A love letter to Tardar Sauce and other catlebrities
Who's saying what
I was shocked this week to find out a friend, very active on the internet – immersed in memes – hadn’t heard of Grumpy Cat, a.k.a. Tardar Sauce. This cat has captured my heart; perhaps he’s an antidote to a world that constantly tells us we need to smile and be positive to achieve our dreams, perhaps not, but Tardar is swiftly achieving a celebrity and he looks like this:
Tardar joins an ever-growing list of cats who sit at the pinnacle of a very crowded felines-on-film marketplace. There are cute videos and gifs of cats everywhere on the internet, but the best most can hope for is to end up on Cats-Gone-Wild style compilation videos:
Few end up in the league of Tard. So, besides rapid riser Tardar Sauce, the top “catlebrities” out there are:
1. Maru, the box jumping cat.
2. Snoopybabe, the loveable instagram cat.
3. Colonel Meow, the angry cat.
4. Henri the existentially tortured cat.
5. Shironekoshiro, the world’s most relaxed cat.
7. And of course, LIL BUB.
Where did it start? It’s clearly something common to apes and humans. Remember Koko and his pet kitten friend Allball (because he thought it looked like a little ball)?
Then there were the Egyptians who worshiped a feline goddess called Bastet. While we all probably know that, it’s worth contemplating: Worshiped. It’s more than being into cats, it’s basically ordering your entire society’s belief system around an animal that, most of the time, doesn’t seem to give a damn about us (unless it wants feeds, strokes, of for you to look at some native animal it’s just killed). They used to have solemn festivals for them, dress them in expensive bling, and go to the effort of mummifying their corpses – in one excavated temple, 300,000 rigid little guys were found. To put that in perspective, that’s double the population of Geelong.
It wasn’t just the Egyptians either. Vikings, probably the hardest group people who have ever banded together on the planet, also fell under the cat’s spell. Their goddess Freja, who had the hefty portfolio of love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death, used to ride around on this incredibly ill-thought chariot:
Not all religions clicked ‘like’ on cats though. The Medieval Christians, as they were partial to do, decided cats had the devil in ‘em. Pope Gregory IX declared them the official symbol of heresy and consequently people were given carte-blanche to massacre cats. In 1347, with the rat population surging out of control from lack of cats, the bubonic plague (the black death) swept Europe decimating 20 per cent of the population – Oh, how the cats (likely) did LOL. And science won in the end because Isaac Newton invented the cat flip. (I know that was a bit of a jump, but I just love that fact, and wasn’t sure where else I could put it.)
It is undeniable that in the modern age, cats are slowly digging their claws deeper and deeper into our collective psyche. We’ve got it bad. How else do you explain this cat massaging lunacy?
They’re even finding new ways to propagate themselves via the internet:
Yeah sure, these kids got their likes and the cat they wished for. But consider this, did the cats get what they wished for? Who’s in charge, really?
What we’re seeing is the beginnings of new age of cat workshop. While we haven’t turned them into deities yet, they’ve made incredible progress for only 20 years of human web-browsing. Cat cults are not far away and they will gain legitimacy slowly, eventually controlling the government. It will be planet of the cats! Judging by this video, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Why is this happening? Well, my old friend science says it’s highly likely they’ve given us parasites, and these parasites that are controlling our behaviour. I’m not kidding. It’s called Toxoplasma gondii and is excreted by cats in their feces. The effect of this on rats means that they are actually attracted to cat smells; it overrides their instinct to avoid their natural predators.
It’s estimated that 10-15 per cent of us have this virus (unless your French, in which case it’s as high 55 per cent due to propensity to eat raw steak). Its general effects on humans, that have been so far included, are delayed reaction time and a possible link to the onset of mood disorders such as obsessive-compulsive behaviour and schizophrenia.
It also affects women and men differently, according to the leading article on the phenomenon published in the Atlantic:
“Compared with uninfected men, males who had the parasite were more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people’s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules. Infected women, on the other hand, presented in exactly the opposite way: they were more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women. Compared with uninfected people of the same sex, infected men were more likely to wear rumpled old clothes; infected women tended to be more meticulously attired, many showing up for the study in expensive, designer-brand clothing. Infected men tended to have fewer friends, while infected women tended to have more.“
So there you have it – feline lunacy is the NWO. Women are going to be amazing and men are going to be utterly hopeless. Cats rule the Internet, but that’s just the beginning. And how do our adorable dictators feel about all this attention? Thumbs up.
Lead kitty via Shutterstock.