In an effort to stay positive and avoid the emotional slump that can accompany the existential realization that yet another year has come and gone, I’m gifting you the most crucial list I’ve ever written. This is a list focusing on the animal kingdom’s most important creature, a creature that in 2014 finally got the spotlight it so deserved: the cat. So here is my offering, a round up of the absolute most important cat moments of the year — there were so, so many. Read it and weep:
1) The official Grumpy Cat movie premiered on Lifetime.
When Tabatha Bundesen’s brother Bryan posted a picture of his sister’s cat to Reddit in 2012, he didn’t know he was about to create an Internet sensation. Bundesen’s “Grumpy Cat” has come a long way since that first picture, racking up over 7 million likes on Facebook and landing his own line of coffee products. This past Christmas, Grumpy Cat took his fame a step further, becoming the first Internet cat ever to have his own TV movie. Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever aired on Nov. 29 and Grumpy Cat was voiced by the one and only Aubrey Plaza. April Ludgate would be proud.
2) A cat-obsessed high-schooler took the best yearbook photo ever.
Earlier this fall, Draven Rodriguez, a student at Schenectady High School in New York, asked his principal if he could pose with his cat Mr. Bigglesworth for his senior portrait. The school said no. So, Rodriguez did what any self-respecting cat owner would do: he created a petition and posted it to the Internet, along with this convincing photo.
Within a few weeks, the picture had gone viral. While he wasn’t able to get approval on the senior portrait idea, he was able to publish the photo in the yearbook on his principal’s page. She even decided to join in! The two posed with their pets in this delightful mashup:
3) Thula the cat helped a young girl with autism
In December 2011, a young girl named Iris Grace Halmshaw was diagnosed with autism. Seeing their daughter struggle with basic social interactions, Iris’s parents adopted a Maine Coon named Thula in the hopes of providing their daughter with a fuzzy companion that could soothe her social distress. The cat has exceeded their expectations. According to her mother’s blog, “If Iris wakes during the night, Thula is there to settle her. It’s as though she instinctively knows what to do. When Iris gets distressed during the day, this little kitten doesn’t feel frightened, but rather, stays by Iris and distracts her from her difficulties.”
4) Lil Bub debuted his own Yule Log special.
Tired of watching the same ol’ Yule Log program every year? Have you ever watched the flames flicker on the television and thought to yourself: this needs more cats? Well, congratulations. Your wish came true in 2014. Lil Bub released an-hour long Yule Log video on his website featuring himself sleeping in front of a crackling fire. There are even purring noises involved.
5) Olivia and Meredith took over Taylor Swift’s Instagram.
I don’t follow many celebrity Instagram accounts, mostly because I don’t enjoy scrolling through pictures of things I’ll never afford, but for Taylor Swift, I’ll make an exception. Because, cats. Specifically, Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey, which Billboard rightfully pointed out sound a lot more like the names of prime-time drama characters than cats. Pair the cats’ priceless facial expressions with Taylor’s hilarious commentary and you’ve got an Instagram account that will have you laughing for days.
6) Venus the Two-Faced Cat became Internet sensation.
Christopher Nolan, if you’re thinking about making an all-cat adaptation of The Dark Knight and need your next Harvey Dent, look no further than Venus. This “half-and-half” cat gained Internet fame around 2012 due to his unique fur markings. In 2014, the cat saw a resurgence in popularity.
7) The Annual Feline Film & Video Festival made waves in Boston.
Featuring a mix of professional and amateur cat videos and Vines, the Feline Film & Video Festival attracted hundreds of participants, who literally meowed in excitement throughtout the two-and-a-half hour event. I have never loved my home state so much.
8) Tara the cat saved a boy from a vicious dog attack.
When a young boy was brutally attacked by a dog earlier this year, it only took seconds the boy’s pet cat Tara to pounce into action. How do I know? As much as I’d like to admit that I am secretly a cat whisperer, I can’t take credit for uncovering this cat’s valiant deed. A nearby security camera recorded the whole thing. Take a look.
9) Keyboard Cat made a comeback at the Puppy Bowl half-time show.
Keyboard Cat charmed around 38 million YouTube viewers back in 2007 with his sleepy piano routine. This year, he came back better than ever, headlining the latest “Puppy Bowl” with his best Bruno Mars impression. Catastic!
10) Tabby Is the New Cat, an OITNB cat-parody, aired on YouTube.
Presenting, Piper Catman. Is it better than the original? You decide.
What cat moments did I miss?