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Longcat is one of the most recognized cats on the Internet. He is known for his epic length, spawning photoshops and even an entire mythology around his magnitude.
The original photo of Longcat, whose name is Shiroi (白い – “white” in Japanese), first appeared on Futaba channel (2chan) sometime between 2004 and 2005 by a man from Japan. On 2chan, she was referred to as “nobiiru”, which means “stretch.” Variations of this included “nobiiru-tan,” which was attributed to 2chan’s /27/ board as early as February 2nd, 2006.
Longcat was first added to Urban Dictionary on September 16th, 2006, attributing the name to 4chan’s random board, /b/. One of the earliest archived 4chan threads using several comments to emphasize the length of Longcat dates back to July 24th, 2007
Although never explicitly mentioned as “Long Cat” a photo of a cat in a similar stretched-out position was used in the creation of a Monty Python comedy sketch in 1971.
The image of a giant, stretched-out cat towering over a city is strikingly similar to the images of Longcat vs. Tacgnol. Although no clear evidence has surfaced to suggest that the Catnarok mythology was directly inspired by Monty Python, it stands to reason that Monty Python could have influenced the creation of the Catnarok image either directly or through the collective unconscious.
Longcat became a popular photoshop meme, not only putting the cat into places, but also by editing the cat’s surroundings to show her great length. Her popularity hit mainstream in May 2007 when Longcat made an appearance on the Tim and Eric show. Longc.at was created on June 29th, 2008, featuring an image of just how long Longcat is.
By 2009, Longcat had earned a pivotal role in 4chan’s Catnarok mythology, as it is believed that one day Longcat will engage in a mighty final battle with her anti-self, Tacgnol, a similarly long black cat. That year, a compilation of Longcat images was shared on Speak LOLSpeak and in March 2011, I Can Has Cheezburger posted another compilation profiling her online history.
Though “long cat” showed search interest beginning in November 2004, but this could also be due to the fact it is a common phrase. Seearch for “Longcat” began nearly a year later in September 2005 and rose steadily, peaking in May 2007 due to its appearance on the Tim and Eric show. In 2011, search for Longcat overall has been on the decline.