The rise of Grumpy Cat and Boo memes has underscored a new part of our society’s lingua franca
. Memes are those insidious pieces of media or catchphrases driven by and spread over the internet. While some may see this as a depressing statement on today’s pop culture, it also means that pet owners have a new outlet for enjoyment and entertainment. Criticize memes all you want for being vapid, but they’re also a burgeoning new industry, and one that’s filled more and more with cute animals, mainly pets. Cats alone drive almost 15% of all web traffic, with about 30 million Google searches per month that include the search term “cat.” Memes are a large part of that popularity, with the Grumpy Cat meme as perhaps the most popular of internet animals stars; she’s currently valued at 1 million dollars. Some of the many faces of Grumpy Cat, from her Official Facebook page.
Grumpy Cat originally became popular after her owner’s brother, Bryan Bundesen, posted two photos of her on social media site reddit.com on September 23rd, 2012. The photos received 25,300 up votes in the first 24 hours after their posting, in an unplanned open caption contest. After all the popularity generated by the photos, Grumpy Cat’s image has gone on to be used in books, Tshirts, art gallery openings, stuffed animals, and even a line of coffee drinks called the “Grumppucino,” whose bottles feature her image. Grumpy Cat is actually a female snowshoe cat named Tardar Sauce, who now has her own website, grumpycats.com, that tracks her publicity, in addition to her Facebook page, which currently has 7,749,353 followers. She has also recently become the “spokescat” for Friskies cat food. Despite all the hype about grumpiness, her owner Tabatha Bundesen assures the public that Tardar Sauce is not perpetually peeved, but that her face just naturally appears that way. While the Grumpy Cat meme is by far the most popular of all cat memes, and indeed most animals memes, she is one of many other cats, including Lil’ Bub and Waffles, whose images have risen to internet fame. All of this attention on Grumpy Cat is not to discount Boo, called the cutest dog in the world. Boo is a 9-year-old Pomeranian
known for his short hair cut and perpetual smile. He belongs to a Facebook employee in San Francisco, who originally posted a photo of her dog with the caption, “My name is Boo. I am a dog. Life is good.” Can you spot the real Boo? (images from Boo's Facebook page)
Despite the simplicity of his internet debut, the picture was soon circulated after singer Ke$ha tweeted a picture of him, saying she had a new boyfriend. Shortly after, reality TV star Khloé Kardashian helped cement his pop culture fame by labeling him the cutest dog in the world, a moniker that stuck. After his image circulated the blogosphere, he, like Grumpy Cat, began to receive merchandising and advertising offers. He currently has two children’s picture books named after him, a Gund stuffed animal, and has recently been signed on as a spokesdog for Virgin Airlines, appearing in commercials about people flying with pets. Do you have any fun photos of pets that you think would make a good meme? Post them below, with a fitting caption, and try your hand at rivaling Grumpy Cat and Boo!