It may be hard to believe, but Nyan Cat, the Internet’s favorite 8-bit feline sensation, has only been a part of the cultural landscape for one short year.
Chris Torres, aka PR Guitarman, first created the Pop Tart kitty after being inspired by separate requests to draw a Pop Tart and a cat during a Red Cross charity drawing event, and modeled it after his own cat, a Russian Blue named Marty. In the year since the video was first posted, the rainbow-powered cat has spawned popular video games and merchandise, and even garnered an appearance in a Sprint 4G commercial.
In honor of Nyan Cat’s first birthday on April 2, 2012, here are eight of our favorite incarnations of the famous internet meme.
Chris Torres posted the original Nyan Cat animation on April 2, 2011, but it wasn’t until three days later when YouTube user saraj00n uploaded a video version backed with an infectious beat that it went on to become a worldwide viral hit. The video has racked up a staggering 70 million views to date, and has been spun off into countless other versions, which are cataloged on the official Nyan Cat website for your non-stop listening pleasure.
In December, Nyan Cat got into the holiday spirit by wrapping his Pop Tart in a ribbon, and donning a festive Santa hat as he dodged snowflakes instead of space debris.
“Auld Lang Syne” entered the internet age when the 8-bit feline paid tribute to the annual New Year’s Eve tradition of watching the ball drop in Times Square.
A kinder, gentler version of Nyan Cat? The pink, white, and red edition was accompanied by Nyan Cat’s most soothing soundtrack to date.
Happy 4th of July! Nyan Cat got patriotic by ditching his normal duds in exchange for Old Glory.
A sepia-toned Nyan Cat channels Charlie Chaplin as he flies through space armed with nothing but a derby hat and monocle.
I don’t know if I would call this one a favorite, but I can’t deny the appeal of a Nyan Cat that’s so cool he’s gotta wear shades as he accompanies an elevator music-esque version of his catchy theme song.
Nyan Cat’s poppy soundtrack gets backmasked for his evil alter-ego, TACNAYN – a demon kitty who wears a belgium waffle armor that only Nyan Cat can defeat.