Walter the Cat

Walter the Cat

Chevrolet probably didn’t predict that an adventurous Walter the Cat would somehow overshadow its trucks and SUVs, but it knows a feline star when it sees one. Now Walter the cat is back, making a second appearance alongside the 2022 Chevy Silverado to prove that winter weather needn’t be a problem whether you’ve got all-wheel drive or just four paws.

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Walter the Cat leads the pack!
Walter the Cat leads the pack!

The commercial – dubbed “Walter in Winter” – aired for the first time in the US over the weekend, and sees Walter braving the snow this time around. As well as going camping, Walter helps rescue a hapless skier from the snow and settles down in an impromptu campsite – powered, of course, from the Silverado itself.

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It’s all in the name of pitching the 2022 Silverado’s Trail Boss trim. That takes the standard truck and gives it a two-inch lift over the regular ride height, for increased clearance off-road. It also gets Goodyear Duratrac tires for better traction, plus a two-speed transfer case and the Z71 off-road package. It’s part of a push by automakers to bake in some of the features we’ve seen popularized in third-party modifications, only this time direct from the factory.

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Walter the Cate outside in the snowFor Walter fans, it’s another opportunity to see a cat act like a dog. Truck fans, though, may be more intrigued by Chevrolet’s decision to go with a four-cylinder gas engine as standard on the Silverado LT Trail Boss and Silverado Custom Trail Boss. While a V8 is available in the engine line-up, Chevy opted for its punchy turbo-four instead for this off-road-focused pickup.

While it may be smaller than you might expect, the high-output engine is actually good for 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. If you really want more cylinders, Chevrolet will offer both the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter versions of its V8 as upgrades on both Trail Boss trims. The Duramax 3.0-liter turbo-diesel – known for its plentiful torque and better economy – is also an option.

It’s Walter’s second outing as a Chevy spokescat, having made his debut back in the Summer of 2021. Then, the automaker showed the go-getter feline getting to grips with the 2021 Silverado, as part of its Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games advertising.

The Walter the Cat spot was an instant hit, and has since racked up more than 2.1 million views on YouTube. While the Silverado showed off its Multi-Flex Tailgate – something which has been carried over to the 2022 model year pickup – Walter was more interested in braving the great outdoors. That meant road-trips in the truck, going fishing and swimming, and chasing other kitties up trees, just like a dog might.

Although they may not be the sort of activities you’d associate with cats, the pet in the commercial wasn’t actually the result of CGI, at least for the most part. For the original advert Chevy’s agency, Commonwealth/McCann, used nine identical tabby cats to play the role of Walter, creative lead Gary Pascoe told Muse by Clio. Each furry actor had its own talents to bring to the set, a huge 100,000 acre ranch in Utah.

“Each Walter the cat had a specific unique ability: jumping into a truck, busting through a door, coming out of water,” Pascoe said. “The real cats performed so well, we ended up using very little CGI.”

Walter made a very small reappearance in Chevrolet’s teaser for the Silverado ZR2 in September 2021, though you’d have been forgiven for missing the brief tail sighting while Chris Pratt extolled the virtues of the truck.

For Chevy, the 2022 Silverado is a particularly big deal. Truck sales continue to grow in the US, and it’s an ongoing battle to try to snipe Ford’s best-selling F-150 from the top spot – particularly as the supply chain shortage adds unexpected hurdles to automakers’ production plans. Meanwhile, come 2023, Chevrolet will launch its 2024 Silverado EV, the first all-electric version of the pickup.

It will use the GM Ultium platform for EVs, have around 400 miles of range – model depending – and offer enhanced convenience features like the ability to open up the bed into the cabin for hauling longer items. While the 2022 Silverado Trail Boss will be offered with a bed outlet, useful for powering campsites whether or not you have your cat with you, the 2024 Silverado EV will be sold with a PowerBase charging system, capable of supplying up to 10.2 kW across as many as 10 outlets.

Commercials for the Silverado EV haven’t begun appearing yet, and indeed Chevrolet is only currently taking reservations for the electric truck. Sales are expected to kick off next year, while the new gas-powered Silverado Trail Boss will arrive in dealerships later in 2022. Chevrolet will provide the Multi-Flex Tailgate; you’ll have to supply the adventurous pet.

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