- Dmitry Mikhnev became famous for his videos of Hunter, his cat, singing songs.
- Hunter was unable to accompany the Russian TikToker when he moved to Dubai in February.
- While the war in Ukraine has made travel uncertain, Hunter now struggles to save money so she can find Hunter.
Dmitry Mikhnev, originally from Moscow, moved to Dubai on February 22, with the intention of saving enough money for Hunter, his famous cat on TikTok.
Two days later, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine that wreaked havoc across Eastern Europe. Mikhnev is now desperately trying to raise enough funds to bring his cat to Dubai amidst all the uncertainty.
“The situation in Russia is changing every day, and it’s unclear what other restrictions await us,” Insider was contacted by Mikhnev, who suggested that Russia may close its borders.
Mikhnev & Hunter have amassed a fan base more than TikTok has 2.7 million users. Thanks to their musical act, Hunter is able to do just that. Mikhnev will often play a popular song and Hunter will meow as he touches his nose.
His most popular videos have at least 70 million views and feature Hunter meowing with the camera. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga and “Peaches” by Justin Bieber.
Mikhnev said it accidentally went viral. Hunter, now almost ten years old, started meowing when Mikhnev applied pressure to his nose.
“I surprised my mom with this thing – when I pressed her nose twice, it said, ‘Mom,'” he said.
It was posted by Hunter with music after uploading the first video. “blew up the internet,” he said. Mikhnev is now watched by people all over the world who enjoy watching his videos with his cat. They have celebrities as fans, and Bieber even shared one of their videos.
Mikhnev said he wanted to leave Moscow at an early age, but it became increasingly difficult to work and earn money. “I was tired of the greyness, the aggression and the bad weather,” he said.
He said he moved from the United States to Dubai because he had been there before. Hunter left his family behind because he couldn’t afford all the expenses, such as vet visits, microchips, flights and other services.
While working in Dubai, he planned to save enough money to allow Hunter to come. But with the war raging, he is determined to do so as soon as possible.
Mikhnev said the war against Ukraine took a heavy toll on Mikhnev’s mental state.
“Thousands of people are dying there, whether Russian or Ukrainian,” he told Insider. “Ukraine was, is and always will be a brother country for me and the majority of the Russian population, I am sure of that.”
Mikhnev sells NFTs in an effort to raise enough funds to transport Hunter to Dubai. The functionality of non-fungible tokens – what else? – Hunter pixel art graphics. These graphics also feature images of cats in various outfits, smoking cigarettes and shooting lasers from their eyes.
Mikhnev wants Hunter to leave Moscow immediately because he is worried about the effects of the war on Russia. Russia has been subject to severe sanctions from the West, which could have a devastating impact on the Russian economy.
Mikhnev, for his part, says he has no intention of returning to Russia.
“I’ve had enough of the ‘Russian world’,” he said, “and my goal is never to go back there again.”
Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov and Nikita Angarski