In September 2012 a cat named ‘Tartar Sauce’ rose to fame when her owner’s brother posted the cat’s picture on Reddit. Dwarfism and an under bite gave the cat a trademark scowl, and after a YouTube video proved her expression’s authenticity the cat's fame—known thereafter as, ‘Grumpy Cat’—grew from countless memes and newspaper articles to television and talk show appearances, sponsorships, and even a job at Buzzfeed.
While social media continues to propel the modern cat to stardom famous cats have long made headlines by other means.
In March 1996, the story of Scarlett—a cat with five kittens—made international headlines when she carried each of her kittens out of a fire that had broken out in an abandoned garage in Brooklyn, New York. It was reported that Scarlett’s eyes were so severely blistered from the fire that after rescuing her kittens she touched each of them with her nose, “to ensure they were all there”, and then promptly collapsed.
Other cats made famous by their bravery and bizarre circumstances include Simon of the HMS Amethyst as well as a cat known as Unsinkable Sam. In World War Two the remarkable Unsinkable Sam allegedly survived the sinking of not one, not two, but three ships over the course of six months. Whilst ship's cat, Simon protected the food stores from rats aboard the HMS Amethyst while the ship remained trapped in enemy waters and under fire for over two months – a feat that made Simon the only feline to earn the PDSA Dickin medal for bravery.
As incredible as the thought of a cat in a sea-battle is, cats have also found appointments in equally astounding positions all over the world.
Since the 1500's the English government has kept a ‘Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office’ (Larry), in order to quell their recurring rodent problem. In 1963, Félicette was the first and only cat to successfully go into space. Appearing on Time magazine’s website, Cooper from Seattle has claimed fame for becoming a photographer – a digital camera on his collar allowing the cat to document his adventures. Finally this year Buzzfeed hailed the character of the cat ‘Goose’ as the star of Captain Marvel – the release of a video depicting the feline readying himself for the red carpet premiere only furthered the cat’s popularity.
It seems the ability to capture the interest and admiration of the ever-curious public is a talent the feline species has down to an art form. And as for that simple cat video? Fret not. For as of 2015 the combined view count of all of YouTube's cat videos comes to a grand total of over 24 billion.