While it might be hard to imagine a time before the internet was plastered with memes of Grumpy Cat, the famously miserable-looking feline has only just turned two.
Famous for her constant downward smile and enormous baby blue eyes, she has gathered a handul of endorsements and licensing deals in the short time she has been an online star, including her own line of “Grumppuccino” bottled coffee drinks.
She now has her own agent, millions of hits on YouTube, T-shirts, calendars and a best-selling book available in 14 languages. Rumours abound that she will soon star in her own film.
Grumpy found fame when Bryan Bundesen, who owns her with his sister Tabatha, uploaded photos of her unusual expression on Reddit in late 2012.
“People said her face was Photoshopped,” he said. To prove the critics wrong, the pair uploaded a video of the cat on YouTube, earning about 1.5 million views overnight.
Now her face adorns a myriad of memes online, famous for giving miserable responses to otherwise potentially positive situations.
Grumpy Cat turns 2
Grumpy Cat turns 2
1/5 Birthday Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat's reaction to her birthday, as sarcastic as is expected
2/5 The most miserable frriendship of all time?
Grumpy Cat meets fellow internet sensation Colonel Meow, who died earlier this year
3/5 When you're this grumpy, there's no room for love
Grumpy Cat on a Valentines day card posted on her official Facebook page
4/5 Christmas Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat's take on 'Jingle Bells'
5/5 NFL Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat's characteristically miserable reaction to the Super Bowl
Grumpy Cat has transformed her owners lives. Bryan used to be a cable company lineman in Ohio, while Tabatha served at a Red Lobster near her home in Morristown, Arizona.
“The business is doing very well. Grumpy doesn't like to discuss specifics.”
“We both were blue-collar people,” said Bryan, adding: “It has changed our lives. It's been a blessing. We're very thankful for it.”
The grump's real name is Tardar Sauce, so dubbed (and misspelled) by Tabatha's now 12-year-old daughter, Chyrstal, soon after their female pet Calico gave birth to her and three siblings.
The cat was tiny and is still petite, a victim of feline dwarfism, and wobbles a bit when she walks due to elongated rear legs that have only added to her popularity.
“She looks like a snowshoe Siamese is what we're told most,” Bryan offers. “We've had some nice comments from people about it being nice that the spotlight's on a cat that's unique and has feline dwarfism. A lot of people are happy that it kind of spreads the message that it's OK to be different. She's also such a happy cat.”
Despite her nickname, her owners insist Grumpy is happy, with a reputation for falling asleep during interviews and seeking out dark corners to hide in.
Grumpy Cat is part of a long line of cats which have cashed in on the internet's obsession with funny-looking felines. Cats to follow in her paw-steps include Lil Bub, and the late Colonel Meow.
"There are a lot of cats on the Internet but there's no competition," Bryan said.
“She has the grumpy market cornered. All the other cats can have the happy, funny stuff.”
Additional reporting APReuse content