CATching Up With Alana Grelyak, Creator of CATastrophes

Posted by WebVee on November 4, 2015 in Interview


Alana Grelyak is the co-creator and star of the 2015 Catdance and Golden Kitty Award winning CATastrophes web series. She graciously took time to answer a few of our questions.

WVG: It’s an established fact that the internet loves cute animal videos, but there aren’t many scripted animal series. How did you come up with the idea to do a scripted series?

AG: When Michael and I met, I had been taking acting classes for several years and he had been making films since college. I also have a background in writing and music, so we decided to combine those and began making films together with the intention of entering festivals, which we had been doing for three years already before we made our first cat film in 2013 for the Freshstep Cat Dance Film Festival. It went over well, so we did another the next year and combined it with launching our web series. I already had a fairly successful cat blog at so we used my connections with rescues to help us cast the little actors for our shows. It was a great fit for what we were already doing and the logical next step.

WVG: Why DOES the internet love cats so much?

AG: They’re awesome. We have five and each one of them has a completely different personality: different likes, dislikes, facial expressions, talents. Cats are rather private to their families so I think this is the first time people who didn’t like cats before are getting to see how multi-faceted they really are and people who already loved cats are getting to say “I told you so.”

WVG: How difficult is it to work with the cats? Does a background in improv help (for the humans,that is)?

It can definitely be a challenge, so we always cast based on the needs of the script and always change the script to suit the cat as we go. It’s a luxury we can afford because we’re a small team. Kris is a stand- up comedian and I have a background in performance, though not specifically improv, but it definitely helps. Most times, we find that the cats give us jokes we never even thought of. 

WVG: Some of the cats you work with are special needs cats. Was it a conscious decision to work with them, or did it just happen that way?

AG: Definitely conscious. Special needs cats have a harder time finding homes. We adopted our cat Crepes knowing that she had special needs (it’s hard to hide a missing foot) and I started in her voice to help special pets find homes. Over the last few years, we’ve done a great deal of good, including finding them homes and raising money for rescues, so getting those pets out in front of our audience is always a goal for us. 

WVG: As a proponent of adopting rescued cats and using rescues in your videos, what kind of response do you get from prospective adopters of the cats and kittens featured in your videos?

AG: We get a lot of questions about them. We’ve had several people inquire about the cats that we’ve showcased and have also heard from many that they were going to buy but decided to adopt because of us. That’s a huge win and makes all of this worthwhile. 

WVG: You have asked viewers to share their stories for a possible re-enactment. Have you received a lot of responses? Were there any that were just too outrageous/NSFW to consider?

AG: We’ve gotten a few strange ones, though nothing NSFW. We’ve only really done two of those at this point – we didn’t get a lot of entries for them and the ones we did get didn’t really seem feasible for us to re-enact, so we’re still open to doing them if the right story comes up, we’re just not actively seeking them right now. 

WVG: Thanks, Alana! We look forward to seeing the next CATatastrophes video and keeping up with Crepes the Cat in your Cat in the Fridge blog.

Watch all the CATastrophes episodes on YouTube or on their great website, where you can also find out more about the people and the kitties that go into making the videos.

Take a look at some of the rescue organizations that Alana works with. You never know – you might find a forever friend : Tree House Human Society Chicago Cat Rescue Kitty Bungalow Tabby’s Place


By Susan Siniawsky

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