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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Nyan Cat, also known as Pop Tart Cat, is an 8-bit animation depicting a cat with the body of a cherry pop tart flying through outer space. While such absurd themes like flying kittens and pastry cats have been around for some time, the surreal humor behind this particular combination has captivated YouTubers and online art communities, spawning dozens of fan illustrations as well as receiving some mainstream coverage in April 2011. 

The Pop Tart Cat animation was posted on the daily comics site LOL-COMICS run by illustrator prguitarman on April 2nd, 2011. Prior to the Pop Tart Cat, prguitarman had already gained a relatively large audience with a few other instances of comics circulating on the web. The GIF animation was also reblogged via Tumblr on April 2nd, 2011, accumulating over 3,000 notes (likes & reblogs) in its first two weeks:

On April 5th, 2011, YouTuber saraj00n posted a video titled Nyan Cat, using comic artist prguitarman’s Pop Tart Cat animation set to the well-known Japanese Vocaloid song Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya by Japanese artist daniwellP looping in the background. The video gained over one million views in its first two weeks:

YouTuber xDaZJMx commented on the original Nyan cat video by saraj00n telling viewers to watch Slipknot’s Psychosocial (muted) with the Nyan cat song playing in the background. The comment went as follows:
Step 1: Put this song to the start and Pause it.
Step 2: Open up Slipknot Psychosocial in another tab.
Step 3: Mute the Slipknot video.
Step 4: Play this song and the Slipknot vid at the exact same time
Step 5: ????
Step 6: PROFIT!

xDaZJMx’s comment quickly gained hundreds of likes, was featured as the highest comment, and many users began flooding the Psychosocial video’s comments with Nyans. As of April 26th, 2011, Slipknot’s “Psychosocial” music video page on YouTube has over 111,000 comments, with tens of thousands reading “NYANNYANYANYANYANYANYANYANYANYANYANYANYA.” This caused confusion among Slipknot listeners, and further spread the Nyan cat meme and its hilarity.

Single-Serving Sites

Nyan.cat was launched on April 13th, 2011, featuring the text “NON-STOP NYAN CAT” and another single serving site Slowbro.org was launched on the next day, featuring a “rainy” version of the original. The flash game version featuring a timer display similar to Nyan.cat was uploaded by Newgrounds user Blind-Bane on April 27th.


Musical Tributes

- Piano cover

- Guitar cover

- Three-Stringed Fretless Japanese Lute

PBS LulzSec Hack

On Sunday, May 29th, the PBS website was hacked by the group “LulzSec”, and several of the website properties were defaced with Nyan Cat related images. The group claims the hack was a reaction to the Frontline episode called “Wikisecrets”, that some felt was biased against Wikileaks. LulzSec released the following statement explaining the motivations behind the hack:
Greetings, Internets. We just finished watching WikiSecrets and were less than impressed. We decided to sail our Lulz Boat over to the PBS servers for further… perusing. As you should know by now, not even that fancy-ass fortress from the third shitty Pirates of the Caribbean movie (first one was better!) can withhold our barrage of chaos and lulz. Anyway, unnecessary sequels aside… wait, actually: second and third Matrix movies sucked too! Anyway, say hello to the insides of the PBS servers, folks. They best watch where they’re sailing next time.
On May 30th, 2011, LulzSec tweeted a link to a pastebin post saying that PBS was not hacked by SQL, but rather a “0day we discovered in mt4 aka MoveableType 4”.


  1. hmmm...

  2. You know, it's really important what you are doing here. It may seem insignificant to some, or even a waste of time, but what you are doing is showcasing parts of our culture. I hope your work is somehow permanent - something that can be looked back on in 50 years, to help better understand our times. I fear that so much of what we do on the net is fleeting.

  3. wow awesome blog, i love the kitty. there was this cool rave remix i listened to and it was amazing

  4. I love Nyan cat! My time in my screenshot for the website is 56082.3 seconds, I think thats 15 hours but I'm bad at math.

  5. Ah poptart cat, looks so happy being a popart.

  6. I didn't relise that it was so viral...

  7. Slipknot + Nyan cat. What a splendid combination! :P

  8. I agree with Lisa and this article really helped me because I didn't know what's all that nyancat thing was about before reading.Good works! I have so much to learn from you.

  9. And what about All your base are belong to us. Badger Badger, Some naked japanesse guys,

  10. One of the cuter memes around. But dear lord that song annoys me :S

  11. HAHA!! I love nyan cat so much, one of the best! a poptart cat pooping rainbows flying through space :')

  12. very comprehensive and informative. i applaud your efforts

  13. That one ist just cute! Wow i really like it.