Super Bowl counterprogramming has reached West Side Story levels this year, as there is both a Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet AND a Kitten Bowl over on Hallmark. Now, we're not saying that you have to choose sides, but, we're kind of saying you can't be both a Shark and a Jet (this probably could have been a sports metaphor, but this author only knows about cats and musicals). If you're Team Dog, you can head on over to Leah's roundup of the Top 5 Most Important Internet Dogs. However, if you're on the correct side of this internet smackdown, check out this list of the 5 Most Important Internet Cats:
While not even on Mashable's radar as a Top Internet Cat, as far as THIS expert is concerned, Maru is #1. Maru - known for his proclivity towards boxes - was a pioneering Internet Cat Celebrity (and like all cool things, hails from Japan). Additionally, while internet cat fame can be fleeting, Maru has remained relevant since 2009.
2. Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat (actual name: Tardar Sauce) is the undeniable Queen of Social Media with over 3.3 million Facebook Likes. Grumpy Cat (who even has a manager) has Justin Bieber levels of Klout, though she's much less of an a-hole. In reality, Grumpy Cat is said to be "calm and actually really nice". Her permanent grumpy face is merely a facade - the result of feline dwarfism and an under bite.
3. Lil BUB
As Tyra Banks says, "Beauty is Imperfection". Lil BUB is a "perma-kitten," a dwarf and a polydactyl cat. She also suffers from osteopetrosis (yes, that's a thing), but none of this has held her back in life. While Bub hasn't quite yet achieved the cachet of Grumpy Cat, if internet cats were stocks, Lil BUB is a BUY. She had an especially hot 2013, including a documentary premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
4. Nyan Cat
Nyan Cat is not a real cat, but a YouTube video of a cartoon cat with a Pop Tart body, scored with an infectious Japanese pop song as he leaves behind him a space trail of rainbow (Translation: unadulturated joy). Currently, the original Nyan Cat video (and there are numerous remixes) has over 105 Million views on YouTube, which is damn impressive.
Sockington (also known as Sockamillion), like Maru, gets instant cred for being an old-school internet cat, as he has been active on Twitter since 2007. Sockington is an 8 year old domestic shorthair who looks...pretty average. Perhaps this is why his fame doesn't lay on the image-centric Instagram or YouTube, but on Twitter. Sockington RULES Twitter, with over 1.3 million followers. According to MSNBC, Sockington's tweets are mocking Twitter's "online time-wasters", though we think they're pretty purrfect.
Honorable Mention: Keyboard Cat
Keyboard Cat is Fatso, a posthumously famous (he died in 1987) orange tabby cat who appeared in the viral video "Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat". This video features Fatso wearing a blue shirt and "playing" the keyboard (Fatso in reality does not have musical training; it is his owner) and is frequently inserted into videos in order to indicate failure. Keyboard Cat himself is anything but a failure, as the video appeared on The Daily Show/Colbert Report in 2009.
Again, if unmoved by this list of Internet Cats, you can check out its counterpart, The 5 Most Important Dogs on the Internet (and One Honorable Mention), though Grumpy Cat does not advise it.
Rachel Levy manages various content and products for SideReel.com. The fiercely real cat-love of her life, Allie, lives happily in South Florida with her parents. Though Allie decided that the Internet Cat Fame Game was not for her, you can follow Rachel on Twitter.