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“Kitler” is a nickname used to describe white cats with black markings under their noses that resemble German dictator Adolf Hitler’s toothbrush mustache. Cats with these coats were popularized in June 2006 by the single topic site Cats that Look Like Hitler.
In May 2006, Dutch journalist Koos Plegt set up a blog to showcase photos of cats with black fur under their noses, resembling Adolf Hitler’s famous moustache after seeing a cat with this coat pattern in his hometown of Zwolle, Holland. A month after the site’s inception, Plegt was contacted by British web developer Paul Neve about turning the blog into a collaborative website. Cats That Look Like Hitler was launched on June 26th, 2006. Users can rate and comment on the cat photos as well as submit their own.
Plegt’s original blog was linked on the Geek Culture Forums, MetaFilter, I Am Bored and Fresh Pics as well as personal blogs like Dvorak and Kitten Fluff. After the domain had been set up, the new link was shared on art blog Meathaus, StumbleUpon and web culture blog The Churning. In January 2007, PopMatters linked to the blog as well. “Kitler” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on July 20th, 2006.
In 2009, Cats That Look Like Hitler was featured on the BBC talk show The Graham Norton Show, during which Norton browsed through the site with his guests and showcased some of his favorite cats. The site hit American television in July 2010 with a mention on The Colbert Report followed by a CNN segment broadcasted the next day.
Kitler in England
On July 29th, 2011, British newspaper the Telegraph reported that an animal shelter in Godmanchester was having trouble finding a home for an abandoned kitten due to its black nose markings. Luminus, who was six weeks old at the time, was given the nickname Kitler by staff at the shelter. Within hours, news of the kitten’s predicament spread across the Huffington Post, Uproxx, Buzzfeed and Best Week Ever. Later that day, the shelter announced that Luminus had found a home thanks to all the attention from the web, which was covered by the Metro UK and the Daily What.
Search for the phrase “cats that look like Hitler” started picking up in June 2006, peaking in July 2006. Searches for Kitler tend to follow similar patterns.
The Telegraph – Hitler cat ‘overlooked for adoption because of markings’
The Huffington Post – Kitler, Cat Who Looks Like Hitler, Has Trouble Getting Adopted
Best Week Ever – Meet “Kitler,” The Adorable Cat That Looks Like Hitler