By Sara Hall | NB Indy
Coastal Orange County is home to a number of famous faces, but one has whiskers and a long, furry tail.
Aragon the Cat, the chubby feline who plays Lord Tubbington on the hit Fox show “Glee,” lives in Newport Beach with his human owner, CeCe Card, who was born raised in Laguna Beach. She often walked Aragon on leash around Laguna.
The 24-pound Bengal is an “actor, comedian, [and] social activist,” according to his very own Facebook page.
Card is also working toward starting up a non-profit organization called Aragon’s Love that will raise funds for Laguna Beach’s Animal Crackers Pet Rescue and possibly the Irvine Animal Care Center and other rescue groups. She is also training Aragon to become a certified therapy cat
But he is nothing like his “Glee” character, Card said.
While on TV, the Tubbington character is known to smoke, drink, do drugs, and eats only human foods. His occupation is listed as “Gossipmonger” and he recently joined a gang.
“People know Lord Tubbington, but they don’t know the cat behind Lord Tubbington,” Card said. “That’s his role, but that’s not who he is.”
The cat behind the character is quite different.
Aragon is very friendly and affectionate, enjoys walking around the neighborhood, and exploring wherever his nose takes him, including visiting local shops, Card said.
Card, who previously called herself more of a “dog lover” than a “cat person,” adopted Aragon in 2005 when he was about 1-year-old.
A friend told her of an available Bengal kitten at an East Coast rescue group, she said, and an exotic cat intrigued her. The group sent her a photo of “Aragorn,” his name before Card modified it.
“I fell in love with him immediately,” she said. “He was so big and chunky.”
He already weighed in at about 12 pounds, Card estimated. Because of his “kingly stature,” he was named Aragorn, after the character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” The group’s vet told Card he was the “king” of the litter and described his personality as friendly and sociable.
Card was spending Christmas in New York and the rescue group’s headquarters was quite a distance away. The vet agreed to bring the cat to a halfway point. The meeting didn’t go as well. The feline was grumpy from traveling. He seemed “big and wild,” she said.
By the time they flew home, the cat was so relaxed that he spread out on the tray table, kneading his paw into the palm of my hand, Card said. “I was a proud mom.”
Card brought Aragon back to Laguna Beach, where he adjusted easily. The duo moved to Newport Beach just last year.
He got used to being carried around and being in noisy locations quickly, but walking on a leash was more of a process, she said.
“I let him lead me,” Card said. “He really looks forward to his walks,” which are twice a day.
But his girth does generate snipes about his weight, which she ignores.
“He’s the size he needs to be. He’s healthy. He’s been full figured since birth,” Card said. “This is a message to let everybody be who they want to be.”
Aragon became a feline actor after being “discovered” in Laguna. Card was walking him on a leash with a friend, Debbie Pearl, a talent scout for Paws For Effect. Pearl thought he had the perfect look and suggested he try his paw at acting.
“She said, ‘He’s big, he’s chunky, he’s affable, I think I can get him work,’” Card explained.
Within a month, he had an audition for Glee in a group casting for the role of Lord Tubbington and was offered the part.
Since then he’s had walk on roles in an iPad Verizon commercial and in a video with the cast of a television’s “Ghost Girls.”
He also recently starred in a humorous scripted video with a voiceover that will be posted on YouTube, said Card, who covets a spot for Aragon on a Superbowl commercial.
In the meantime, she thinks Aragon can spread a positive message of love, genuineness and acceptance.
“As many times as we can get that message out there, whether it’s a human being saying it or a cat exemplifying it,” it’s important, she said. “You never know who the next spokesperson is going to be.”
Photos by Sara Hall