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The Tumblr blog Ca$hcats was created by New York City-based writer Will Zweigart and launched on January 11th, 2011 under the domain name cashcats.biz. From the beginning, the blog was positively received within the community, accruing anywhere from dozens to hundreds of reblogs and likes per post. Ca$hcats eventually broke through the 1,000 notes mark on March 21st with a picture of a cat lounging on top of an ATM machine.
Boasting one’s cash flow through self-gratuitous photos has its roots in gangster rap music, which became familiar through its frequent usage in album cover jackets since the late 1990s. Following the emergence of social networking sites, photos of “wannabe gangster” individuals imitating the popular cliché began to surface on Facebook as well as online hip hop communities, sometimes leading to parody memes like “Been Had Money” (shown below, left) and Cash Bling PK (shown below, center). The earliest known LOLcat image featuring bills in the backgroud (shown below, right) was uploaded onto My[Confined]Space by user STFUpp3rcut on July 7th, 2009.
The Tumblr blog’s fanbase rapidly grew in the following weeks. Zweigart, who was working at the internet culture news site Urlesque at the time, even wrote an interview article with himself titled “CashCats.biz Founder Shares Secrets to Feline Wealth,” which was published on February 1st. Meanwhile, the adult-themed Tumblr blog TitsandAsses began running a weekly series called “Stacks and Cats Monday” in late February, possibly inspired by Zweigart’s blog. By May 2011, Ca$hcats averaged well over 100 notes per post and the blog was mentioned by numerous trend-monitoring sites like Incredible Things and TrendsHunter. The site continued to receive coverage from various internet humor and niche interest blogs, including BuzzFeed, BoingBoing and HallowMeme in December 2011 as well as Mashable, Laughing Squid, Vice Motherboard and the meta-Tumblr site Single Topic Blog of Single Topic Blogs in 2012.
NYC Gallery Exhibit
In July 2012, Tumblr and New York-based social media collective Forced Meme Productions announced that they will sponsor and host a one-night popup exhibition titled “Cashcats.biz: How the One Purrrcent Really Live,” featuring dozens of previously unseen images submitted to the Ca$hcats blog, along with a selection of mixed media installations by other artists like Pusheen at The Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn, New York on September 6th from 8pm to 11pm. According to the press release, all artworks on display will be available for sale through a silent auction with a portion of proceeds donated to the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, a no-kill animal shelter in Williamsburg.
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