In Search of the Real Toki Wartooth: 10 Musicians Who Really Love Cats
Toki Wartooth, from the animated series Metalocalypse, is everyone’s favorite cat lover. Thus, as fans await the 2023 release of the upcoming Metalocalypse feature film, a sequel to Doomstar Requiem, they wonder what role felines might play in all the action. Perhaps Toki will have another “cutesy” cat song or adopt a new pet?! The beloved Dethklok rhythm guitarist, whose name sounds a lot like “Taake,” suffered from a harsh upbringing in Norway. Nevertheless, he emerged a charitable soul, who apparently visits sick kitty cats at the “animal hospital.”
Most regular people would say that having a soft side isn’t very metal. Wrong! You might recall the time when Pantera‘s Phil Anselmo and ex-Dillinger Escape Plan‘s Ben Weinman, who runs an animal sanctuary, formed what Metal Injection dubbed “Cat Gang.” We’ve all seen top shredders like Zakk Wylde slaying with Hello Kitty guitars.
From Lord of the Lost’s Chris Harms to Mork’s Thomas Eriksen, many of metal’s most compelling artists are cat parents. We are not surprised that Behemoth‘s frontman Nergal also shares Toki’s passion for cats: The name Behemoth, which refers to a beast/demon, was given to the famed demonic cat character in Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita. Ex-Celtic Frost‘s Tom G. Warrior probably had more cats than any other metal legend. He revealed that his mother, who struggled with mental illness, kept 90 felines in their cramped living space. Fortunately, like Toki, the resilient Warrior has overcome his rough youth.
Owning a cat as a touring musician can be hard, but they really do rock. They offer emotional support in the studio and often chime in with input. We’ve even heard them crashing their owners’ podcasts and interviews. Today, we express our gratitude to all the kitties out there who are changing the music world and redefining darkness (Hint!). Enjoy our list of metal musicians who really adore cats!
Ozzy Osbourne’s Rob “Blasko” Nicholson
Ozzy Osbourne‘s Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, is one of the most awesome bassists around. The hired gun, has played with a long list of groups: Cryptic Slaughter, Prong, Zakk Sabbath, Danzig, etc. Mr. Blasko is also the founder and CEO of the boutique artist management and marketing firm BRXND. In 2021, he was named the Executive Vice President of A&R and Special Projects at Ripple Music. Blasko is a podcast host as well.
Given Mr. Blasko’s enormous talent combined with his massive brain, his heart of gold makes him a fluke of a human being. Anyone who knows anything about Blasko will remark on his sense of humor and his love of cats. He has welcomed so many furry friends into his home. In 2019, Blasko received the Advocacy Award from the LA-based organization Kitten Rescue. He was accordingly honored at the “Fur Ball at the Skirball” gala, which was attended that year by guests like iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove. Blasko has worked hard to raise funds for Kitten Rescue over the years. He even participates in the LA Marathon for this purpose. Blasko places special emphasis on helping to find homes for black cats, who are less likely to be adopted. In the words of Jean Genet: “All cats are black in the dark.”
“Hey-hey, it’s Fenriz!” The internet broke when Darkthrone‘s Mr. Gylve Fenris Nagell was elected to the municipal council for Oppegård in 2016. The story was picked up by major sites like Time, The Guardian, and The Independent! How did this “Duke of Gloat” do it?! He posted a photo of himself holding his cat. Meanwhile, Fenriz made his political message clear: “Ikke stem på meg.” Jeg må passe på vennen min, Tom!” / “Don’t vote for me. I have to take care of my friend, Tom.” This is where matters get slightly sticky: Fenriz told CLRVYNT that by the time he adopted this cat, it already had a name — “Peanut Butter.” Yet, his friends at Aftenposten, or “The Evening Post,” for which Fenriz used to write, reported that the cat’s name is Tom Kalender. In any case, when CLRVYNT asked if Fenriz’s cat would attend meetings with him as well, he responded: “Aw … no, she’d really hate that.”
Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth
Niklas Kvarforth is the genius behind Sweden’s Shining. The humble artist told Iron Fist: “I have nothing good going for me, except for my cats and being a fucking mastermind musician.” In conversation with Metal Sickness, Niklas revealed: “I just want to live my normal life with my fucking cat…” Whereas posers bother this “Varg utan flock,” or “wolf without a pack,” he deemed his last cat was “Better than you.” Unfortunately, Miss Katze Kvarforth passed away over two years ago. Niklas lamented: “Saknar dig varje dag…” / “Missing you every day…”
Katze was a truly exceptional cat who took part in the greatest album trailer of all time. In advance of Redefining Darkness (2012), Niklas released an incredible clip. Sadly, however, due to the abundance of Kvarforth copycats, viewers actually accused the genius Niklas of being unoriginal. Thus, his manager requested a new trailer. An ambivalent Niklas had her film him giving Katze some love. Ironically, this triggered people as well. He explained to Radio Metal: “… people suck and Katze is the light of my life, so to speak. She’s actually sleeping on my lap right now. It’s better to have her than to go out to a pub or something. I stopped doing that because I just fought all the time.” In this respect, Katze was truly a lifesaver.
Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell
They’re the cats in the box: Alice in Chains‘ co-founder Jerry Cantrell frequently posts pictures and videos of his furry friends: Teddi, Dealy, and Rats (sometimes spelled with a “z”). We learn that having to pry lizards from clenched jaws is one occupational hazard of being a cat dad. Jerry is an expert at making sure that these reptiles escape unharmed. This is because Jerry is a nature lover, who enjoys outdoor activities like fishing.
After the tragic death of AiC’s divine frontman Layne Staley, Jerry adopted Sadie, the cat that had belonged to Layne since 1994. Because Layne’s body was not discovered until two weeks after his death, Sadie was left hungry and traumatized. In 2002, Jerry gave us a glimpse of Sadie and his cattle on MTV Cribs.
Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler (And His Ex-Bandmates…)
The Black Sabbath icon Geezer Butler is one “crazy cat person.” Geezer and his wife, Gloria, have done so much for animal rights. The Butlers, who were honored by the Kitten Rescue in 2016, were actually the ones who introduced Blasko to the organization. The pair advocate for adoption of homeless animals and stand firmly against puppy mills. They have named several cats and dogs that they’ve rescued after rappers. Mrs. Butler has stated: “Animals are important in my life because they are my life. Ninety percent of my time is spent doing something with a cat or dog or farm animal or something.” Geezer even publicly offered money to help find a New York cat killer.
Geezer, Gloria, and Bill Ward are all vegans. Bill revealed that it was his wife who inspired him to change. He explained to Eat, Play, Rock: “It was not about saving the animals or anything. It has become that, of course, but originally the reasons were purely selfish, just a healthier lifestyle.”
Both Geezer and Ozzy have campaigned to ban the declawing of cats. Although Ozzy spent time in a mental hospital after shooting his 17 felines, he appears to be a fully reformed animal lover. He reflected in his autobiography: “… that’s one of my regrets — the cruelty to animals.”: Granted, he has joked about shooting cats and birds during Covid.
It would be criminal if we neglected to mention that Tony Iommi and his wife, Maria Sjoholm, have worked to rescue animals. In his book, Iommi told the story of how a Rottweiler that Maria was temporarily housing on their property bit him so badly that he needed to have surgery. What can we say?! His wife warned him. Mr. Iommi felt no resentment toward the animal and returned to say “hi” the very next day.
Dimmu Borgir’s Shagrath
You might remember that Metalocalypse‘s Nathan Explosion has a nightmare about working in a fast-food joint called “Dimmu Burger.” Dimmu Borgir‘s Shagrath wins the award for the prettiest and most black metal cat on the internet. Although Norwegian Forest cats are known to be especially large, Maine Coons just beat them out as far as size is concerned: They are the largest domesticated cat breed. Shagrath’s cat Brage, who has been a Thoresen family member since 2020, is a Maine Coon. In the past, Shagrath has also uploaded pictures of two striped felines.
August Burns Red’s JB Brubaker
August Burns Red‘s lead guitarist, JB Brubaker, wrote on Instagram: “I’m quite fond of cats.” That’s an understatement! You can follow his cat Bug, who is a cross between a Bengal and a farm cat, @bugonsoftthings. In 2015, JB Brukbaker revealed to Alternative Press: “Bug was present for the writing of our entire new album, Found in Far Away Places. She was by my feet, on my lap or behind me on top of the bunk beds chiming in with breakdown rhythms and song structure critiques. She’s actually responsible for the surf section in our song ‘Identity.’ I couldn’t have written those songs without her, as I find her incredibly inspiring.” (Unfortunately, from what we understand, Bug has more recently lost her hearing.) JB told AP that Bug even eats guitar string clippings: “Bug loves the taste of metal.” Brutal. In the Brubaker residence, Bug has had to learn to split her family’s attention with another cat called Sadie Lu.
Korpiklaani’s Jonne Järvelä
(If we were to cast a non-animated Metalocalypse film, we would definitely choose Jonne’s fellow countryman Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns of Finntroll to play Toki. You probably remember that the grocery store in Metalocalypse is called “Finntrolls Supermarket.”)
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor
No list would be complete without first hearing what Corey Taylor has to say on the matter. The Slipknot vocalist confessed to Revolver Mag that cats are his very favorite animals. Why?! “My cat, Sylvia, kills bats. I have a hundred-year-old house with these brown bats. Sylvia kills them and leaves them out for people to see. Gruesome.” What an Osbournean answer!
Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt
In the eyes of Opeth‘s Mikael Åkerfeldt, cats trump almost all else. In 2019, he told Loudwire: “My two daughters, my girlfriend and my cat I love dearly — they’re top of the list. But after that it’s the music.” Just a few months earlier, he spoke with HeadBangers LifeStyle and revealed the “agony” he feels before leaving his family and, at that time, two kitty cats.