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15 Famous Cats From Today & Yesterday

There’s a lot of cat content online. An extraordinary number of so-called internet cats fill up our newsfeeds and delight people every day. But cats have been making waves for hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of years. If the only famous cat you can name is Grumpy Cat, you are in for a real treat. There are famous cats from almost every era. Ancient cats, movie star cats, sailing cats. Cats have been making themselves famous since people started domesticating them.

Here are 15 famous cats from today and yesterday. Let’s get started!

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1. Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Type of Cat Mixed
Known For Grumpy face
Era Internet

Tardar Sauce, more commonly known as Grumpy Cat, was one of the first true feline celebrities of the internet age. Grumpy Cat’s iconic face graced thousands of memes and photoshop jobs for ten years now. Grumpy Cat amassed a following that totaled in the millions with everyone obsessing over its adorable features. Grumpy Cat’s famous visage was the result of feline dwarfism. Tardar Sauce sadly passed away in 2019, but her contribution to internet lore and meme culture will live on for many years to come.

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2. Bob The Street Cat

James and Bob
Jamesandbobltd, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Type of Cat Ginger
Known For Saving a man’s life
Era Modern

Bob The Street Cat or just Bob is a famous cat from England who helped save a man’s life. Author James Bowen has written extensively about how his life was in shambles before he met the stray cat he came to call Bob. Bowen was a drug addict and experiencing homelessness. He decided to turn his life around for Bob The Street Cat. Now Bob has been featured in a plethora of books, heartwarming internet stories, and even a feature film. Bob was friendly and in need of help and that was enough to change James Bowen’s life significantly.

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3. Orangey

Type of Cat Tabby
Known For Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Era Modern

Orangey was a cat actor made famous by his big role in the film Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Orangey is remarkable because there are not that many cat animal actors. That is because cats are notoriously difficult to train, they move a lot and make editing scenes with them difficult. Orangey stood out for being an amazing actor and he went on to star in ten Hollywood films from 1950 until 1965. You might not know Orangey’s name, but if you have watched any classic films from the 1950s, there is a good chance you have seen him and would recognize him. Millions of people adored him in Audrey Hepburn’s potentially most famous film.

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4. Mr. Bigglesworth

Type of Cat Hairless
Known For Austin Powers
Era Modern

Mr. Bigglesworth is another film-famous feline. This hairless cat made a name for itself for being the iconic pet of Dr. Evil in the hilarious Austin Powers films. Mr. Bigglesworth helped cement the stereotype that you cannot properly disclose the intimate details of your evil plot unless you are fiendishly stroking a cat. Mr. Bigglesworth also became synonymous with Mike Myers’ famous evil laugh that he does as Dr. Evil. Mr. Bigglesworth had a good run across three international comedy hits.

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5. Creme Puff

Type of Cat Domestic
Known For Being the oldest cat on record
Era Modern

Creme Puff was a standard house cat owned by Jake Perry. Creme Puff was not all that remarkable other than the fact that she lived for a very, very long time. Creme Puff holds the record for the oldest cat ever recorded. Creme Puff died in 2005 at the age of 38. That is double the average lifespan of a typical cat!

Creme Puff was born in 1967. Her owner said that diet was a key factor in keeping her alive for so long. In addition to typical cat food, Perry fed her an odd assortment of things including broccoli, coffee, turkey bacon, and red wine.

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6. Unsinkable Sam

Type of Cat Tuxedo
Known For Surviving three shipwrecks
Era World War II

Unsinkable Sam was a tuxedo cat that served on three military ships in two navies during World War II. The story goes that a cat was fished out of the sea after the sinking of the German battleship Bismark and was taken aboard a British ship in the area. Unsinkable Sam would serve on that ship until it too was sunk in battle.

Again, Sam survived the shipwreck and was then stationed on the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. The aircraft carrier was torpedoed. But that didn’t stop Sam. He allegedly made it back to England where he lived out his days on dry land. One can’t help but wonder if Sam was bad luck.

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7. Snowball

Type of Cat Polydactyl
Known For Cat of Ernest Hemingway
Era The 1930s

Snowball was a cat that inspired Ernest Hemingway. Snowball was a polydactyl cat meaning he had six toes. Snowball made a big impression on the famous author. After obtaining Snowball, Hemingway held a deep love for cats and even collected other polydactyl cats when he could find them.

Snowball also helped to inspire Hemingway when he was writing some of his most famous works of literature. Snowball lived in Key West, Florida where descendants of Hemingways’ polydactyl cats still roam.

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8. Félicette

Type of Cat Tuxedo
Known For Going to space
Era Modern

Unlike dogs, cats do not have a rich history of space flight. In fact, Félicette was the only cat to be successfully launched into space. There were many attempts to put a cat into orbit but only Félicette managed to survive the ordeal. Félicette was the first cat put into space and one of only a handful of cats that even made an attempt.

Félicette was launched by the French Space Agency in 1963. She is still commemorated in France for her contributions to science and the creation of safe space flight technology.

