The Dog-Eat-Cat World of Pet Magazine Publishing

Just the other day, we joked that Cat Fancy was planning a lewd Kardashian cat cover to keep up with the Paper’s and DuJour’s of the human world. In light of recent changes at the publication, they may seriously want to consider that idea.

In case you missed the recent announcement, Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy are being downscaled and replaced by Irvine, California-headquartered I-5 Publishing. In place of those two respective regular runs, there will now be alternating bi-monthly issues of Catster and Dogster. Even if you think cats are nothing more than man’s fickle friend, there’s plenty to enjoy in Abraham Rieseman’s New York magazine autopsy. Including a couple of very unusual twists: staff is not being cut and I-5 plans to throw more money at these new issues in the form of better paper stock, higher-grade binding and so on:

Extensive interviews with writers and executives have suggested an answer [to why I-5 is shutting down the 49-year-old feline magazine]: Cat lovers killed Cat Fancy. In their defense, they had no idea they were doing it. But in recent years, the nature of cat adoration (and I must offer full disclosure here: I am the parent of two cats) has changed radically. Though Cat Fancy tried to adapt, it never totally broke free from its origins in a different era of cat enthusiasm.

…”I’ll be honest: I think there was a bit of an identity crisis,” said Cat Fancy contributor and future Catster contributor Tamar Arslanian. “I think they were trying to modernize. I think they just started in one position, and it’s hard to commit [to modernizing] and not lose a big part of your audience.”

Love that full disclosure! Riesman also shares some keen insight from Cat Fancy editor Susan Logan, who has been with the magazine since 2003. Parent company I-5 came into the picture in 2013, acquiring the titles from BowTie Inc. The new magazines are offshoots of two same-named websites snapped up at the beginning of 2014.

As always with readers, there is some immediate winning reaction:

ursusmajeur55: The greatest episode of Mad Men never made… Sterling Cooper trying to win the Cat Fancy account in the depths of 1965. Pete working around his allergies, Peggy worried if she’ll end up a lonely cat lady, Don trying to bed a crazy cat lady assistant editor and Roger constantly offering to brush the cat hair off Joan.

Candide08: There will be no 10th life for Cat Fancy.

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@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.