Up Close and Purrsonal with John Fulton, Host of Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats

John_Fulton

I spent last weekend with more than 350 cat lovers at the first Alley Cat Allies National Conference in Crystal City, VA. I’ve attended many pet conferences over the past few years, but the level of caring and dedication to improving cats’ lives among those who attended this one exceeded anything I had ever experienced. This conference was all about soaking up information on how to make lives better for cats, and networking with others with the same goal.

But just because conference attendees came to learn doesn’t mean that they didn’t know how to have fun. And noone contributed more to the fun at this conference than special guest John Fulton, host of Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats. John performed his signature cat songs at the Saturday night banquet and entertained the audience with his quirky humor. The songs performed ranged from “Klepto Cat,” complete with excerpts from the episode of the cat who stole more than 500 items from neighboring homes, to the show’s theme song, Must Love Cats, which the audience happily sang along with. John graciously took the time to meet and greet attendees and pose for photographs long after his performance ended.

I had a chance to spend some time with John Sunday morning, and learned a little more about this thoroughly charming, extremely personable actor and entertainer. “Let’s go take a walk,” said John when he met me in the hotel lobby, so we walked to the nearest Starbucks. John’s easy going, friendly manner made our conversation feel more like having a chat with a new friend than a celebrity interview.

The story of how he got the hosting job on Must Love Cats is a classic Hollywood fairy tale. “A friend of mine had sent in an audition reel,” says John, “and somehow, I wound up in the background of the tape.” One of the producers took notice, and asked John to audition. The rest is, as they say, history. And in case you were wondering, this fortuitous twist of fate did not ruin the friendship.

John feels very lucky to have been able to do this show. “I loved the travel, and meeting all these people. That really was the best part.” When asked about favorite episodes, he immediately said “Japan. It’s such a fascinating country.” Other favorites include the episode featuring Greg Krueger, who transformed his Midwestern home into a cat paradise, and the British cat who went on pub crawls every day.

John, who acts in commercials, says hosting was a very different experience from acting. “Acting is so much harder,” he says. “As a host, I could just be myself. When I act, I have to put everything into it – facial expression, body language, emotions.” John actually missed out on an audition so he could be at the Alley Cat Allies conference, but he has no regrets. “A chance to sing a whole concert of cat songs?” laughs John, “when else am I ever going to get that opportunity again!”

Unfortunately, John’s songs are not available on cd or iTunes. The songs are short, often only 30 or 45 seconds, and “it just didn’t feel right to sell them for $1 a song when you can buy fully produced music for that amount,” says John. Some of the cat songs, as well as some of John’s other musical work, can be found on John’s YouTube channel.

I asked him about his own experience with cats. “We had cats when I was growing up,” he says. He currently shares his life with three-year-old Betty and Billie, who he adopted as kittens from Kitty Bungalow in Los Angeles. “Some cats find people,” he says, “but that’s not how it was with Betty. I saw her and that was it.” Betty and Billie are named after jazz musicians Betty Davis and Billie Holiday. “They don’t like me,” jokes John. “They’re kind of shy with me, but they’re great with my girlfriend.” When another cat recently started showing up outside of John’s apartment, Betty and Billie were not too happy, but John was too worried about the outside cat, who he named Roadie (because he was found on the road), so Roadie is now a member of the family.

I asked him whether there was ever a sense of competition with Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, since both shows started right around the same time. “Never,” says John. “What we do is so different.” He doesn’t harbor any ill feelings about Must Love Cats not being renewed. “I was disappointed for the time it took me to walk home when I got the call from my agent,” says John, “but I always understood why it couldn’t continue indefinitely. We really covered everything there was to cover.”

Like me, John was thoroughly impressed with how professional and dedicated attendees at the conference were. There were virtually no cat ears or crazy cat costumes in the crowd. “It makes me not want to talk to people when I see that kind of thing,” says John, “because how can you take that seriously?” I couldn’t agree more. I’m all for celebrating our love of cats, but we’re doing cats a huge disservice by perpetuating the crazy cat lady stereotype.

As we were making our way back to the hotel, I asked John what’s next for him. “I was going to go to New York for a few days. I love Broadway, and love going to shows, but November and December are important months for an actor to be in Los Angeles.” A lot of companies are holding auditions at that time of the year, and John didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

I’m sure I’m not the only cat lover who hopes that some of his future projects will include cats again.

Photo from Alley Cat Allies Conference program.

Mews and Nips will return next week.

15 Comments on Up Close and Purrsonal with John Fulton, Host of Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats

  1. Jenny | Floppycats.com
    November 17, 2013 at 12:32 am (6 years ago)

    Ingrid, I love the way you wrote this – I think you should have been an investigative reporter! Well, done!

    Reply
  2. Maxwell, Faraday & Allie
    November 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm (6 years ago)

    Wonderful interview – and thank you so much fo9r recapping the ACA conference. We had wondered what it was all about. Having your endorsement makes us very interested in attending!

    Reply
  3. The Island Cats
    November 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm (6 years ago)

    What a great interview. We love John…and Must Love Cats!!

    Reply
  4. Bopeeps
    November 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm (6 years ago)

    He seems very nice. Best of luck with his career. Look forward to future endeavors.. Being an actor is not an easy life.

    Reply
  5. Daffy, Chloe and Cheerio
    November 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm (6 years ago)

    Must Love Cats is cancelled!?! We loved that show… There are a lot of other great programs on Animal Planet, but we will miss it. Thanks for the great interview. Our opinion on cat ears – if humans admire kitties enough to want to look more like them, go for it. Just as long as they understand they will never look as good as the real thing!

    Reply
  6. Caren Gittleman
    November 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm (6 years ago)

    Catabulous interview Ingrid and I am greatly disappointed to read that Must Love Cats has been canceled. I didn’t know.
    I loved that show but confess to not seeing every episode.
    I learned another valuable point, if I EVER send a video for something that I want….I better watch the background.
    As for the cat ears, I have to agree. I wear them occasionally myself but as you said to Deb, te key is knowing when to leave them at home. I have to remember that as well!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks, Caren! Good lesson about the video, right?

      Reply
  7. Robin Olson
    November 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm (6 years ago)

    I feel like I was there with you and I sure wish I was! I hope we see more of John Fulton in the coming days!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm (6 years ago)

      I wish you could have been there, too, Robin!

      Reply
  8. viki worden
    November 16, 2013 at 11:28 am (6 years ago)

    What a great time! I envy you being able to meet a celebrity who loves cats! He must be a compassionate, wonderful person. I believe anyone who loves animals is. Thank you so much for sharing the interview. I loved reading about it.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the interview, Viki.

      Reply
  9. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    November 16, 2013 at 11:03 am (6 years ago)

    How wonderful that you got to met John and attend the Ally Cat Allies Conference. They truly are a great and dedicated group of people. I guess I won’t be interviewing John anytime soon since I love my cat ears! For me, I never considered them as portraying me as crazy – they are the celebration of my love and dedication to cats. Although when I attend serious events, I do leave them at home.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm (6 years ago)

      It’s all about knowing when to leave the cat ears at home, Deb ;-). Interviewing John was definitely a highlight of the conference for me.

      Reply
  10. toni / rctees
    November 16, 2013 at 9:24 am (6 years ago)

    Great interview! So wonderful that you got to spend one on one time with John. I loved “Must Love Cats”….and can’t wait to see what he gets into next.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks, Toni. It was a lot of fun.

      Reply

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