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Nick Offerman Picks His Favorite ‘Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson’

If you’re friends with Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman, you can lay off the texts and e-mails: Yes, he knows about the popular new Tumblr based on his character, Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson. “I guess it was about two days ago, I was suddenly plagued by 40 different people sending it to me, saying, ‘I assume you’ve seen this,’” Offerman says. He’s pleased that it’s become such a viral sensation, and though he admits that he’s never thought of Ron Swanson as particularly feline, Offerman says he’s flattered to be compared to members of the animal kingdom: “One of my favorite reviews called me ursine, in a play in which I appeared nude.” While the character might not be a fan of these domesticated kitties — “I think Ron likes cats in the wild,” Offerman suggests — the actor was all too happy to select some of his favorite submissions, and he even attempted to explain to Vulture what gives these cats the Ron Swanson je ne sais quoi.

What makes Ron Swanson this angry? “It’s sort of a state of being,” says Offerman. “I think both the cat and Ron Swanson are dissatisfied with the state of their affairs. Ron looks that way when he lacks liberty, and the cat looks that way when he lacks tuna fish.”
“There’s definitely a brewing storm on both of those visages,” the actor admits. Had he ever noticed that some cats have Ron Swanson–type mustaches, or is it now something he can’t unsee? “It is a revelation.”
“That’s a fine, healthy coat,” says Offerman. “I’m fond of the fire in his eyes.”
“This one, to me, is a little thin,” Offerman says. “I think maybe Ron would have that facial expression in ’94 Meetings,’ or if he was informed that twenty people were waiting in his office, or if he’s heard that either of his ex-wives were in the building, then he might appear that way.”
Offerman thinks this cat nailed it. “I’d say that’s Ron’s go-to expression,” he says, particularly happy that the feline was able to capture Ron’s angry, furrowed brow: “You know, the mustache gets a lot of play, but the eyebrows carry the thunder.”
Though Offerman consented to wear his hair in cornrows for this season’s episode “Ron and Tammy Part 2” — “I can check that mark off my bucket list” — he’s not happy to see a cat sporting a hairstyle he calls “the full douche.” Growls Offerman, “The owner of this cat should be punished. I’m all for laughing at domesticated animals, but this seems a little cruel.”
Winston (the Internet-famous cat of FourFour writer Rich Juzwiak) made the cut. “You wouldn’t guess it, but that’s a look of abject pleasure on both the cat and Ron,” says Offerman. “That would be Ron sitting by a burbling stream, redolent of trout.”
Has Ron Swanson ever been as vulnerable as this kitten? “Maybe in the cradle, when he was demanding his pureed meat.”
“This angers me,” says Offerman. “Now I am angered.”
This pug tried to compete with the cats who look like Ron Swanson, but Offerman notes, “To me, that pug looks a lot like the character Jerry.” Still, before you start a Tumblr dedicated to the idea, he adds, “It could also be the love child of Jerry and Tom Haverford, Aziz’s character.”
One Tumblr reader wrote into the blog asking for advice, since her cat’s political views were out of line with the staunchly Libertarian Ron. “Sadly, I’m afraid your cat has to be put to rest,” says Offerman, channeling his character. “We’re legally prohibited from doing that to human liberal voters, but our animals are our property.”
Nick Offerman Picks His Favorite ‘Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson’