El Gato or El Cato refers to a misheard sound on TikTok from a clip in season three of the anime Demon Slayer where the character Sumo thanks Tengen Uzui and says "arigato" (thank you), leading people to think it said "el gato." As the sound spread in March 2022 on TikTok, it became associated with a trend featuring a paper cutout of a cat known as "munchkin cat papercraft," as well as other videos showing people's cats.
On March 1st, 2022, TikToker kirigiritereamo posted a clip from Demon Slayer of the character Suma thanking Tengen Uzui, saying through her cries, "arigato," or Japanese for "thank you" (shown below, left). In the video, they caption the cry of "arigato" as "el gato," which is Spanish for "the cat." On April 4th, 2022, TikToker spacecadetval posted a video using the sound showing the construction of a paper cutout of a cat, gaining over 1.4 million likes in one week (shown below, right).
Over the following weeks in March and April 2022, the paper cutout of the cat, identified as the "Munchkin Kitty Papercraft," became the subject of several more viral videos using the sound. On April 5th, TikToker r1ejan posted a similar video to spacecadetval's post, gaining over 643,000 likes in one week (shown below, left). On April 7th, user kanikore then posted a video showing the cat hanging from the ceiling, gaining over 700,000 likes in five days (shown below, right).
Others used the sound to post videos of their cats being cute. For example, user bubba.thecat posted a video showing a real cat next to the cutout, gaining over 21,000 likes in two days (shown below, left). User karasoi posted a video showing a cat being snuggled, gaining over 1.1 million likes in two days (shown below, right).
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