Like most geniuses, Maru the cat is both enchanting and inscrutable. When I caught up with him through his longtime handler, Mugumogu, he was not exactly in an expansive mood—as Mugumogu points out in her Review Of My Cat for Maru, "Maru doesn't welcome the guests at all. He never tries to gain favor. He is a very cool cat, and he goes his own way"—but he was willing to give me a number of truly fascinating insights into his life, his loves (both for tasty meals and for cardboard boxes), and the sources from which he draws inspiration for the videos that have lit up the online Catosphere and captivated the world since 2008.
What follows is my interview with Maru, generously provided by Mugumogu herself and translated from the Japanese by Aya Hibino (thank you, Aya!). An all-too-brief encounter with one of the greatest cat-video artists since the invention of the form in the late 19th century.
BuzzFeed: What inspires you most?
Maru: I'm inspired by tasty meals! I love tuna and white chicken meat.
BuzzFeed: Interesting. I'm sure that many of your feline fans also enjoy cat food. Is there any other famous cat whose work you admire?
Maru: I admire The Garfield. Sometimes people tell me that I am like him. I have noticed that he always eats lasagna, which is yummy.
BuzzFeed: Yes, lasagna is pretty much the best. Have you ever been in love?
Maru: My first love was the box. And I am still in love with it.
BuzzFeed: That was beautifully put. Your work with boxes was one of the reasons I got into cat videos in the first place. Which of your own videos are you most proud of?
Maru: I can play tambourine with my tail. I am quite the musician. Check out this video!
Maru: Oh, and the title of this next video is "Marudesu." It's my self-introduction video, and it shows how handsome and smart I am. :)
BuzzFeed: There's no question that you are both handsome and smart! Though I would say that it's not just your good looks and intelligence that people respond to—there's something about the way you carry yourself. Can you give us a brief sense of what your day-to-day is like?
Maru: I spend my entire day every day eating, playing, and sleeping. I certainly have a busy life, huh?
BuzzFeed: I mean, yes. By that standard you might even be described as a workaholic. Moving aside from your own work, what do you think is the best cat video of all time?
Maru: No comment.
BuzzFeed: Wow, OK. One last question: What's with the boxes?
Maru: I might have had some kind of a relationship with boxes in a previous life.
BuzzFeed: OMGOMGOMG. May I take a moment to say that you are the best ever and that you complete me? Thank you. Thank you for this interview and thank you for everything that you do to make the world a better place. I love you.
Maru has a round face and white socks. His tail is a little short, but it's nice and full ... trust me when I say that every part of Maru is the best!
Maru doesn't welcome the guests at all. He never tries to gain favor. He is a very cool cat, and he goes his own way.
I feel at ease with him. No matter how tired I am, as soon as I am with him, he brings a smile to my face.
Unfortunately he refuses hugs, but still.
Overall Grade: A++++++ [Ed. note: Do you seriously think that we are going to give Maru anything less than full marks? That would be career suicide.]