Meow or Woof? The Internet’s Most Famous Feline vs. Canine Stars


Animal memes and viral pets have become increasingly popular online over the past couple decades. With the rise of social media and platforms like YouTube in the mid-2000s, it became much easier for pets to gain viral fame on the internet. Some of the earliest and most well-known animal memes originated on sites like 4chan in the late 2000s, like the iconic Doge meme. According to this article, humorous cat memes and imagery dates all the way back to the 18th century. But the internet has allowed certain pets to achieve a new level of meme superstardom.

This article will provide an overview of some of the most famous viral pets that have become Internet sensations, from Grumpy Cat to Boo the Pomeranian and beyond. Their memorable faces, funny antics, and endearing personalities have earned them millions of followers across social media and cemented their places in internet history.

Grumpy Cat

One of the most famous cats on the internet is the viral sensation known as Grumpy Cat. Her real name is Tardar Sauce, and she first rose to fame in 2012 thanks to her perpetually grumpy facial expression. According to her owner, Tardar Sauce’s grumpy look was caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite. Once her photo went viral on Reddit in 2012, Tardar Sauce quickly became known worldwide as Grumpy Cat.

Grumpy Cat became an internet celebrity and has earned millions from merchandise, appearances, and book deals. While some reports claimed she earned her owner up to $100 million, that appears to be an exaggeration. According to her owner, Grumpy Cat Limited’s brand has brought in revenue closer to the low seven figures over the course of several years. Still, Grumpy Cat was one of the most commercially successful pet memes in history before her death in 2019 at the age of 7.


Lil Bub

Lil Bub rose to fame in 2011 when her owner Mike Bridavsky began posting photos and videos of her online. With her large eyes, stubby legs, and protruding tongue, Lil Bub’s unique look quickly went viral. In 2019, scientists analyzed Lil Bub’s DNA and discovered she has two rare genetic mutations that contribute to her distinctive appearance ( She has polydactylism, which gives her extra toes, and osteopetrosis, which causes her bones to grow more densely. While osteopetrosis can cause health problems in cats, Lil Bub’s case was mild and allowed her to live a relatively normal life.

As her popularity grew, Lil Bub’s owner leveraged her fame for good causes. They released books and calendars to raise over $300,000 for animal charities. Lil Bub served as the face of campaigns supporting special needs pets. Sadly, she passed away in 2019 at the age of 8. But her legacy lives on through the Lil Bub Foundation that continues to support animals in need.

Boo the Pomeranian

Boo is a Pomeranian dog that became famous in 2010 for his teddy bear-like appearance. According to Boo’s official website (, he was discovered as a puppy abandoned at a dog groomer’s in San Francisco. His soft, fluffy fur that framed his face like a teddy bear made him an internet sensation when his owners began sharing photos on Facebook.

Boo gained immense popularity on Facebook and currently has over 16 million followers on his page. He has released two books titled “Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog” and “Boo: Little Dog in the Big City” as well as wall calendars. Boo made appearances on shows like Today and The Martha Stewart Show. His teddy bear looks launched him into fame, earning him the title of “World’s Cutest Dog.”

Maru the Cat

Maru is a male Scottish Fold cat who lives in Japan and became famous on YouTube in 2007. He was adopted in 2006 by mugumogu, who began posting videos of Maru on YouTube the following year.

One of the reasons Maru became so popular online is his love of boxes. Maru enjoys jumping into, hiding in, and playing with cardboard boxes of all sizes. His compilation videos showing his box antics often go viral and rack up millions of views.

Some of Maru’s most popular box videos include “Maru Greatest Hits,” “Big Box Little Maru,” and “Maru vs Boxes.” As of 2022, Maru’s YouTube channel has over 377 million views and over 550,000 subscribers.

Maru lives with his owner mugumogu in an undisclosed location in Japan. His videos show him enjoying his daily life of playing, napping, and getting into mischief around the house.

Maru’s YouTube channel

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Doug the Pug

Doug the Pug is an Internet celebrity known for his pop culture costumes and famous friends. He lives in Nashville with his owners, and has over 18 million fans on Facebook alone ( Doug regularly dresses up as popular characters and celebrities, posing with props and signs referencing the latest memes and trends. He has been featured with celebs like Ed Sheeran, John Legend, and Blake Shelton.

