LOLCATS picture of a cute kitten.

LOLcats

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Updated Aug 02, 2022 at 10:34AM EDT by Zach.

Added Dec 12, 2008 at 03:11PM EST by Jamie Dubs.

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About

LOLcats are image macros consisting of humorous photos of cats with superimposed text written in a form of broken English known as lolspeak. The LOLcat meme gained much of its traction through the weekly ritual of Caturday on 4chan and I Can Has Cheezburger.

Origin

According to an article in The Star,[5] LOLcats originated on the imageboard 4chan sometime in 2005, when an anonymous user submitted a picture of a relaxed cat waiting for "Caturday." In a blog post on Time Magazine's TechLand,[7] writer Lev Grossman published an email claiming that Caturday was created in 2005 as a protest to "Furry Friday" threads.

"There is more than enough EXIF data scattered around the internet to prove that cat macros are ancient, by internet standards. Caturday, for example, was a meme on a 4chan.org imageboard which originated around the beginning of 2005 as a protest against \”Furry Friday\” threads (In which basement-dwelling creeps would post anthropomorphic disney characters giving [sorry, gotta go family values at this point."

Precursors

In the 1870s, photographer Harry Pointer[3] took black-and-white photographs of cats posed in a variety of different situations, adding humorous text referencing the context of the photo (shown below, left). In the early 20th century Harry Whittier Frees,[4] an American photographer, produced similar-looking photographs with overlaid text (shown below, right)


black and white photograph of a cat posed next to a camera as if it's working as a photographer black and white photograph of a cat in a dress sitting in a baby highchair asking what's delaying its dinner

In the 1970s, a motivational poster of a cat hanging from a tree branch with the caption "Hang in there, baby" was released (shown below, left), which spawned a series of imitations (shown below, right).


HANG IN THERE, BABY! lang in There nifer M Tront:

Spread

On June 14th, 2006, the website LOLcats.com was registered.[13] Later that year, on September 12th, 2006, Urban Dictionary [6] user bridgepiercingbex defined "lolcat" as "laugh out loud, with cat on the end of it." The post received more than 60 upvotes in 12 years (shown below).


TOP DEFINITION lolcat laugh out loud, with cat on the end of it toms face....LOLCAT!! #lolcat #lol #cat #10101 #tom by bridgepiercingbex September 12,2006

On June 12th, 2007, Time Magazine[8] published an article about the LOLcat phenomenon, reporting that a Google search for "lolcat" already yielded over 3.3 million results and that the website I Can Has Cheezburger was receiving 200-500 submissions per day.

That following year, on January 5th, 2008, the /r/lolcats subreddit was created, garnering more than 67,000 subscribers over the next five years. On December 4th, 2009, Entertainment Weekly[9] ranked LOLcats as #99 in a list of the "100 Greatest Movies, TV Shows and More." On December 22nd, 2010, the cat enthusiast blog Catster[12] published a list of the "top 10 most famous LOLcats," including Happy Cat, Monorail Cat, Limecat, Ceiling Cat and Basement Cat. On May 8th, 2012, The Atlantic[10] published an article about the academic study of lolcats, reporting on researcher Kate Miltner's dissertation[11] on the appeal of LOLcats.

Exhibitions

On November 10th, 2012, The Huffington Post[2] published an article about an exhibition at the Framer's Gallery in London titled "LOLCAT – TEH EXHIBISHUN," featuring 49 original LOLCat inspired artworks. On January 24th, 2013, The Huffington Post[1] reported that a new version of the exhibition had opened at The Framer's Gallery.


OV BIRF: 20.08.97 FINDZ GUILTY OV LEADINP James McKenzie LOLCATRAZ CORRECSHUNAL FACILITEE FURSDAY 25TH JULEYE 2012 NAYM: NINJA WATE: 1.9 LBS oV BIRF: 15.04.12 SEKZ: BOI HIYT: 0.8 FT OLDZ: 2 MUNF FINDZ GUILTY OV STEELIN AN POSESSHUN AN EXCESIV KAPNIP TAKIN NAYM: FUDGE WATE:3.7 LBS OV BIRF: 13.09.08 2011 SEKZ: GURL HIYT: 1.1 F OLDZ: 28 FINDZ GUILTY OV POSESSHUN OV KATNIP AN KATNIP DEALIN

Various Examples


ur passwerd is FAIL entry are denied BE NOT AFREYD ARE JEEZUSCAT FIND UR LACK OF TUNA DISTURBING
Jzall wrapped up for ERMAHGERD Jzall wrapped up for

Search Interest

External References

[1] The Huffington Post – LOLCat Art

[2] The Huffington Post – New Exhibition of Original LOLCats raises money for charity

[3] Photo History Sussex – Harry Pointers Brighton Cats

[4] Wikipedia – Harry Whittier Frees

[5] The Star – Funny how stupid site is addictive

[6] Urban Dictionary – lolcat

[7] Time – Lolcats Addendum – where I got the story wrong

[8] Time – Creating a Cute Cat Frenzy

[9] Entertainment Weekly – 100 Greatest Movies, TV Shows and More

[10] The Atlantic – Are LOLCats Making Us Smart

[11] Dropbox (via Wayback Machine) – Miltner Dissertation

[12] Catster – 10 most famous lol cats

[13] Who.is – lolcats.com

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