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Loading Cat or Buffering Cat refers to an image macro of a calico cat expressing anger or confusion and a buffering icon superimposed over its forehead. In August 2017, the image gained popularity as a reaction meme among Russian users on VK and other online platforms and gained mainstream popularity on Reddit in December 2019.
The origin of the unedited image and the buffering edit are unknown. On September 9th, 2018, Yaplakal user gary56 posted the earliest available unedited version of the photograph (shown below, left). Before that, in July 2017, the first known meme based on the buffering edit was posted online (shown below, right), with the image being included in several meme dump posts starting on July 18th.
On August 8th, 2017, Twitter user @Hatredshout posted a viral meme based on the edited image, with the tweet gaining over 600 retweets and 1,800 likes in two years and being reposted by multiple Russian meme communities in the following days.
Following @Hatredshout's tweet, the edited image gained popularity as a reaction meme in Russian meme communities. For example, a meme posted by VK community Orlyonok (Орленок) on August 12th, 2017 received over 2,200 likes (shown below, left). An August 19th, 2019 post by Na Sluchai Vazhnyh Peregovorov (На Случай Важных Переговоров) VK group received over 7,800 likes (shown below, right). Additionally, the image has been used as a reaction on imageboards such as 2ch and 4chan.
On December 2nd, 2019, Redditor ____boromir____ posted a meme based on the image to /r/memes subreddit, where it gained over 33,800 upvotes in ten days (shown below, left). On the same day, Redditor Trampuz posted a meme to /r/dankmemes, receiving over 93,600 upvotes in the same period (shown below, right).
In the following days, the format gained a significant presence in meme communities on Reddit, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
 Yaplakal – gary56's Post
 Bugaga.ru- Прикольные картинки дня
 Korzo News – Прикольные картинки дня
 Twitter – @hatredshout's Tweet
 Twitter – @leprasorium's Tweet
 VK – Енот's Post
 VK – Орленок's Post
 VK – На Случай Важных Переговоров's
 Reddit – Wait a minute
 Reddit – It's not just me right?
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