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Mariska Hargitay Says She ‘Was Not a Cat Person’ Before New Kitten, Karma: ‘I Don’t Understand the Obsession’

Hargitay introduced the newest furry member of her family to her Instagram followers in November 2023

<p>Getty;Mariska Hargitay/Instagram</p> Mariska Hargitay and her cat, Karma

Getty;Mariska Hargitay/Instagram

Mariska Hargitay and her cat, Karma
  • Mariska Hargitay revealed during a visit to Today with Hoda & Jenna that she "was not a cat person" until she met her new kitten

  • The Law & Order: SVU star introduced her kitten, Karma, on Instagram in November

  • Karma was named for Taylor Swift's song on her 2022 album Midnights

Don't call Mariska Hargitay a cat lady!

On Thursday's episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna, the Law & Order: SVU star was candid about how her latest pet, a kitten named Karma, came to be a part of her family.

"I don’t understand the obsession," she told hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, of people who love cats.

"I was not a cat person, I’ll be honest. And I love lions, I see myself as a lion, and I saw this cat and I went crazy for it," she continued, about her unexpected bond with Karma.

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images</p> : Mariska Hargitay attends the 2023 Stuttering Association For The Young (SAY) Benefit Gala at The Edison Ballroom on May 22, 2023

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

: Mariska Hargitay attends the 2023 Stuttering Association For The Young (SAY) Benefit Gala at The Edison Ballroom on May 22, 2023

Related: Mariska Hargitay Shares Her Experience in Her Own Words: A Rape. A Reckoning. A Renewal (Exclusive)

The actress told Kotb, 59, and Hager, 42, that her kids were begging for the cat and she was surprised that her husband, Peter Hermann, agreed to allow another animal in the family.

"He did not want another animal, because we have a dog. And he saw this cat. And I was sitting there thinking I was going to have [to convince my husband] — ‘cause my kids were like, [begging] ‘Mommy, mommy please.’ And it was all, ‘Daddy’s not going to go for this.’ And then Peter was like, ‘I love that cat,'" Hargitay, 59, explained.

The kids — August Miklos Friedrich, 17, Amaya Josephine, 12, and Andrew Nicolas, 12 — ultimately didn't have to do much convincing to make Karma a part of their family.

Karma is, of course, named after Taylor Swift's song on her 2022 album Midnights. Hargitay confirmed this to Kotb and Hager by quoting the lyrics, "Karma is a cat. Me and Karma vibe like that."

<p>Dimitrios Kambouris/LP5/Getty</p> Taylor Swift performs onstage with actress Mariska Hargitay during The 1989 World Tour on June 13, 2015

Dimitrios Kambouris/LP5/Getty

Taylor Swift performs onstage with actress Mariska Hargitay during The 1989 World Tour on June 13, 2015

The actress introduced her followers to her cat in an Instagram post in November.

In a PEOPLE exclusive earlier this month, Hargitay confessed: "Her name was Karma from minute one. That was her name."

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Swift famously named her cat Olivia, whom she brought home in 2014, after Hargitay's SVU character, Olivia Benson.

"It was a no-brainer," she continued. "It just felt so right, and my daughter wasn't having it any other way."

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