Since the beginning of 2012, the image of cats has become eternally doomed. Most of us will admit that weâ€™ve spent copious amounts of time Google searching things like â€œcat memes,â€ â€œfat cats,â€ or the latest cat hysteria, Grumpy Cat, for the sole purpose of a good, hearty laugh. Itâ€™s undeniable that funny cat photos are hysterical and always have been, but the cat craze has never been more fanatical than during this era alone.
Face it: from cat photo apps to embarrassing â€œcat failâ€ videos, itâ€™s safe to say there is no other animal we rather mock or idolize than cats. Cats are even stepping their paws into the fashion world, for Iâ€™ve seen far too many cat sweaters and hipster-inspired cat tees, which Iâ€™m partially inclined to purchase myself. Thanks consumerism!
My question is simple, why cats and why now? What is it about these fuzzy or hairless (letâ€™s not discriminate against the sphinx) creatures that are all the rage in nearly every aspect of social and media entertainment?
Iâ€™ll be honest, growing up, I was utterly impartial to cats. If a friend or family member lived with a cat, Iâ€™d either ignore the fact there was a slinking cat amidst or just give it a nice little pat on the head and move on. Now, if Iâ€™m in the presence of any feline figure, young, old, fat, slender, mean or playful, I become completely immersed and admired. I usually squeal uncontrollably as if all the members of One Direction suddenly apparated before my eyes and I have the strongest urge to pet them.
Give this some good thought, the late 80â€™s and 90â€™s generation grew up watching TV shows and movies, which represented most cats as villains. Take Lucifer from the Disney classic, â€œCinderellaâ€ for example. All the name implications aside, this guy was the worst. Every time he would humiliate himself, there was an instant audience satisfaction, which is the typical reaction toward any villain.
The same concept applied for Si and Am from â€œLady and the Tramp,â€ Alice and Wonderlandâ€™s, Cheshire cat and Shere Khan from â€œThe Jungle Book.â€
Non-Disney cat villains such as Mr. Bigglesworth from â€œAustin Powersâ€ and Sassy from â€œHomeward Boundâ€ (ok, she wasnâ€™t a villain, but no one liked her) were also depicted pretty negatively.
My point being, the typical cat stereotype that â€œall cats are evilâ€ is now null and void. The world has adopted a new appreciation for cats and I wonder if itâ€™s to sustain us from watching poor, reality TV shows and predictable movie plots because letâ€™s face it, we need to find amusement somewhere. Cats FTW!
Photographed by Sam Florio