The Internet is a treasure trove for cat lovers. Not only can you find infinite hilarious cat videos on YouTube, but feline-focused memes, Instagram accounts, and, of course, #cattok with over 8 billion hash-tagged videos on TikTok. But the Internet also brought us famous cartoon cats like Nyan Cat and, more notably, the adorable tabby cat Pusheen.
Pusheen is perhaps one of the cutest and most popular Internet cats. She came to the forefront of internet culture in 2010 and still adorns all types of merchandise, from t-shirts to stuffed animals to coffee cups and everything in between. Keep reading to learn about this adorable cartoon tabby that stole our hearts a decade ago.
What Kind of Cat Is Pusheen?
Pusheen is a tabby gray tabby cat. She was created in May 2010 by artists Clare Belton and Andrew Duffer for their webcomic “Everyday Cute.” The comics focused on the lives of characters modeled after the artists, a yellow dog named Carmen and, of course, Pusheen. Pusheen was modeled after Belton’s childhood cat of the same name. The name came from the Irish word “puisin” which translates to “kitten” in English.
Pusheen’s Plunge Into Super Stardom
After gaining traction after her first appearance on Belton and Duff’s website, Pusheen was eventually given a spin-off website on Tumblr (which is still regularly updated). In 2013, Belton published a collection of comic strips featuring Pusheen, and in 2021, the long-awaited sequel was finally released.
The social media website Facebook released its first “chat stickers” in 2013 in which licensed images of Pusheen were available as graphics, essentially catapulting the tubby kitty into superstardom. According to Pusheen’s official website, images and GIFs of her likeness have been sent between friends more than 20 billion times.
What famous Internet meme would be complete without a whole spin-off line of merchandise?
The Pusheen corporation began selling merchandise in the summer of 2010, just two months after Pusheen’s first appearance. What started off with just a charm keychain and necklace has now expanded into something the original creators could never have imagined.
The Pusheen corporation has paired up with many famous brands and stores to create retailer-specific items. For example, Hot Topic, an American chain retailer specializing in counterculture clothing and accessories, has dozens of Pusheen-related merch, from enamel pins and crop tops to coin banks and plushies. At the time of writing, Pusheen licenses to nearly 20 companies such as Petco, Target, Gund, and Pusheen even has her own Funko Pop line.
Dedicated Pusheen fans can even subscribe to the Pusheen Box, an officially licensed subscription box that contains exclusive merchandise.
There may be no Internet cat as instantly recognizable as Pusheen. Whether you started following her in the early days, fell in love with her Facebook stickers, or couldn’t resist her adorable face in plushie form, there’s no doubt in our minds that Pusheen has stolen the hearts of millions of people worldwide. Though she’s been floating around the web for 12 years (which is eons in Internet meme years), there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the popularity of the world’s favorite tubby tabby.
Featured Image Credit: Benjamin B, Shutterstock