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Hannah Shaw and Andrew Marttila: A Q&A with the Cat Community's Power Couple

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Chances are, if you love cats and use social media, you are already a fan of Hannah Shaw (@kittenxlady) and Andrew Marttila (@iamthegreatwent). And if you aren’t familiar with their work, you’ve probably seen this photo floating around the internet:

When you get busted with your sidepiece. #priorities

Une publication partagée par Andrew Marttila (@iamthegreatwent) le

Yeah, they made the front page of Reddit once, but these two have much more than internet fame under their belts. Hannah (also known as Kitten Lady), is a kitten rescue advocate based in Washington, DC who provides educational resources on fostering and orphan kitten care. Her involvement in the feline rescue community has garnered a massive online following of cat lovers and animal activists alike.

Andrew is an animal photographer from Philadelphia, PA who has worked with celebrity cats such as Sauerkraut, Lil’ Bub and Grumpy Cat. Last November, he and I Have Cat blogger Tamar Arslanian published a book with HarperCollins entitled Shop Cats of New York, which captures the lives and personalities of NYC’s local felines.

It only makes sense that two of the most influential members of the online cat community would fall in love. No one can deny that these feline enthusiasts are puurrfect for each other.

When we recently found out Andrew was transplanting to Washington to live with Hannah, we couldn’t wait to hear more (because, like our favorite animals, we are shamelessly nosy). We’ve seen their photos on our feeds and read about their amazing work, but how much do we actually know about cat Instagram’s power couple? We wanted the dirt—or, I suppose we could say, the litter.

For this meowbox-exclusive interview, we reached out to Hannah and Andrew separately with the same ten questions, without revealing what the other person’s answers were. The result? Some juicy details, a bit of nausea (this depends if you’re single or not, of course), and serious couple #goals.

What was your first impression of the other person?

Hannah: The very first thing I saw was his photography, which is beautiful. Then I saw a photo of him…wearing a Christmas sweater and holding his cat, who was wearing a Santa hat. I died laughing and couldn’t believe this guy was real. Right off the bat I thought he was adorable, talented, and funny, but it wasn’t until we met in person that I realized how much more there is to him. The first day we met I found him to be a very intelligent, sincere, calm presence, and I was blown away by how much we connected—beyond just our cat-focused careers.
Andrew: I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried she was going to be pretty one-dimensional. Ya know, a cute chick that likes cats and our commonalities would end there. I was pleasantly surprised at how articulate and intelligent she turned out to be, not to mention even more beautiful in person than on the internet. I knew after that first weekend that’d we’d see one another again, but didn’t expect it to evolve into what it has.

Who was more nervous to meet the other person?

H: I’m gonna guess the answer is Andrew. I wasn’t nervous because I totally did not expect to be meeting my new boyfriend! I just thought I was meeting a cute dude for a day of kitten photography and didn’t expect more than that. I tend to be underwhelmed by men, but he ended up being an exceptional case. Good work, Andrew.
A: I had only started following her a few weeks prior to us meeting up. To my surprise, she friended me on Facebook out of the blue and invited me to come to DC for the weekend to photograph two of her kittens. I wasn’t terribly nervous, because worst case scenario I just get to hang with kittens for a few days. I highly doubt she was nervous either.

If the other person was a cat pun, what would they be?

H: He’s litter-ally purrfect.
A: Um…I like to call her “Shitten Lady” instead of Kitten Lady. She’s slightly obsessed with kitten poop.

The other person’s most annoying (but most endearing) habit?

H: If I’m being honest, I am probably way more annoying than Andrew is. He’s too chill to be annoying! He’s like a fluffy house cat napping in a sunbeam, and I’m more…semi-feral and zipping around the neighborhood in search of snacks. He’s too sweet to bother anyone. Is that a disgusting answer? Nah…I’m keepin’ it.
A: Worry. Wort. She’s often reanalyzing her processes and trying to determine the best way to proceed with literally everything. It gets to be a bit repetitive, but the upside is that it allows her to be laser focused when she does eventually come up with a solution. Why’s that endearing? Well, the whole time I get to tell her that the work she’s doing is invaluable, that she’s a beautiful person, and that her dedication is making a real difference. I basically get to throw truisms at her and she accepts them as compliments, netting me love points. I like love points.

My heart is so full. Three beautiful months with my love, @iamthegreatwent. ❤️ 📷: @sparrowsmarketing

Une publication partagée par Hannah Shaw (@kittenxlady) le

Best thing about dating someone whose career also evolves around cats?

H: It’s been really cool to see our worlds intersect, and to see how much good can come from that. He has more experience in the commercial/creative end of the cat world, while my background is centered around rescue/advocacy/education, so we have both taught each other a lot and helped bring one another’s projects to the next level. All in all we get to make a greater impact for cats, and we get to do it as a team.
A: I wish I could say she likes catnaps as much as I do, because that would have been a huge bonus. Probably the best thing is all of the traveling and projects we’re able to do as a team. We’ve only just begun, but we have a lot of ideas for the future. I’m definitely better suited behind a camera, so have a great deal of fun documenting everything she does.

Sorry I've been MIA. I got kidnapped by a cute girl and her kittens. [@kittenxlady]

Une publication partagée par Andrew Marttila (@iamthegreatwent) le

A savage question: who do you think is more of a “celebrity” in the cat world?

H: Depends on the audience! We both get stopped in the street, and most of the time people follow both of us. I think I have a slightly bigger following among rescuers and advocates just due to the nature of my work.
A: Eh, probably her. I might know more of the “famous cats”, but she’s much more easily recognizable and well known. I’m totally cool with that though—I’m not the biggest fan of human interaction. [Are you sure you aren’t actually a cat, Andrew?]

The other person’s biggest internet cat crush?

H: Andrew is obsessed with a kitten I rescued last year, Fiddle (@banjofiddle). Every time her photo pops up on his feed he cries about her little nose freckle.
A: As far as cats, I think she took to Venus [@venustwofacecat] the most. Venus is an incredible creature and her mom is involved in a lot of rescue work similar to what Hannah has done in the past.

If you had to give a percentage, how much of your conversations and activities together are cat-related?

H: Oh god. Probably 50%. A lot of that is because we both work from home, and we both run cat-related businesses (and have a kitten nursery in the home!) so there is a lot to talk about! But we do have common activities and interests outside of our work, of course.
A: I’d say around 40%, maybe less. Much of what we discuss is tangentially related to cats, but we don’t just talk about fuzzy bellies and jelly-bean toes all day. Errr, at least most of the day. She has a number of interests unrelated to cats, as do I.

Question for Hannah: Kitten you’ve fostered that most reminded you of Andrew?

H: Fritter (@fritterandjelly). A little snoozy, a little goofy, a little bit of bed head, but the greatest cuddler ever.

Question for Andrew: Cat subject that most reminded you of Hannah?

A: Probably Sauerkraut. Hannah looks cute, but she’s got some unparalleled sass to her.

The thing that makes you the most excited to live together?

H: I’m excited for how much we will be able to accomplish and learn from one another. We are both very driven, focused, compassionate people who support each other 100%, so I see this as the start of an even greater impact for cats. And…he cooks really good vegan food! Count me in!
A: There are a lot of practical, mutually beneficial reasons for living together. She’ll be good at keeping me motivated and on a regular sleep schedule, which while seems SO SQUARE to me actually makes me infinitely more productive. I’ll be there to help her retain her focus and be her “thunder vest” for whenever she gets too anxious or panicky. She likes to be squeezed. To be honest, we’re just going to do so much cool stuff together that will not only further our careers, but also help cats in the process.

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