Weather Forecaster Goes Viral After Letting His Cat Join His At-Home Reports

By now, it's probably fair to say that many of us have become used to working from home. That's not to say that we're immune to feeling confined or lonely anymore but we'd be lying if we said that the rooms our coworkers take Zoom calls in aren't familiar sights at this point.

And that's become just as true for the broadcasters we watch as it is for each other in the sense that it's pretty easy to forget what some of their studios even look like.

By a similar token, the interruptions from pets and family members that may have once seemed jarring are just a fact of life now.

And one Indiana meteorologist is not only accepting that fact but embracing it as part of the show.

Shortly after the emergence of the COVID-19, WFIE-TV Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lyons set up a studio in his dining room to deliver his broadcasts from home.

As he told Bored Panda, "Working from home has been an adventure. I have my studio and green screen set up in the dining room. It’s nice to have a 30-second commute after the late news."

But after about three weeks under these circumstances, it was clear that his 11-year-old cat Betty was curious about the new setup.

And that curiosity was the reason Betty came into Lyons' life in the first place.

As he said, "Betty just showed up on our windowsill about 11 years ago. My daughter, who was 10 at the time, begged to keep her. I had always had cats growing up, so it was an easy sell, plus, I’m a softie!"

But one of the instances when Betty was hanging around the dining room gave Lyons' news director the idea to put her on the air.

As People reported, Lyons then conducted his forecast while Betty lay in his arms with a fairly disinterested look on her face.

Nonetheless, she clearly made quite the impression on his audience since in another report just a few days after the fact, Lyons said, "I don’t know how to start this weathercast other than to say the outpouring for this silly cat has been crazy. She’s gone viral, my nieces and nephews tell me."

Indeed, it seemed that Lyons' broadcasts were gaining viewers as far away as Europe and Australia who likely weren't just wondering what the weather's like in Indiana.

As People reported, Betty the Weathercat — as she is now known — has become a frequent fixture of WFIE-TV's weather reports, which has netted her a "special pedestal" to sit on and an Instagram account that has 6,130 followers at the time of this writing.

In the months since Betty started appearing on camera, she also has her own lower-third graphic like Lyons himself does and has starred in some animations made by the station.

And for as long as the pandemic lasts, Lyons intends to keep Betty in the picture to lift people's spirits.

As he put it, "When the weather is threatening, you have to be serious, but for the rest of the time, it’s important to be happy. My sense is that people want a diversion right now during this horrible pandemic. They’re looking for something that’s kind of fun. So at least for now, doing the forecast with Betty fits right in."

h/t: Bored Panda, People

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