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Standing Cat is a tabby cat named Rocky who was filmed standing upright on his hind legs on a bed. Months after it was uploaded to YouTube, the clip went viral in April 2010 for its display of an animal in a human-like stance, garnering much attention on the French web.
On November 6th, 2009, French YouTuber DaisYannou uploaded a 37 second video of her cat, Rocky, standing on his hind legs in order to get a better look at something off camera. Although the viewer never sees what Rocky is looking at, he exhibits anthropomorphic behavior by standing like a biped and even raising his front right paw a couple of times almost as if he were gesturing. Paired with Yoko Kanno’s song “Cats on Mars” from the soundtrack of anime series Cowboy Bebop, this video has accrued more than 6.1 million views as of November 2012.
Precursor: Bipedal Cats
Despite Rocky being deemed “standing cat,” there are dozens of videos featuring bipedal cats on YouTube, with some of the earliest instances being segments from Japanese TV shows uploaded as early as 2006. In April 2010, Urlesque compiled a series of 10 other videos of cats standing in this manner.
The video initially was limited to being shared among French internet users on Facebook, gaining over half a million views in the first four months. Standing Cat was first exposed to a larger global audience months later on April 4th, 2010 when the video was re-posted to BuzzFeed. From there, the YouTube clip was retweeted and shared via Facebook, eventually receiving coverage from a number of other internet culture blogs including The Daily What, Huffington Post, Geekologie and Boing Boing, among others. On April 8th, a Facebook fan page for Rocky was created, gaining 1500 likes by November 2012.
The same month, Standing Cat attracted some mainstream attention from the French news site Le Post, where the uploader, Daisy, was interviewed about the video. She stated that Rocky, who was 2 years old at the time, was attempting to look at the birds perched just outside the window, and that she and the cat’s co-owner Yann did not teach the cat how to stand.
Interview with Daisy
In 2010, Know Your Meme’s database moderator Tomberry interviewed Daisy, who explained the creation of the video as well as her response to it going viral.
Q: Let’s go back in time to November 2009, if you will. You have already given a lot of information in the “Le Post” article but would you please put it back into context? What motivated your desire to film your cat, Rocky, in such an awkward pose and, especially, to post it to YouTube afterward? The same way, what were your spectators’ reactions at that time?
A: I filmed my cat simply because I found his pose amusing. I had done hundreds of photos of him, and lots of videos as well, so actually it wasn’t something out of the ordinary for me to film him, even at that moment. But when he began to stand on his back legs, I wanted to have it on camera at any cost, because I thought it was very unusual. I then showed the video to my friends and family and they adored it, as well as they were amazed by it.
Q: Last April, your video got a great flux of visitors and viewers, following its repost on Buzzfeed, entitled Standing Cat is Watching You. What was your reaction as a result of this sudden fame and web interest in your video?
A: It was sorta unbelievable. The video has already been posted for a somewhat short period of time on Youtube, but I didn’t really reference it as rightly as I wanted to, so there were very few visits, and not as often. And suddenly, a big buzz! It was kind of cool. I especially enjoyed people’s comments on it, mainly those regarding their “concern” about a cat species’ evolution and so forth! Then, quickly, French and foreign TVs started broadcasting my video, which was as much unbelievable!
Q: Do you know about LOLcats? Do you think it can have been of any influence, either to you and the filming process with your cat, especially concerning the music track (Cats on Mars – CowBoy BeBop OST) you added which kind of embodies the weird situation and cats, or to the people interest in it?
A: Yes, I do know about that website, and I really like the pictures, being myself a cat lover. But I don’t think it would have influenced me because my main hobby is to have my cat doing strange things on camera! Cats have that special gift to do funny things without them knowing it! If I added a music track, it’s because, without sound, a video is less funny. So I searched for a track that would give a more offbeat side to the video, and my brother gave me a hand by saying “Hey, do you remember about that CowBoy BeBop track?”. I found it to be a perfect fit for the video, and I quickly realized that, reading the Youtube’s comments, it was indeed a good choice!
Q: You must have noticed. Your video gave birth to a great amount of parodies, picturing your cat as “Super Kitty”, making him explode or having him as a Musketeer and many other things. What do you think about those parodies? Do you see them as a tribute to your video?
The same way, You asked Youtube to take down at least 3 of these parodies, for the time being, due to copyright claims coming from you. Can you add some more detail concerning it?
