Culture

The Dark Story Behind The ‘Woman Vs Cat’ Meme

Eight years after the meme first appeared, Taylor Armstrong says "it's ok to laugh".

Woman vs cat, woman yelling at cat meme

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

The initial memes from August used straight-forward situations, where Armstrong played the role of aggressor with Smudge acting as a confused reaction image.

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”.

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Good night ~hannah

A post shared by hannah & allie ft. abby) (@onthebookshelf) on

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.

One reason for its major success is that “woman vs cat” has managed to hyperlocalise itself through popular slang.

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.