Nov. 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM ET
A cat with a permanent scowl is making a lot of people smile and meeting with the same kind of Internet success as Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. This one's called "Grumpy Cat," although she's definitely not.
So quickly has Grumpy Cat vaulted to popularity, that its human family says it will donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of T-shirts and cards to some charities, including a first donation to Sun Cities 4 Paws Rescue, a no-kill shelter in Youngtown, Arizona, near where Grumpy Cat lives.
The cat, which "looks like a little old man with that frown," is "totally adorable," Carol Jansky, assistant to the shelter's manager, told TODAY.com. (She had just learned the news about the contribution and was trying to look up Grumpy Cat on her computer as cats were climbing on her keyboard, she said.) "We are very appreciative. We are a no-kill shelter, and there are lots of costs associated with that, in addition to food: spaying, neutering, medical tests for things like feline leukemia."
Grumpy Cat is actually a gal. Her real name is "Tardar Sauce," and she first popped up on the Internet this fall. Bryan Bundesen of Ohio went to visit his sister, Tabatha, in Arizona and met "Tard" (as she's also known. His sister's young daughter thought the cat looked like tartar sauce, and wrote down "Tardar Sauce" when it came to naming the kitty.)
"Tard," despite that unhappy face, is "really cuddly and calm,' Bundesen told The Marion Star newspaper in Ohio. Tabatha said that the cat is more like a "newborn baby" in temperament. "She doesn’t scratch or fight, you can just cart her around. One day, I snuck her in the grocery store."
Bundesen posted a photo of Tard on the Internet in late September, and that's when the disbelievers started weighing in: The photo was a fake! No cat could look like that without being Photoshopped! And within a day, Grumpy Cat shot to Reddit success, on the front page of the site. Now there's a Tumblr blog, a website, several Facebook pages in her honor, including an official Facbook page, and, of course, a Twitter account.
There's also an adorable YouTube video (below) that has gotten more than 3.7 million views and a place on KnowYourMeme, as Grumpy Cat's photo now has been truly Photoshopped with various memes, including versions of the cat smiling.
"My stomach hurts from laughing so much," posted Cindy Stob on Grumpy Cat's Facebook page. "This girl is just the greatest thing to hit the cat world!"
More feline tails, er tales, from TODAY Digital Life:
Facebook campaign gets kids 100,000 'Likes,' 1 cat
People's choice for 'Best Cat Video' is French, existential
How to keep your cat off your computer keyboard
Cat videos get their own film festival at Walker Art Center