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Cat Breading, also known as Breading Cats, is a photo fad that involves taking pictures of cats with slices of bread placed around the neck. The name of the series is meant to be a pun for “inbred.”
The original cat bread photo was posted to both Reddit and Tumblr on August 2nd, 2011, where it received over 51,000 notes in six months. It was reshared on humor blogs Tastefully Offensive and Bits and Pieces the same day. On the 19th of that month, it was posted to the pics subreddit, receiving 8,095 up votes and 6,964 down votes.
That same month, examples of inbred cat photos were posted onto Uproxx and a Facebook page was launched to compile in-bread cat images. On October 2nd, Tumblr blogger lightrup posted a photoset of her cat in bread, which accumulated over 11,000 notes in three months. Another photo was posted to the blog When Parents Text in December 2011.
On January 31st, 2012, Gawker published an article describing the practice of breading cats as a “hot new internet meme.” Throughout the day, two follow up articles were posted with relevant tweets and submitted photographs of cats with bread hats.
The same day as the Gawker posts, cat breading was featured on the International Business Times, Metro, the Tosh.0 blog, and humor site The FW. On February 1st, the photos hit Australia’s Herald Sun, Kansas City’s Fox 4 News, and fashion blog Refinery29.
South Park Appearance
On March 28th, 2012, South Park aired an episode titled “Faith Hilling” parodying photo fad memes. During the episode, a pair of men investigating the spread of photo fads find that cats shown partaking in cat breadiing are doing it themselves and thus creating their own feline photo fad. This leads the investigators to believe the cats are evolving and are a threat to humans.
iOS Game: Bread Kittens
On November 21st, 2012, mobile gaming startup Bake450 released a game titled Bread Kittens, in which the player battles stray cats that have been brainwashed due to tainted food. The player can also rescue cats by placing different types of bread around the opponent’s head, similar to Pokemon’s method of capturing new monsters with Pokeballs. The game was featured on VentureBeat and Pocket Gamer UK following its release. Within 5 days, the game received the highest rating of 5 stars out of 326 reviews. Bake450 also maintains a Facebook fan page for the game, providing players with tips on how to capture new cats.
Search for the phrase “inbread cats” began picking up in August 2011 when the first cat photo began circulating, peaking the next month.
International Business Times – ‘Breading Cats’ Meme Wins Internet, Fluffington Post Fails To Report