YouTube. Cats. Two concepts that, however much that horse-dancing chap from South Korea sticks his oar in, will always be interlinked in hundreds of millions of people’s minds.
Cats are YouTube’s muses and its mascots. But which are the most musey and mascotty? As the service celebrates its 10th birthday, we asked YouTube’s trends team what the most popular felines of its first decade were.
They came back with a chart based on views, subscribers and how much “discussion and creativity” its subjects had inspired during that decade. And sorry, Grumpy Cat, but the top slot goes to …
This Scottish Fold cat lives in Japan, loves boxes, and has accumulated more than 289m views on his channel – which also has nearly 500,000 subscribers. From tail-dancing and paper-bag wearing to loafing about on the sofa, he’s a global hit.
She may have less views than Maru – 31.5m on her official channel – but Grumpy Cat is arguably more famous in the wider world thanks to her bestselling books and appearances at various tech events. Tardar Sauce (her actual name) owes her looks to feline dwarfism rather than a gloomy character.
“Mow?” This animated cat was the work of Simon Tofield, who set up his YouTube channel in 2007 and has since generated more than 640m views and attracted nearly 3.5 million subscribers. Tofield recently raised £310k on crowdfunding website Indiegogo to make a longer 11-minute film with his feline star.
Not a channel, but a single video – the only one ever uploaded to the channel of its owner “rozzzafly”, in October 2009. The 16-minute clip of a kitten being tickled has since been watched more than 75m times.
Published on YouTube channel BloodBlitz, this series of videos features a take-no-nonsense cat wearing a supervillain-inspired mask, and terrorising his owner. A Behind The Scenes video revealed that BaneCat is female, incidentally.
Something more arty on this channel, which has nearly 9.5m views for its videos presenting the life of a cat filled with angst, filmed in suitably moody monochrome. “Just when I think they have exhausted all means of insulting me. Now this …”
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: Colonel Meow isn’t alive any more. But when he was, he was a hit on YouTube, with 3m views of his channel and a Guinness World Record for having the longest fur (nine inches, since you ask).
The original Nyan Cat video has been watched more than 120m times on YouTube, so it’s surprising to see the multi-coloured poptart-cat so low on this list. But it was as much of a meme off-YouTube, including a website challenging people to watch (and listen to his song) for as long as possible.
If you ever see a snarky reference to YouTube as a place full of “cats playing pianos”, chances are Keyboard Cat is the cause. His original video was seized upon by the media, with his channel since generating nearly 71m views.
Another veteran YouTube feline, the original Mean Kitty Song was uploaded in 2007, going on to rack up nearly 82m views since, providing a platform for parent channel SMP Films (which is more focused on comedy skits and tricks) to build its audience.
Dubious about the merits of these cats? Here’s a playlist to help you decide:
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