great highlight to speak with THE Bob Barker on the show who at the time was giving 1 million dollars each to several universities to fund animal law for the progression and defence of animal rights.
I am still involved in animal issues though the potential of burnout has kept me from investigative activism. I do extend my political voice through The ShoKo Show from time to time regarding cat/dog issues like shelter animal adoption, spay and neutering and declawing, and proceeds from ShoKo videos and merchandise support Toronto Humane Society, Farm Sanctuary, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Among my other jobs, I also work as a freelance photographer/videographer and as a fitness trainer instructing private clients and teaching several group classes a week including muscle conditioning, core training, and yoga.
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Bryan is the answer to the common viewer question: who’s the guy with the tattoos? He is my partner and, while many don’t even know about him, longtime viewers know he is no secret. He is also the one responsible for wanting to adopt Shorty in the first place and whose intuitive animal-whisperer nature must be credited for the wonderful cats that Sho and Ko have become.
However, Bryan has very little to do with The ShoKo Show and his tolerance levels are tested constantly by cameras recording around our home and by me saying things like, “Oh, Sho is so cute laying in your arms, don’t move! click click. Ok, don’t move. record. Just a little longer. click click. Ok, good.”
In fact he’s a little less tolerant of the kitties’ misbehaviour in general, especially the rambunctious and vocal Kodi who is definitely my spirit animal.
Like me, he is also a yoga instructor and has quite a following on YouTube, though his day job as an Event Planner keeps him from producing many videos.
Together we are a happy little family, seen often at night watching Netflix with Kodi on the couch’s arm next to me and Shorty next to Bryan, each occasionally taking turns to wander across us to soak up all the petting possible.
Thanks for watching!