Cole and Marmalade gone from internet after lawsuit (2023)

If a cat does something adorable, but no one is there to watch it on the internet, was it actually cute?

Cole and Marmalade, the internet-famous ginger tabby and his elegantly long-haired adopted brother, are as frisky as ever. But their adorable antics are missing online this week. Fans who visited the Cole and Marmalade Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter accounts found only messages saying they’d been deactivated.

The viral rescue cats, who’ve appeared on Ellen and the cover of Modern Cat magazine, have gone dark online due to a lawsuit filed by Digital Pet Media, the company that says it owns the Cole and Marmalade digital business. The defendant is Chris Poole, the Tampa man who owns the actual cats.

In 2016, Poole entered into a business deal with two men, Edward Holden and Stephen Watters, to form a new company called Digital Pet Media. Poole had the cats. They had funds and e-commerce experience that could grow merchandise sales on Each man owns one third of the company, though Poole and his wife were fired from their jobs creating content for the Cole and Marmalade websites in December.

In the lawsuit, Poole is accused of breaching contract and harming the Cole and Marmalade enterprise by then acting erratically and locking his business partners out of vital social media cat accounts. They demanded Poole turn over the websites and video equipment it provided him to make cat videos, all valued at $50,000. They also want Poole to pay other unspecified damages and legal fees.

Poole filed his own lawsuit against his business partners this week. He says Watters secretly paid himself a 40 percent “management fee" out of Digital Pet Media earnings. The suit also accuses Poole’s partners of creating multiple LLCs with the same name in various states to cover up shady business practices. Those practices, the suit says, prevented Poole from earning more money even though Cole and Marmalade’s web traffic kept going up.

In a Gofundme campaign launched to raise legal defense funds, Poole implies he was wrong to think his business partners believed in “our efforts to raise awareness, educate and entertain the cat lovers of the world.” He states Digital Pet Media fired them two days before Christmas, and since then “has been reposting and using rehashed videos of Cole and Marmalade, but Chris, Jessica nor the cats, have been involved.”

Cole and Marmalade gone from internet after lawsuit (1)

Poole found Cole alone and flea infested in 2012 on a street in Pasco County. He bottle fed the kitten back to health. Marmalade came later, and was a lone survivor among a litter of kittens his neighbors left outside to fend for themselves. Poole’s videos of the cats mixed silliness with education to promote spaying, neutering and feral cat care.

They were a hit, racking up more than 300 million views on YouTube to date.

Cole and Marmalade gone from internet after lawsuit (2)

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Poole, also known as Cat Man Chris, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2018 that his primary mission in life was to rescue and foster feral cats. Cole and Marmalade’s success let him spend most of his time in the field doing that. His wife also left her corporate job to work on Cole and Marmalade’s online presence full time.

The couple lives with the cats in a rented, manufactured home in northeastern Tampa where catnip grows in pots on the front porch. A shed in back, donated by fans, serves as a cat recovery center. Since the Times wrote about Poole and Josephs, they adopted two more cats, Jugg and Zig Zag, and incorporated them into their online mix.

On the surface, things appeared fine until the lawsuit was filed Dec. 23. In it, Digital Pet Media claims Poole took over the various Cole and Marmalade-related accounts and changed the passwords to lock his partners out.

In a request filed in court to have the case dismissed, Poole says he was hastily fired during a disagreement over who owned his “Cat Man Chris” websites and trademark. Poole started Cat Man Chris to focus more on his rescue work away from Cole and Marmalade. Those videos are how he became known for crawling into bushes, sewers or abandoned properties to retrieve sickly, dirty cats, which he then cleaned up and rehabilitated to make adoptable.

Poole launched his Gofundme campaign on March 7 with a stated goal of $100,000. It talks about the highs of meeting fans at cat conventions, but also suffering “compassion fatigue, depression, anxiety and/or PTSD ... from the years spent giving up nights, weekends and sleep for this important ‘work’. ... This was not just our jobs; it was our whole lives.”

It says the couple is spending its life savings to pay for lawyers, and talks about Poole driving a donated car worth less than $500. “We’ve now (reluctantly) begun crowdfunding to help with our legal costs and support our ongoing rescue work during this difficult time.”

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Within three days, nearly 4,000 donors had given a total of more than $137,000. It was shared more than 40,000 times.

In response, Digital Pet Media filed a motion asking Poole be held in contempt of court, and stating that the Gofundme campaign is full of “misleading statements, falsities, and omissions."

Poole, it says, still owns one third of Digital Pet Media "and accepted distributions from Digital as recently as December of 2019 ($27,500.00) and February of 2020 ($5,000) ... In fact, since mid-2016, Poole and his wife have accepted more than $370,000 in income and distributions from Digital and its business partners in connection with revenues made from the Cole and Marmalade Network.”'