A: I do not like seeing people copy my video as it is and reupload it on another Youtube account. Following the buzz, dozens of people stole my video and reposted it, some even claiming to own the original one! I don’t know what motivates people to do this, and it deeply unnerves me. So I forced the one I consider as being simply plagiarism to be taken down. Among those videos, there may have been some that pretended they were parodies, but I didn’t see it that way.
Concerning the ones that have made a great work, like the musketeer one, here I’m gladly leaving it, because the creator is respecting the initial video. I don’t know if we can really talk about a “tribute” per se, but they are great videos anyway, which make many people laugh, so I don’t see why I would ask for deleting them.
Q: In the “Le Post” article, you were talking about another video you were going to post, in which your cat is sitted in a weird way. Can you tell us more about when that video is going to be posted? Do you think it will attract as much attention as your previous video?
A: Actually I almost forgot about it! It’s a video filmed at the same moment, unless in that case he is sitted, and once again it’s hilarious. If I forgot, it’s mainly because, following the initial video’s fame, I have received and am still receiving solicitations everyday for interviews, or to reuse my video for TV shows and so on… And it’s a great painstacking process to be my cat’s impresario!! On the other hand, I’m sure it won’t get the same interest. I mean, yeah that video is funny as well. But, in the first one, what my cat was doing was more amazing, challenging the laws of physics as some comments pointed it out! But why not, I have to work on it.
Q: Last but not least, a question that many people are asking themselves. What the hell is Rocky looking at throughout the window?
A: Ahah! Do I have to uncover that mystery?! In earnest, I don’t know myself! In my humble opinion, birds! Actually, Rocky is staring at a small window, too high on the wall for him to watch through it without doing some acrobatic maneuvers. And, because this window leads to a rooftop view, we can see birds passing by, flying, which of course, captivates him so much!
Q: Thank you very much for your time and for answering these questions.
It was my pleasure ^^
A handful of remixes of the original Standing Cat video can be found on YouTube, many of which photoshop clothes and other accessories on to the cat to make him appear as if he is in the costume of a popular character or portraying a stereotypical fashion trend.
Puss In Boots
Among the most popular remixes of Standing Cat was uploaded by YouTuber Freddie Wong, who revamped Rock into the Shrek character Puss in Boots in CGI. The video has gained nearly 5 million views as of November 2012. Following the success of Wong’s Puss in Boots video, Know Your Meme also conducted an interview with the YouTuber about its creation.
Q: How did you find out about Standing Cat? Where & when did you first see it online?
A: I was linked to the video from the Somethingawful Forums about a week back – more specifically this version of it. I like this version for the cut to the brighter closeup to punctuate the music. It sent chills down my spine.
Q: You give props to Adobe After Effects as choice of weapon; how long did it take you to edit & publish this video? And how long have you been editing videos in general?
A: Originally, we were just going to put the boots on the cat, which only took twenty minutes. Then Brandon, the other guy behind my channel, suggested we add a hat. Then a belt. Then a sword. Then to make the sword swing around. And then to replace the GTA poster with a cat meme. And then to add ceiling cat. And then to go downstairs and grab my roommates cat to add him. And then to go to Olvera St. in LA to buy a small cat guitar and small cat hat (if you need cat sized, Mexican themed props, this is the place to go). We basically pulled an all nighter for a cat video, which we’re more proud of than any last minute essay we made for college.
Q: And your friend’s cat, Plato (the mariachi cat). How did you work that into the video? …Is Plato capable of standing on two feet as well?
A: We felt the video needed music, but at approximately 2 in the morning, we decided another cat should play that music. Plato is in fact capable of standing on his two feet like a lemur, but has never done it for as long as Standing Cat has, who probably holds some kind of Cat World Record.
Q: Like you’ve mentioned in video description, those boots and mariachi aesthetics look really appropriate with the standing cat. If you remember, how did this idea come about? What were you thinking?
A: Someone commented on another Standing Cat video asking the uploader to “add boots” to the cat, and a lot of people liked this comment. We looked around the internet and felt that the men for the job were the ones in the mirror. You gotta give the people what they want, like that quote from Lawrence of Arabia: “The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor! Because I am a river to my people!” …So that was pretty much the thinking.
Q: Noticed there’s a couple of other internet-famous cats making guest appearance in the video. If you had to pick your “favorite LOLcat”, which one would it be?
A: My favorite LOLcat isn’t really a cat, but the Bucket Walrus (*) is my favorite thing of all time. Brandon is partial to the original “God kills a kitten” (*) cat.
Q: In all serious seriousness, we’re talking about cats that can stand (and even walk) on their own, like people do. Is this something we should be wary of? What are your thoughts on bipedal cats?
A: Nuke from orbit. (*)