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Revealed: The 'half-cat' not created by Google Street View

User on photo sharing site imgur claimed strange creature was result of time-lapse photos put together

At first it looks like something that may have been bred a little too close to a nuclear power plant, or perhaps even something from out of this world entirely.

But the user posting a picture of a 'half-cat' on photo sharing site imgur yesterday claimed that its origins were far more down to earth. The image, which showed an earless white  cat with just two legs and a tail, was purportedly the result of a glitch on Google's Street View service, which uses car-mounted cameras to take a series of photographs before putting them together on the application.

The picture of the creepy-looking kitty soon went viral, and has reached over 200,000 views on imgur since it was posted yesterday.

At first there was affection for the peculiar looking pussy.

On Twitter, Dave Atkinson wrote: "EVERY time i'm feeling a bit down I'm just going to look at this Google Streetview [sic] pic of half a cat"

But as always popularity was soon met with scepticism, with users on imgur's partner site Reddit quickly debunking the authenticity of the image.

One user claimed: “This picture is older than google streetview. I've seen it a long time ago.”

While another said: “I literally felt my corpus callosum stop functioning after looking at this picture.

"That's how old this picture is."

It later emerged that the picture was indeed far older than Google Street View and was actually the product of some photo editing trickery.

Another imgur user posted a picture claiming to be the original, undoctored image of 'Thumbelina' walking along a street in Ottawa, Canada, with all four functioning legs and two ears in full view (see second image in gallery).