• Danielle Motley

Grumpy Cat, the OG Pet Influencer, dies at age 7

It's a sad day in the world of cat lovers. Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, has died at age 7. Succumbing to complications following a urinary tract infection, Grumpy Cat passed away on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019, cradled by her hooman mother. The OG pet influencer, Grumpy Cat leaves behind a profound legacy in the world of cat lovers, internet geeks, and influencer marketing.

How did it all begin?

Grumpy Cat became an internet sensation in 2012 when her owner's brother posted her photo on a Reddit thread. Those piercing blue eyes and that distinctive frown, people immediately thought Tardar Sauce's face had been photoshopped. Her owner quickly dispelled those rumors and explained that the kitten's perpetual frown and small stature were a result of feline dwarfism. Posting videos and photos to their Youtube and social media as proof, Grumpy Cat became an internet celebrity and pop culture icon.

A 48 Hour Viral Sensation

After that initial post, Grumpy Cat blew up inboxes and social media channels around the globe. It only took 48 hours for her photo to go viral once it was revealed to be legitimate and instantly dubbed meme purrfection. Millions of memes were created from Grumpy Cat's most-famous photo, which is still popular to this day. Almost immediately, the entertainment industry and brands came calling. The rest is history.

Once she stumbled into the spotlight, brands began to reach out to Grumpy Cat for partnerships and appearances. Becoming the first official pet influencer, Grumpy Cat appeared at SXSW in 2013, as well as in ads for major brands like Friskies and Cheerios. She even has a wax replica at Madame Tussaud's in Washington, D.C. and went for a visit to check it out. She wasn't happy about it.

At one point, Lifetime had her headline her own Christmas movie, "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever". In this bah humbug tale, actress Aubrey Plaza, best known for "Parks and Recreation", voiced the frowning feline. As you can imagine, with all these offers and ever-growing popularity, it didn't take long for Grumpy Cat to become a social media mogul and to build a business empire.

Grumpy Cat Limited was quickly formed after the photo went viral and a slew of swag and merch was created. From shoes, to calendars, and even house decor, Grumpy Cat's forever frown could be spotted everywhere. She even had a signature coffee drink, the Grumppuccino, which made headlines in 2017 when Grumpy Cat Limited sued the coffee company for branching out past the Grumppuccino and creating an unauthorized Grumpy Cat-branded ground coffee line. Ultimately, Grumpy Cat Limited won $710,000 in damages for copyright infringement.

Grumpy Cat's owner, Tabatha, was said to be a server in 2012 when her kitten's photo went viral. Now, 7 years later, Grumpy Cat Limited is alleged to have a net worth of $100,000,000 from appearances, book deals, product lines, and miscellaneous brand partnerships. Her owner will not confirm or deny this exact number, but it is the estimate listed by several news sources.

Even though she has left this world at the ripe age of 7, Grumpy Cat's legacy will live on. Her memes, ever so moody, will continue to inspire laughs and smiles from kids and adults alike. They haven't become any less popular in the past 7 years, and we don't expect them to. Her epic frown will be forever immortalized by miscellaneous merchandise, partnerships, and the cat crazy internet. She will always be remembered as the kitty that started it all in the world of pet influencer marketing.

*All photos credits and rights belong to Grumpy Cat Limited

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