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Anxiety Cat is an advice animal image macro series similar to Socially Awkward Penguin and Paranoid Parrot featuring a frightened-looking black cat accompanied by captions related to paranoia and social distress.
The image of the frightened black cat had previously appeared in a well-known demotivational poster (shown below, left) that began circulating the web as early as 2007 with the catchphrase “What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen.” The earliest instance of the image macro (shown below, center) on Memegenerator did not contain caption playing on social distress, but instead focused on catnip. The third recorded instance (shown below, right) was the first to feature a caption playing on the fears involved with filling out a standardized test. As of February 2013, there are more than 300 instances of Anxiety Cat on Memegenerator and an additional 300 on Quickmeme.
A single topic Tumblr was created for Anxiety Cat in August 2011, posting an average of 100 images per month through February 2013. Later that month, on August 31st, the image macro series was first posted on Reddit and a collection of images was shared on humor site Pleated Jeans. In September, series of Anxiety Cat images were featured on blog Caturday Today and Uproxx. In November 2012, Anxiety Cat was featured on Complex as one of the 15 Funniest Cat Memes Ever.
Search interest for Anxiety Cat began in August 2011 and peaked the next month.
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