The Furry Feline Phenomenon. How Grumpy Cat Conquered YouTube


In recent years, animal videos have become enormously popular on YouTube, leading some pets to achieve fame and stardom on the platform. Cats in particular have become viral sensations, with certain felines accumulating millions of dedicated subscribers and fans. We will explore some of the most famous and beloved cat stars on YouTube and how they have leveraged their popularity to achieve celebrity status.


Maru is a Scottish Fold cat from Japan who rose to fame on YouTube. He lives with his owner mugumogu, who began sharing videos of Maru on YouTube in 2007. Maru became known for his love of jumping into cardboard boxes and other tight spaces. As one of the original YouTube animal stars, Maru has amassed over 350 million views across hundreds of videos on his YouTube channel. His viral videos in the late 2000s established Maru as one of the most famous cats on the internet.

Lil Bub

Lil Bub was an American celebrity cat who gained fame for her unique appearance due to genetic abnormalities. Born in 2011, Lil Bub had a form of feline dwarfism that caused her to remain kitten-sized throughout her life (Lil Bub – Wikipedia). She also had extra toes on all four paws, an underbite, and a shortened lower jaw that left her tongue always hanging out.

Despite her physical differences, Lil Bub’s owner Mike Bridavsky adopted her as a kitten from a friend. Her photos and videos went viral online as people were charmed by her perpetual kitten look. At one point, Lil Bub had over 2 million Facebook fans and her YouTube videos had over 300 million views (About – Lil BUB).

Bridavsky used Lil Bub’s fame to advocate for special needs pets. She was the face of campaigns that raised over $700,000 for animal charities. In 2013, Lil Bub starred in her own documentary called Lil Bub & Friendz. She also authored books like Lil Bub’s Lil Book. Sadly, Lil Bub passed away in 2019 at the age of 8 (Lil Bub: Cat with millions of online fans dies – BBC). But her legacy as an inspiration for differently-abled pets lives on.

Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, became one of the most famous cat memes on the internet for her permanently grumpy facial expression. She was adopted as a kitten in 2012 by Tabatha Bundesen after being born with dwarfism and an underbite that caused her to have a permanent scowl. Images of Grumpy Cat’s scowling face quickly went viral on Reddit and other social media sites like Imgur and Tumblr.

Soon, Grumpy Cat made appearances on major TV shows like Good Morning America and American Idol, landed sponsorship deals, and appeared on merchandise like t-shirts, calendars, and books. According to some reports, Grumpy Cat made as much as $100 million from her internet fame, though her owner has disputed that number. She even starred in her own Christmas movie called Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever in 2014. Though the exact number is unclear, there’s no doubt Grumpy Cat capitalized on her viral meme status to build a small media empire and fortune. Her recognizable scowl left a lasting mark on internet culture as one of the first major cat memes. She passed away in 2019 at the age of 7 due to complications from a urinary tract infection.

Nala Cat

Nala Cat is a Siamese/tabby mix adopted from a shelter who gained fame on Instagram. She was adopted in 2012 by Varisiri Methachittiphan, who began posting photos and videos of Nala. Her expressive face and adorable antics quickly gained her a large following on Instagram. As of 2023, Nala has over 5 million Instagram followers.

Nala’s popularity on Instagram has led to partnerships with brands like Friskies and Chewy. She has been featured in ad campaigns and merchandise. Her large following has also allowed Nala to promote animal shelters and other charities close to her owner’s heart. For example, some of the proceeds from Nala Cat merchandise goes to CatCon and Kitten Rescue Los Angeles.

Smoothie the Cat

Smoothie the Cat is a famous Munchkin breed cat from Russia with over 2 million YouTube subscribers. Her channel features daily videos showcasing her cute and funny antics as her owners place her in silly situations. Smoothie became popular in 2020 when her video “Cat Vs Tape Challenge” went viral, racking up over 12 million views. Her owners describe Smoothie as a “sweet and friendly kitty who loves playing with toys and boxes.” Smoothie was born in 2018 with genetic dwarfism that causes her short legs, a signature trait of the Munchkin breed. She lives in Moscow with her owners, who run her YouTube channel and social media accounts. Fans tune in each day to see what hijinks Smoothie will get up to next.