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9. Tabbie and Dixie

Type of Cat Unknown
Known For Abraham Lincoln
Era Victorian

Tabbie and Dixie were Abraham Lincoln’s two cats and they feature heavily at the Presidential Pet Museum. (Yes, there is a museum dedicated solely to the pets of US presidents.) Lincoln loved them so much that he allowed them to accompany him to formal dinners, despite the protestations of his wife who said having cats at a dignitary’s dinner was uncouth. Lincoln also reportedly said that his cats were “smarter than his whole cabinet”.

Unsurprisingly, the affinity Lincoln had for these cats caused quite the stir and they have cemented themselves as legendary cats in history ever since.

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10. Ta-Miu

Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose's cat
Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose’s cat (Image Credit: Larazoni via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)
Type of Cat Sphynx
Known For Cat to the Pharaoh
Era Ancient

Ta-Miu is famous for having its very own sarcophagus. In fact, the sarcophagus of this ancient Egyptian cat is far grander than anything an average person will be buried in. That is because Ta-Miu was the cat of Prince Thutmose. He adored his cat and had him mummified and defied in its death.

Cats were already a big deal and Thutmose’s attention for Ta-Miu only added to the obsession. Archeologists have discovered thousands of mummified cats in Egypt and Ta-Miu is one of them.

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11. Lil Bub

Lil Bub
Lil Bub (Image Credit: Joyful Noise Recordings via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Type of Cat Domestic
Known For Odd appearance
Era Internet

Lil Bub was a cat known for its odd appearance similar to that of Grumpy Cat. Lil Bub was less grumpy but still suffered from the same mutations, feline dwarfism, which caused an appearance that the internet fell in love with. Lil Bub had super large eyes and a pronounced lower jaw which caused his tongue to hang out more often than not.

Lil Bub was the subject of a feature-length documentary, Lil Bub & Friendz, which premiered in 2013. Lil Bub’s official Facebook page has over 3 million total likes.

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12. Colonel Meow

Type of Cat Himalayan-Persian
Known For Long hair
Era Internet

Colonel Meow held the record for the cat with the longest hair in the world. The cat’s hair measured over nine inches long giving it a super fuzzy and disheveled look. Colonel Meow was named because his angry face looked like that of a dictator. In addition to his world record, the Colonel amassed a good-sized internet following.

Unfortunately, Colonel Meow died in 2014 after suffering heart problems and the cat did not get to cash in on the coming internet wave. Still, Colonel Meow’s iconic face and world record will ensure he is remembered for a long time to come.

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13. Keyboard Cat

Type of Cat Domestic
Known For Playing the keyboard
Era Internet

Keyboard Cat, also known as Fatso, starred in a home video in 1984 that was put onto VHS that showed her wearing a shirt and seemingly playing an electric keyboard. Fast forward to 2007 and Fatso’s video is posted to YouTube where it immediately becomes famous. Keyboard Cat was one of the first YouTube videos to truly go viral and it is still a strong part of internet lore today.

Sadly, Fatso died way back in 1987 but her legacy lives on. Keyboard Cat has been viewed nearly 65 million times. Not bad for a cat who made its debut in 1984.

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14. Nyan Cat

Type of Cat Animated
Known For Catchy song
Era Internet

Nyan Cat inexplicably took the world by storm by appearing on YouTube in 2011. The video features a mashup of a cat and a pop tart flying through space with a glowing rainbow appearing behind it. Besides the quirky artwork, the real draw of Nyan Cat is the extremely catchy techno-pop song that plays alongside the video.

As of 2022, the Nyan Cat video has been viewed over 195 million times and has over 600,000 comments. Nyan Cat is one of the most famous YouTube videos of all time and is one of the most viewed cats in history.

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15. Nala Cat

Type of Cat Domestic
Known For Instagram
Era Internet

Nala cat has a largely ordinary story. She was found at a home with too many cats and was removed as part of an animal welfare operation. Nala ended up in the shelter where she was adopted by another seemingly average person. The two were a match made in heaven and went on to create an Instagram empire that now boasts over 4.3 million followers and over 6,600 posts. Today, Nala is one of the most successful cats ever to appear on Instagram.

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How To Make Your Cat Famous

Anyone can make an Instagram or Facebook page for their pet. The trick is finding a niche or a unique look that your pet has that will appeal to a wide audience. Any pet has the potential to get famous. The trick is to consistently post quality content featuring your cat. Building an audience and then building a brand takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and time.

Or you can just become the president and bring your cat along with you. Or you could get in touch with Elon Musk to see if you can get your cat put on the first manned mission to Mars. Or you can hope that your cat lives to be 39 years old. Until then,

Instagram is probably your best bet.

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Conclusion

Cats have been catching people’s attention for thousands of years. Time and time again, cats seem to show up in the most interesting places and by the side of some of humanity’s most powerful and interesting people. The internet might have captured the world’s love of cats but it certainly did not create it. People have loved cats since the beginning of time.

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Featured Image Credit: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay

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