The Cable

Iceland’s Hottest New Reality TV Show Is Just a Live Stream of Cats

It's called 'Keeping Up With the Kattarshians.'


If you’re anything like this writer, you’re already exhausted from the emotional roller coaster that is this season of The Bachelor. Fortunately, there’s a new show in Iceland that offers all the intrigue, drama, and suspense of your favorite reality series. And by that, we mean it’s an online live stream of four kittens living in an oversized custom-made dollhouse. It’s a simple recipe for a show, but Keeping Up With The Kattarshians has taken Iceland by storm.

Keeping Up With The Kattarshians follows four kittens, Guðni, Briet, Stubbur, and Ronja as they sleep, play, sleep, eat, and sleep. It’s a real rags-to-riches story for the four kittens. They were found abandoned in a factory by a local animal shelter, which nursed them back to health and cooperated with Icelandic broadcaster Nutiminn to create the show and provide the stars.

Though it’s only been out for a few weeks, it’s already become Nutiminn’s most popular web show.

“There’s about 1,000 people watching at any given moment,” Nutiminn editor Atli Fannar Bjarkason told Foreign Policy. “And we are getting more viewers by the day.”

While it’s widely popular in Iceland, the show has garnered a lot of international fans, too. Bjarkason said people from across the world post regularly on the show’s Facebook page about what the kittens are up to, which one is their favorite, and just what might happen next (probably sleep).

The show’s title is, of course, an homage to Keeping Up With the Kardashians, a much less eventful and emotionally fulfilling show than one where kittens sleep for eight hours on end. (FP readers will of course remember that the Keeping Up With the Kardashians crew went to Iceland themselves in season 12, episode 10, the one where Kourtney visits an organic Icelandic tomato farm to distract herself from her fight with Scott and Kanye records a weird video on a glacier but Kim arrived too late to see it so they get mad at each other.)

There’s no shortage of emotionally raw and visceral drama in Keeping Up with the Kattarshians, either. Guðni is the rebellious socialite, Briet the aloof dreamer, Ronja the gentle soul, while Stubbur is large and in charge. If readers can angle their computer screens so their bosses can’t see them, they can watch the live stream here:

Bjarkason said the show’s purpose is to find the abandoned kittens permanent homes and raise awareness for stray animals. It’s worked. All four have been adopted and should be moving in with their new families by the end of this week. (Nutiminn created the show in cooperation with the Icelandic Cat Protection Society and Iceland’s animal welfare office to ensure the stars are well-cared for.)

After they move, Nutiminn will find a new family of kittens for season two until those stars find homes, and so on. “As long as there are stray cats out there, there will be new Kattarshians and the show will go on,” Bjarkason said, precisely capturing the deepest truth of reality television writ large.

Bjarkason said his team was amazed by the show’s popularity. “People started laughing when they heard about the idea,” he said. “They’re not laughing now.”

Emily Tamkin contributed to this report.

Photo credit: Nutiminn/Keeping Up With the Kattarshians

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @RobbieGramer

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