Grumpy Cat’s rise to beloved Internet sensation started where many viral stars first take root: on Reddit.
Photos of the frowny feline, known then by her real name Tardar Sauce, started to spread across the site in 2012.
Animal lovers were initially skeptical that the cat’s sourpuss mug was real, suggesting it could be the work of Photoshop.
Tardar Sauce’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen, posted several videos on YouTube of her unique pet to set the record straight.
Grumpy Cat’s signature “No Face” and small size are a result of feline dwarfism, a condition caused by a genetic mutation.
After learning that this feline was the real deal, the Internet happily embraced Tardar Sauce and renamed her Grumpy Cat.
Grumpy Cat quickly became the face of countless means, usually those with a humorously pessimistic bent. As the number of memes grew, so did Grumpy Cat’s fame. Soon, it was almost impossible to go online in 2013 without picking up a bit of Grumpy wisdom.
A savvy, meowing mogul from the start, Grumpy Cat was quick to expand her Internet fame to the real world. The feline started by putting her paw to the page, publishing the book Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book in July 2013. Grumpy continued to put out more books filled with her famous sass throughout her life.
As 2013 progressed, it was clear Grumpy Cat wasn’t going anywhere. She soon became one of the most sought after special guests on the talk show circuit, making appearances on Watch What Happens Live, Good Morning America and more.
Grumpy Cat reached her first award show season in the fall of 2013, and, even though she was just a year old, received the a Lifetime Achievement Award from Friskies in October of that year.
By April 2014, Grumpy Cat was a regular on red carpets. She attended the MTV Movie Awards that year, wearing her own version of Pharell’s infamous hat, and was met by hundreds of screaming fans.
Joining the ranks of Candace Cameron-Bure and Lacey Chabert, Grumpy Cat got her own Lifetime Christmas move, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, in November of 2014.
An Arizona native, Grumpy Cat never forgot her roots. In September 2015, she became one of the first cats to throw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, lobbing a ball out at a Arizona Diamondbacks game.
Already an author, movie star, award winner and Internet darling, by 2016 it was clear that Grumpy Cat was more than just meme material. Grumpy’s icon status was cemented in May 2016 when the feline was immortalized with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas.
In September 2016, Grumpy Cat added Broadway star to her resume by taking part in a production of the Great White Way’s Cats revival.
With over 8.5 million Facebook followers, 2.5 million Instagram followers, and 1.5 million Twitter followers, Forbes had all the information they needed to put Grumpy Cat at the top of their Top Pet Influencers list in 2017, citing her “partnerships, sponsorships, and merchandise opportunities worth millions of dollars,” as what made her top dog among all the pets on social media.
Grumpy Cat managed to fit all of these impressive milestones into just seven short years. The famous feline died on May 14 at the age of 7. The cat’s family announced the sad news on social media on Friday morning.
“Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome,” Grumpy’s family shared in a statement.
According to the statement, Grumpy passed away in her owner’s arms. While she was famous for her frown, Grumpy was known as a giant sweetheart to all of those lucky enough to meet her. Her family is comforted during this difficult time, according to their statement, by the fact that Grumpy “helped millions of people smile all around the world.”