If you’re a nerd like me, you probably know all about “lolcats” already. If you’re not a nerd (which is more likely), then you either have never heard of lolcats or you have but don’t know what it is. Allow me to explain.
A number of humor sites on the internet feature something called “photoshop contests” wherein a particular photograph is modified to (hopefully) comic effect. One particular site (4chan) began having “caturdays” in which the contests would be cat-oriented. Eventually, the idea became more widespread and websites devoted to lolcats began to appear. The most famous of these is probably icanhascheezburger.com, where lolcats developed it’s own subculture and vocabulary. Here is one of the first lolcat pictures:
The caption represents what the cat is saying or thinking and is usually in broken English that can best be described as “baby talk”. If cats learned English from the way their owners talk to them, you can imagine that many of them might talk this way. The peculiar phrasing served as a precedent for later pictures. Here is another oft-used idiom:
Lolcats can often be found “in ur noun, verbing ur plural noun.” This one departs slightly from the formula:
Lolcats can also take on specific roles in which they are renamed to reflect that role. The first was “monorail cat”:
Others would follow:
Eventually, somebody invented “ceiling cat” who is the Creator of all lolcats:
Although ceiling cat’s first appearance was somewhat off-color, future appearances were less risque:
Sometime after that, ceiling cat’s nemesis, “basement cat”, came to be:
Another favorite device is to pretend an imaginary, invisible object is in the picture:
Sometimes the lolcat is helpful or generous, but fails due to personal weakness:
Of course, there are variations on that theme:
Some pictures depict the lolcat in a particular situation expressing human emotion:
Like a child, the lolcat mostly likes playing games that require imagination:
Occasionally, other animals join the lolcat fun:
All pictures from icanhascheezerburger.com where you’ll find thousands more.