Digital Pet Media’s motion, which also demands the fundraiser be taken down, was denied by a judge Tuesday.

Related: How Tampa's Cole and Marmalade got famous, beat cancer and helped more cats

Attached as evidence in Digital Pet Media’s filings claiming that Poole is harming the company is a graph showing followers on Cole and Marmalade’s Facebook page plummeting by the thousands. There are also screenshots of profanity-filled Facebook messages from what it calls “a public mob” riled up against them by Poole’s claims.

In response, the company deactivated all of the Cole and Marmalade social media accounts to try to stem the bleeding. The company says it is now losing $2,500 a day, and Poole should pay it.

After receiving thousands of messages from upset or confused fans, Digital Pet Media posted an FAQ on to respond. “No, the Cole and Marmalade website was not stolen or hijacked ... ,” it reads. “Yes, the team does own cats. ... Yes, the Company did pay Christopher Poole and Jessica Josephs."

Watters did not respond to requests for comment. Poole said he was “amazed” by his fans’ support, but directed questions to his attorney Joseph F. Southron with Four Rivers Law Firm, who said it was not the firm’s policy to discuss facts of an ongoing case.

For those forced to go without fresh Cole and Marmalade pics, Josephs has posted occasional photos on her personal Instagram. Cole recently laid on his cat tree in the middle of the day. Marmalade was confused by a frog in the house. Both remain cute.


Cole and Marmalade gone from internet after lawsuit? ›

In it, Digital Pet Media claims Poole took over the various Cole and Marmalade-related accounts and changed the passwords to lock his partners out. In a request filed in court to have the case dismissed, Poole says he was hastily fired during a disagreement over who owned his “Cat Man Chris” websites and trademark.

What happened to Cole and Marmalade? ›

(Marmalade is FIV positive and Cole was a rescued black cat. Black cats notoriously face more difficulty finding forever homes.) Sadly, after a battle with kidney disease and beating cancer, Cole passed away on Sunday, October 10th, 2021.

Are Cole and Marmalade back? ›

Tampa's most famous internet cats reappear when the world needed it most, owners say. They're back, they're still cute and their owners can again legally post as many photos of their frisky antics as they want.

What was Marmalade's biggest hit? ›

30, they enjoyed their biggest UK success with their cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", which topped the UK chart in January 1969, the group becoming the first Scottish group to top that chart.

What breed is Cole and Marmalade? ›

About Us - Cole & Marmalade. We believe Cole is a TURKISH ANGORA but can't be totally sure since he was rescued off the streets, but we all know rescued is the best breed anyway ! …

Why did Cole and Marmalade stop posting? ›

The viral rescue cats, who've appeared on Ellen and the cover of Modern Cat magazine, have gone dark online due to a lawsuit filed by Digital Pet Media, the company that says it owns the Cole and Marmalade digital business. The defendant is Chris Poole, the Tampa man who owns the actual cats.

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51 more rows

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According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

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The Scots are credited with developing marmalade as a spread, with Scottish recipes in the 18th century using more water to produce a less solid preserve.

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What did Zainab say to Cole? ›

She said Cole "looked at me and he goes, 'are you going to eat both of those?' " When she told him yes, she recalled him saying that "maybe you should save your appetite" because they were going out to eat later.

Are Zenab and Cole still together? ›

The answer is no. Cole and Zanab broke up in episode 11 of Love Is Blind season 3 after Zanab told Cole “I do not” at the altar of their wedding. “Cole, you have taught me so much about myself in the last two months, and you have shared so much of who you are, and I am so thankful for that.

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Are SK and Raven still together 2023? ›

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KSNF/KODE — At 30 years and 286 days old, a Portuguese dog named “Bobi” was recently crowned the world's oldest dog ever, breaking an almost century-old record.

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Creme Puff (August 3, 1967 – August 6, 2005) was a mixed Tabby domestic cat, owned by Jake Perry of Austin, Texas, US. She was the oldest cat ever recorded, according to the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records, when she died aged 38 years and 3 days. Austin, Texas, U.S.

How old is cat god? ›

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Pinky the Cat is a video that aired on several American reality television programs in the 1990s before it achieved additional fame on the internet as a viral video in the 2000s.

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The average lifespan for a pet cat is probably around 13 to 14 years. However, although their lifespan varies, a well cared for cat may commonly live to 15 or beyond, some make it to 18 or 20 and a few extraordinary felines even pass 25 or 30 years of age.

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The average cat lifespan is between 13-17 years. Some lucky felines have been known to live 20 years or more—the world record holder for oldest cat on record, adorably named Creme Puff, lived to be a whopping 38 years old. Many factors contribute to how long a cat will live.

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A princess from a land of Cats somewhere in this world. She is curious and at the age of 9, she read all the books in the royal palace.


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