Sources: Smoothie the Cat YouTube Channel

Venus the Two Face Cat

Venus the Two Face Cat is a uniquely marked cat that has risen to internet fame thanks to her distinct facial features. This chimera cat has a face that is split straight down the middle between black and orange.Venus the Two Face Cat Venus’ striking two-toned face is the result of a genetic anomaly that caused each side of her face to exhibit different coloring due to uneven distribution of melanin during development.

Venus’ unique appearance has led her to become an extremely popular feline celebrity online. With over 1.3 million Facebook fans, Venus has developed a strong social media following. Her split face markings make her easily one of the most recognizable cats on the internet. Venus’ viral popularity online has turned her into a feline sensation. Her one-of-a-kind facial markings will likely continue bringing joy and fascination to cat lovers around the world.


When comparing the most popular cats on YouTube, there are a few key metrics to look at including number of subscribers, total views, and social media followings. Maru, with over 380,000 subscribers and 354 million views, has significantly more subscribers and total views than any other famous YouTube cat (Source: Top 5 Cats on YouTube). Lil Bub comes closest with over 3 million subscribers and 224 million views. Grumpy Cat, Nala Cat, and Smoothie the Cat all have 1-2 million subscribers.

In terms of memorable moments, Maru is known for fitting into tight boxes and jumping into empty bags. Lil Bub rose to fame for having an extreme case of feline dwarfism and fewer teeth and toes than most cats. Grumpy Cat’s permanent scowl makes the internet laugh. Nala Cat is known for her adorable meows and Smoothie has a unique hairless look. Venus the Two Face Cat has half black, half orange coloring due to chimerism.

Overall, while many famous YouTube cats have their own distinctive features and quirks, Maru stands out with by far the most subscribers and total views. He has truly captivated viewers with his playful personality and silly antics like diving into cardboard boxes and peeking out from under pillows (Source: Celebrate National Cat Day With YouTube’s Most Popular Cats).


These famous feline internet stars blazed the trail for animal celebrity online. Their quirky personalities and cute antics charmed millions of viewers, demonstrating how non-human creatures could capture hearts and imaginations. They paved the way for countless animal influencers who followed.

Their impact reached far beyond the internet, shaping meme culture and pop culture more broadly. Grumpy Cat’s perpetual scowl, Lil Bub’s tongue and extra toes, and Maru’s love of boxes left lasting impressions. Phrases like “I can haz cheezburger?” and images of keyboard cats and nyan cat remain iconic.

Though some have sadly passed, their channels and social media continue to share previous footage and honor their memory. Others like Lil Bub and Nala Cat remain active online. They continue to delight fans with new content and spread their positive messages to the world.


Of all the famous internet cats, Maru and Grumpy Cat stand out as two of the most influential and famous. Maru, with his playful personality shown in countless popular YouTube videos, demonstrates the appeal of a cute and endearing feline hamming it up for the camera. Grumpy Cat, on the other hand, went viral due to her unique facial expression that captured the internet’s fascination. Both cats demonstrate the power of pets to capture our hearts and imaginations online.

Animal celebrities like Maru and Grumpy Cat showcase the internet’s ongoing love affair with our furry, feathery, and scaly friends. As technology progresses, we will likely see more internet-breaking animal stars that achieve global fame the way these cats did. Perhaps the next viral sensation will be a talented parrot, a glamorous guinea pig, or a piglet painter. One thing’s for certain – our appetite for adorable, amusing animals online shows no signs of waning. The future looks bright for the next Maru or Grumpy Cat to capture hearts, clicks, and laughs around the world.

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