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Cat on a Keyboard in Space (also known as Space Cat or Astro Cat) is a photoshopped image of a cat posing on a musical keyboard on top of a photo of outer space. Due to the nonsensical yet amusing nature of the artwork, it became a template for image macros and video remixes, particularly on the image-sharing community YTMND.
The image was published on the synthesizer blog MatrixSynth in a post titled “Space ARP” on June 13th, 2006, which credited Andy Squirrel as the creator of the picture. The post also revealed that the keyboard used in the image was a 1972 ARP Odyssey analog synthesizer released.
On September 18th, YTMND user napalmnabuco created a page titled “catonakeyboardinspace” under the subdomain “whatyouseewhenyoudie.ytmnd.com”, which included the original Space ARP image accompanied by the song “Brazilian Flower” by the electronic musician Jean-Jacques Perrey. As of April 4th, 2012, the page has accumulated over 915,000 views.
On September 22nd, MatrixSynth posted a follow-up blog article linking to the original YTMND site and pointed out the odd subdomain. In February of 2007, the YTMND site was picked up by sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. On March 4th, a YouTube version of the YTMND page was uploaded by user BSDorn, which received over 100,000 views within five years.
Months later on September 23rd 2007, the first Urban Dictionary definition for “Cat on a Keyboard in Space” was submitted by user BDizzunn, which referenced the YTMND sub domain (shown above). On September 29th, 2008, the cat was featured in a xkcd comic titled “Height”, which compared the relative distance of various objects in the universe from Earth.
On May 22nd, 2009, a Facebook page was created for “Cat on a Keyboard in Space” in the “musician/band” category with the description “people say I look like Wilford Brimley.” On February 8th, 2010, an image macro featuring the space cat and the caption “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this!” was submitted as a t-shirt design on the online retailer SpreadShirt.
On May 19th, 2011, the image was posted to media sharing website Flvrd and received a comment from user PewPewPew saying “This picture has pretty much summed up the Internet.” The meme has spread on the microblogging site Tumblr under the tag “#cat on a keyboard in space.”
The influx of YTMND “Cat on a Keyboard in Space” sites continued with pop culture-related mash ups, such as the Harry Potter Sees The End of Book 7 site posted by user quacx. Eventually, it spawned more than 110 YTMND sites under the tag “catonakeyboardinspace” and an additional 20 sites under the initialized tag “coakis.” Other notable examples include:
- Attack of the Dean Fighters (more than 209,000 views / one of the highest rated sites with a 4.71 / 5)
- The New Ruler of Hell. (more than 98 000 views)
- Stephanie Is about to DIE ! (more than 46 000 views)
- Can You HeaR Me , Major Tom Arnold? (more than 32 000 views)
- A Close Encounter (more than 29 000 views)
- Death and the Cat (more than 27 000 views)
That space cat has appeared in a number of YouTube videos featuring different audio tracks and background images.