The Dark Story Behind The ‘Woman Vs Cat’ Meme
Eight years after the meme first appeared, Taylor Armstrong says "it's ok to laugh".
In the past few weeks there has been a resurgence of the ‘woman yelling at cat’ meme, but why?
The meme, which features an angry blonde woman yelling at a confused white cat eating dinner, is not all that new. You’ve likely come across the image sometime in the last three months, with Google Trends showing the meme first peaking in August.
The hilarious combination of images again picked up traction thanks to a new take on the format and a rebranding as the ‘woman vs cat’ meme.
The meme itself is actually a combination of two fairly popular images that have been floating around the internet for years. But it wasn’t until Twitter user @MISSINGEGIRL uploaded the images together that the meme was born.
These photos together is making me lose it pic.twitter.com/kJi9d8MpbG
— chey (@MISSINGEGIRL) May 1, 2019
Let’s Talk About The Confused Cat
Smudge the cat is the iconic vegetable-hating cat featured in the popular meme.
Named after a grey patch on his head that soon disappeared, Smudge made his internet debut on Tumblr in June, 2018. The photo, uploaded by deadbefordeath, was captioned: “he no like vegetals”. It garnered over 130,000 notes, and shot Smudge into internet infamy.
A year later, following the popularity of the image, Miranda, his owner, started an Instagram account for him.
Known on Instagram as a “chunky yet funky meme lord”, the @smudge_lord account shares photos of the cat with different foods and in different moods to over a million followers.
While talking to Bored Panda, Miranda explained that Smudge often jumps in peoples dining chairs when they’re not there which is how the photo came about. “The picture happened because he took someones seat at the table,” she said. “I guess he didn’t like what we were having for dinner!”
Smudge took a while to gain popularity on Tumblr, but according to Miranda, “things really got crazy” after he reached Instagram.
when you're just trying to enjoy your birthday meal and you see waiters clapping and walking towards you pic.twitter.com/VYDWtcjDmh
— Shayan (@melat_parast) June 15, 2019
The Story Behind The Woman
If the angry blonde woman looks at all familiar, it’s because she was a cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, a show notorious for its drama.
In 2011, on her second season of Real Housewives, Taylor Armstrong had the infamous fight with castmate Camille Grammer, which sparked the meme. On the episode titled ‘Malibu Beach Party From Hell’, Armstrong confronted Grammer who was gossiping about her personal issues.
BTW “woman yelling at a cat” is me https://t.co/Gevxe5LQ1B
— Taylor Armstrong (@TaylorArmstrong) October 27, 2019
After Armstrong told her friends about her late husband allegedly abusing her, Camille discussed the conversation on-camera. According to Vulture, this made Armstrong fearful of what would happen if her husband saw the footage.
This, rightfully, made Armstrong emotional and resulted in the infamous fight. The moment of the meme, which happens at around four minutes into the clip, was caught and screenshot by a Daily Mail reporter who had recapped the episode.
While the image within the meme itself is funny, the story behind the fight that sparked the image is dark. Wrapped in allegations of abuse, and a month after his wife filed for divorce, Taylor Armstrongs husband committed suicide by hanging.
But despite the dark origin of the meme, Taylor herself has said that “it’s ok to laugh at the images that have been created,” as she has “moved on and [is] in a really healthy, happy marriage.”
Thank you – that is my past and I have moved on and am in a really healthy, happy marriage. It doesn’t seem like my life any longer. I work w domestic violence shelters and support victims. It’s ok to laugh at the images that have been created. https://t.co/Zup8szsDNb
— Taylor Armstrong (@TaylorArmstrong) October 27, 2019
The Joining Of The Two Images
When @MISSINGEGIRL had the stroke of genius to put the two photos together, a powerful meme was born. Beyond the yearly SpongeBob meme, not many tend to stay in circulation longer than a few weeks.
For Smudge and Taylor Armstrong, the unlikely pairing has broken the regular lifespan of a meme. Since its conception, the ‘woman yelling at cat’ meme has remained popular, and has even inspired some people to for halloween this year.
so about my costume last night pic.twitter.com/TN3HE1PT4B
— cødy (@CodyPalm) October 26, 2019
The initial memes from August used straight-forward situations, where Armstrong played the role of aggressor with Smudge acting as a confused reaction image.
video games me, collecting
cause violence! bugs in
animal crossing pic.twitter.com/3seEii3C82
— erica @ she-ra spoilers (@sexhomaru) August 6, 2019
— wiz (@lc28__) May 3, 2019
Recently, however, the meme has transformed to remain relevant and fresh. Now focused on localised situations involving mispronunciation, slang, confusing text and photoshop work, “woman yelling at cat” has transformed into “woman vs cat”.
This change has proved so popular that the @womanvscat Twitter page, which regularly posts new memes using the images, has gained over 65,000 followers since starting in October.
YOU SAID Yes,
IT WASN’T but I’m
SPICY Mexican pic.twitter.com/txpoNfB1I6
— Woman vs Cat™ (@WomanvsCat) November 5, 2019
NOVEMBER Christmas pic.twitter.com/wsXTDsa8KT
— Woman vs Cat™ (@WomanvsCat) November 6, 2019
YOU SAID Bitch I said
YOU WENT I went to the
TO PENN STATE State Pen pic.twitter.com/npK661iQRR
— Woman vs Cat™ (@WomanvsCat) November 7, 2019
One reason for its major success is that “woman vs cat” has managed to hyperlocalise itself through popular slang.
“HE TOLD ME I “Hoe I said
COULDNT WEAR no cap”
MY HAT IN HERE!” pic.twitter.com/rELWRJ6QtP
— Madison (@madiari_23) November 4, 2019
YOU SAID I Bitch I said
LOOKED GOOD good looks pic.twitter.com/X0qc7s3y1o
— Woman vs Cat™ (@WomanvsCat) November 4, 2019
With no real signs of slowing down and with an abundance of possible meme combinations, who knows what’s next for Smudge and Taylor Armstrong.
— Woman vs Cat™ (@WomanvsCat) November 9, 2019