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Shironeko (かご猫, literally “White Cat”) is a Turkish van cat best known for his extremely relaxed demeanor and ability to balance things on his head, similar to Oolong the Pancake Bunny. The cat has been given several nicknames by its fans, most notably “Basket Cat” and “Zen Cat.”
Shiro was born on March 8th, 2002, according to the blog’s profile page. A single topic photo blog dedicated to the cat was launched on February 17th, 2006 by an anonymous blogger and Shiro’s anonymous owner.
Shiro’s photo blog first came under the spotlight in the Japanese animal blog circles for his distinctly zen facial expressions circa April 2006 and continued to gain daily audiences throughout the following year. More photos of Shironeko emerged on the image-hosting service Photozou in July 2008.
Shironeko’s smiling face showed up on Icanhascheezburger on April 13, 2007. Shironeko debuted as “Basket Cat” with the caption “Basket Cat is Pleased.”
Shironeko fans were reassured about his safety after the earthquake hit Japan in June 2008 with a post on his blog from his family. Love Meow followed the status of Shironeko on their site: “Shironeko Status After Japan was Hit by 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake”
On 2channel, the cat became known as the “Basket Cat” and “Round-faced Cat” with the earliest notable thread posted on June 20th, 2009. The thread went onto spawn over 940 reply posts, in which some curious users speculated that the cat may be living in the historic city of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.
Following its rise to fame on 2channel in June of 2009, pictures of Shironeko spread over to the video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga, where slideshow videos of Shironeko’s photos were uploaded in the following months of August and September 2009.
In January of 2010, the animal photo blog Cute Overload posted an article about Shironeko titled “Know Your Obscure Folklore,” which generated over 80 comments pointing out his cuteness. The cat’s fame also crossed over to the neighboring countries in China and South Korea, as evidently shown through Shiro-related discussion threads on portal sites like Baidu and Naver.
Shironeko has shown up on Catsparella’s site numerous times. Among the post about Shironeko are “Basket Cat Goes Glam” – November 15, 2010: “Basket Cats Greatest Hits” – December 20, 2010; Shironeko Update- March 28, 2011; and “Shironeko’s Spring Floral Moment” – June 17, 2011.
Shironeko had been on Cybergata’s “Essential Internet Cat” list for both 2010 and 2011. Shironeko’s achieved further Internet Fame by being named the #1 Cat on BuzzFeed’s The 30 Most Important Cats of 2011. Jack Shephard of BuzzFeed called Shironeko “The Most Relaxed Cat In The World.” 
In June 2007, Shiro was introduced to the broader English-speaking web with the launch of his official YouTube channel. As of March 2012, the channel has gained over 24 million upload views and 29,386 subscribers.
In January 2009, Shiro’s first photo book was published under the pen name Shironeko, which is available for purchase on Amazon.