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Nyan Cat is a grey and small (referred to as 'smol' in meme language) tabby cat that was created in April 2011 with a pop-tart body flying in space with a rainbow trail behind.

About the original video/ Origins[]

Nyan Cat is the name of a YouTube video uploaded in April 2011, which became an internet meme. The video merged a Japanese pop song, sung by UTAUloid Momone Momo (original sung by Hatsune Miku), with an animated cartoon cat with a Pop-Tart for a torso, flying through space, and leaving a rainbow trail behind it. The video ranked at number 5 on the list of most viewed YouTube videos in 2011.

Actual Origins (technically)[]

On April 2, 2011, the GIF animation of the soon to become the meme Nyan Cat was posted by 25-year-old Christopher Torres of Dallas, Texas, who uses the name "prguitarman", on his website LOL-Comics. Torres explained in an interview where the idea for the animation came from: "I was doing a donation drive for the Red Cross and in-between drawings in my Livestream video chat, two different people mentioned I should draw a 'Pop Tart' and a 'cat'." In response, he created a hybrid image of a Pop-Tart and a cat, which was developed a few days later into the animated GIF. The design of Nyan Cat was influenced by Torres' pet cat Marty, who died in November 2012 from feline infectious peritonitis.

The original version of the song "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" was uploaded by user "daniwell" to the Japanese video site Nico Nico Douga on July 25, 2010. The song features the Vocaloid virtual singer Hatsune Miku. The Japanese word nyan is onomatopoeic, imitating the call of a cat (equivalent to English "meow"). The song was later included in the rhythm game Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, released by Sega in August 2012.[]

On January 30, 2011, a user named "Momomomo" uploaded a cover of "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" featuring the UTAU voice Momone Momo. The voice source used to create the Momone Momo voice was Momoko Fujimoto, a Japanese woman who lives in Tokyo.

YouTube user "saraj00n" (whose real name is Sara) combined the cat animation with the "Momo Momo" version of the song "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!", and uploaded it to YouTube on April 5, 2011[1], three days after Torres had uploaded his animation, giving it the title "Nyan Cat". The video rapidly became a success after being featured on websites including G4 and CollegeHumor. Christopher Torres said: "Originally, its name was Pop Tart Cat, and I will continue to call it so, but the Internet has reached a decision to name it Nyan Cat, and I’m happy with that choice, too."

In March 2019, ownership of the YouTube channel hosting the original Nyan Cat video was transferred to Means TV, an anti-capitalist video streaming service. However, as of 2020, the name of the channel has been changed to simply “Nyan Cat”, and all content from Means TV removed.

Reception[]

The Nyan Cat music video reached ninth place in Business Insider's top ten viral videos of April 2011, with 7.2 million total views. The original YouTube video has received over 180 million views as of August 5, 2020. Nyan Cat won a Webby Award in 2012 for "Meme of the Year".

Due to the video's popularity, many new remixes and cover versions have been made, some several hours long. There are also ringtones, wallpapers and applications created for operating systems and devices including Windows, iPhone, iPad, Symbian, Android, Windows Phone, and HP webOS. "Nyan Cat Adventure", by 21st Street Games, is an officially licensed game. An officially licensed cryptocurrency entitled "Nyancoin" with the domain name nyanco.in (later nyan-coin.org) was launched in January 2014.

nyan.cat[]

Christopher Torres initially criticized the website www.nyan.cat, which originally featured a similar-looking cat with the pop tart replaced by a slice of toast, and the same background music. The site, which uses the .cat sponsored top-level domain, was described by Torres as "plagiarized". Since 2012 the website has been operated by Torres, and also shows the original version of the cat.