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How a cat named Smudge's distaste for salad created one of 2019's most popular memes

How a cat named Smudge's distaste for salad created one of 2019's most popular memes
    2019 produced several popular internet trends and viral memes, including "woman yelling at a cat," which uses side-by-side photos of a woman yelling and an angry white cat sitting at a table..

    The cat in the picture is named Smudge, and he's used to getting his own seat at the dinner table, his owner, Miranda Stillabower, told Business Insider. He first appeared on Tumblr in 2018.



     The woman in the photo — Taylor Armstrong, a former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star — told Business Insider that the screenshot of her was from a particularly emotional and stressful time but that she could now look back and "laugh at things and be lighthearted about it."
    Even though neither image was posted online this year, the composite of the two photos blew up this year after someone posted them together on Twitter in May.


    There's no reason for you to know about a white cat named Smudge who lives in Canada, except that he's the face of one of the most popular memes of 2019.
    The "women yelling at a cat" meme is as versatile as it is iconic — it has been used for everything from arguing about pronunciations and interpretations to describing ultra-emotional drunken moments to referencing headlines and combining with other memes. The simple composite of a screengrab from a reality-TV show and a photo of an angry white cat has become so popular that it's generated epic Halloween costumesEtsy-like home goods, and a protest sign in Guatemala.
    However, the meme's story doesn't start on May 1, when a Twitter user with the handle @missingegirl shared the first known tweet with these pictures side by side.
    The massively viral tweet — which has over 350,000 likes and comments — not only launched the composite image into 2019's mainstream memeosphere, but demonstrated the internet's ability to bring a second life to outdated content that didn't take off the first time around.

    The origin story of 'woman yelling at a cat'

    It didn't take long for Miranda Stillabower, an Ontario resident, to realize in 2015 that her new cat was an especially anxious guy. He was, like a lot of cats, antisocial when strangers came into their home. But when others weren't around, he would cuddle and beg for pets — as well as demand his own seat at the dinner table.

    "He gets upset if he doesn't have his own seat," Stillabower told Business Insider in an email. "Sometimes we have people over and don't have room to fit his chair. As soon as someone gets up from the table, he jumps on the nearest chair."
    That's how Smudge found himself — and how the rest of the world would soon see him — in front of a plate of salad. Stillabower says Smudge has a "very expressive" face, and he visibly and vehemently showed his distaste for the vegetables in front of him.
    Stillabower posted Smudge's face on her personal Tumblr in June 2018, with the caption "He no like vegetals" and low expectations. She often posted pictures of her pets online; the photo of Smudge was just one of many.
    Yet this one was different. It captured the attention of Tumblr users, for whatever reason — perhaps because of the internet-jargon-filled caption, or the unique face Smudge shows. Stillabower says it's because of how adorable he is but admits she may be biased. Her post accrued thousands of notes and reposts, which was nothing compared with the attention Smudge would get less than a year later.
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