It’s the tale of the little Pop Tart space cat that could: YouTube video Nyan Cat has now been watched more than 100 million times online! In recognition of this momentous feat, we take a quick look back at where the perpetually smiling pastry pussy came from and how he stole our hearts, minds and computer screens.
Back in 2011, a young man named Christopher Torres made a simple animated GIF as part of a fund-raiser for the Red Cross. Originally known simply as Pop Tart Cat, the GIF showed a smiling grey cat with a sugary breakfast pastry of the same name for a body, running through space and leaving a streak of pure, rainbow-coloured happiness in its wake.
Within just a few hours, the looping animation was being shared all over the world, praised for being ‘teh cute’ and all kinds of LOLz. Three days later, taking a shine to the adorable character, YouTuber saraj00n uploaded the animated GIF as a video set to an edited version of the preexisting Voicaloid track Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!, itself made up entirely of the Japanese onomatopoeic word ‘nyan‘ (similar to ‘meow’) in the synthesized voice of digital diva Hatsune Miku.
The result was Nyan Cat:
Since then, Nyan Cat has become a bona fide internet celebrity. Shared, recreated and imitated countless of times, Nyan Cat has become a textbook example of the power of the meme, but has also transcended the boundaries of his original frames of animation and YouTube video, and can be found all around us:
As clever desktop backgrounds…
…Helping to keep our pants up…
…Even adding a stroke of geek chic to young ladies’ make-up.
Photo: Katie Alves
Just as Nyan Cat continues to run through the cosmos even to this day, his video is showing no signs of slowing down having surpassed the 100-million-views mark this week, and the counter already creeping towards 101 million.
God speed ye, Nyan Cat!