What do deer-chasing labradors and cardboard loving cats have in common? They are memes that have taken the world by storm. We describe our favourites
6. Keyboard cat
Keyboard Cat originated as a recording by US performance artist Charlie Schmidt of his cat, Fatso, apparently playing a keyboard. It has since become part of a wider online mashup meme to ‘play someone off’, after something foolish has happened (such as this chap falling down an escalator).
Aftermath: While Fatso died in 1987, his memory lives on in an ‘official’ Keyboard Cat website.
Rarely has one dog been in so much trouble as Fenton, the black Labrador who defied his desperate owner to chase deer in Richmond Park. Uploaded to Youtube by teenage bystander Jake Goodyear, the footage attracted a couple of thousand views last November until hitting the front page of sharing site Reddit, after which it became an overnight sensation.
Aftermath: The original video has been viewed more than five million times, and its unwitting stars identified as a former guide dog and his owner Max Findlay. It’s inspired several tributes, of which Jurassic Park Fenton is our favourite.
8. Dramatic Chipmunk
Few jokes deliver as much humour in five seconds as Dramatic Chipmunk, a clip of a prairie dog taken from a Japanese TV programme and paired with incidental music from a horror film.
Aftermath: Hilarious in itself, the dramatic look has gone on to be much parodied, while the prairie dog’s image has been widely used on internet forums to illustrate comically extreme reactions.
The internet can be unkind but Maru is one of its nicest personalities. A Scottish Fold cat living with a female owner in Japan, Maru’s behaviour makes oddly compelling viewing, particularly given his uncommon enthusiasm for jumping into cardboard boxes.
Aftermath: Maru has a blog, a Youtube channel, and is the subject of a DVD and three books. Concern was such for Maru after the March 2011 Japanese earthquake disaster that his owner had to post a message stating that he was safe.
10. Nyan cat
In April 2011, illustrator Chris Torres published a simple animation of a happy cartoon cat with a Pop Tart for a body, scampering across space leaving a rainbow trail. Within days this had been combined with a high-energy Japanese pop soundtrack, and the silly result uploaded to Youtube, where it went viral.
Aftermath: The original Nyan Cat video has been viewed almost 60 million times, inspiring others to create tributes, remixes and Nyan-based games.
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