Doug’s online fame led to real world opportunities like meet-and-greets with adoring fans, brand sponsorships, and even his own line of merchandise. While he looks grumpy, Doug seems to enjoy the limelight and entertaining people through social media. He serves as an example that with the right mix of charisma and promotion, even a pet can become an internet celebrity.

Keyboard Cat

One of the earliest and most popular animal memes is Keyboard Cat. According to Wikipedia, Keyboard Cat is “a video-based internet meme. Its original form was a video made in 1984 by Charlie Schmidt of his cat Fatso seemingly playing a musical keyboard that Schmidt had programmed.” (1) The video shows Fatso wearing a blue shirt and “playing” an upbeat melody on a keyboard after something goes wrong, such as someone falling or making a mistake.

The original Keyboard Cat video dates back to 1984, making it one of the earliest animal memes. But it did not become widely popular until the mid to late 2000s. According to, “Beginning in 2007, clips from the original VHS tape were uploaded to YouTube where the video grew steadily in popularity over the next few years. Since then, Keyboard Cat has been featured in numerous mainstream media outlets and remains one of the most recognized animal memes on the Internet today.” (2)

Keyboard Cat became a way to lighten the mood or indicate a blooper after virtually anything goes wrong, from someone falling to a mistake during a speech. The cute anthropomorphized cat “playing” upbeat music was an amusing way to cut the tension. While the original Keyboard Cat died in 1987, the meme lives on as one of the first and most iconic animal internet memes.




The Doge meme features an image of a Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu. The image originated from a 2010 photograph taken by Kabosu’s owner Atsuko Sato, which was posted to her blog in 2010. However, the image did not become a viral meme until late 2013, when it was shared on Reddit and began spreading rapidly online.

The name “Doge” refers to a misspelling of the word “dog” that is associated with the meme. The images are often accompanied by internal monologue captions written in the Comic Sans font with broken grammar, reflecting the dog’s hypothetical thoughts. These captions usually consist of short, amusing phrases ending in dog-related words like “wow” or bork”.

The Doge meme represents a lighthearted, humorous internet culture surrounding dogs. It became extremely popular in late 2013, being named as Know Your Meme’s “top meme” of that year. The silly Shiba Inu Kabosu remains the face of the Doge meme to this day.


Colonel Meow

Colonel Meow (October 11, 2011 – January 29, 2014) was an American Himalayan–Persian crossbreed cat, who temporarily held the 2014 Guinness world record for the longest fur on a cat. According to the Colonel Meow Wikipedia page, his fur reached a length of 9 inches.

Colonel Meow became an early Instagram celebrity for his incredibly fluffy and long fur. Sadly, Colonel Meow passed away in 2014 at the age of 2. However, he remains one of the most famous internet cats for his record-breaking locks and fluffy cuteness. Even though his Guinness World Record has since been surpassed, Colonel Meow’s luxurious fur made him an online star.


In summary, famous internet pets like Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub, and Doge have become pop culture icons thanks to their viral memes and images. They capture the public’s imagination with their cute or amusing personalities. People enjoy sharing these animal memes because they are relatable, funny, or heartwarming. These viral sensations demonstrate the power of the internet to turn our favorite furry friends into celebrities.

Certain qualities help these pets go viral and have a big impact on pop culture. Expressive or unique faces like Grumpy Cat capture widespread attention. Relatable situations in memes, like those featuring Doge, resonate with many social media users. Heartwarming personalities, like Boo the Pomeranian’s cute teddy bear appearance, also contribute to shares and likes. Whatever the formula, these famous furballs hit the sweet spot for captivating online audiences.

While classics like Keyboard Cat or Maru still have many fans, new viral memes and pets arise all the time. More recent sensations include Gamer Dog meme and agile cat Stunt Cat. As technology and online platforms evolve, we will continue discovering new cute, funny, and attention-grabbing animal memes. Though their fame may be short-lived, viral pets leave their mark on internet culture.

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