black and white cat

Voidhawk42/imgur

Maxwell the cat is a legend among gamers

Maxwell was truly the cat’s meow.

 

Angela Andaloro

Memes

Maxwell the Cat is a black-and-white tuxedo cat who went viral after a revived Imgur post, which led to him entering the gaming world as player-created content. If it sounds like a wild journey, it is.

One innocuous photo turned an Imgur user’s cat into an icon among gamers and has preserved the cat’s legacy years and years later.

Maxwell the cat origin story

photo of a black and white tuxedo cat laying on a piece of paper that reads 'please do not bend' with the caption 'Cat does not care for the laws of man'
@Voidhawk42/Imgur

In November 2017, Imgur’s @voidhawk42 shared a photo of their black and white tuxedo cat named Jess, comfy and curled up on a piece of paper that reads “please do not bend.” They captioned the photo, “cat does not care for laws of man.”

Since it was shared, the post has amassed over 20,000 views on the platform, but that’s not where Jess’ journey ended.

It’s unclear how or why Jess’ photo was shared on a chonky cat page on Facebook in 2020, but from there, the photo took off. The cat started appearing on other pages across Reddit and Twitter.

At some point in the fall of 2022, Jess’ image was uploaded to Steam Workshop by user шизео кодзима. Simply captioned “dingus,” the internet went on to identify Jess as dingus until October when it appeared as “Maxwell the carryable cat.”

The 3D model allowed players to incorporate Maxwell into different games, where it became a beloved easter egg. Maxwell was even the star of a few mobile games, like Drifting With Maxwell The Cat: The Game.

Wondering why this particular cat? The internet just loves cats. Sometimes, that’s all there is to it.

Spinning cat memes

In November 2022, Twitter’s @blastycats shared a rotating video of Maxwell, which launched the meme into its next stratosphere.

tweet featuring maxwell the cat, a black and white tuxedo cat, that reads, 'acquired C A T. You put the C A T in your K E Y I T E M S pocket.'
@blastycats/X

Quickly, Maxwell (neé Jess) became the star of spinning cat memes, where the video would be set to different songs to make viewers laugh. Throughout 2023, the meme became popular across social media platforms, adding to Maxwell’s lore.

@10HoursMovies/YouTube

What happened to Maxwell the cat?

It wasn’t until Maxwell’s surge in popularity in late 2022-2023 that Jess’ owner, @voidhawk42, realized their cat was at the heart of many memes and gamer moments. Sadly, at that point, Jess passed away.

In early 2020, @voidhawk42 shared an emotional update after taking Jess to the vet. The tuxedo cat wasn’t eating and had an intestinal blockage that required a £1500 surgery. When fans of the meme found the update and noticed there weren’t more, they feared the worst.

In Body Image
Voidhawk42/Imgur

Kotaku reached Jess’ owner in February 2023. They confirmed at that time that Jess’ health situation was worse than the original prognosis.

“She was a lovely girl, but alas what we thought was an intestinal issue at first turned out to be cancer. She passed away shortly afterward. We miss her dearly, but we remember her ‘take no crap’ attitude fondly—when I first met my wife, I knew that impressing her parents mattered much less than impressing Jess!”

@voidhawk42 via Kotaku

Maxwell the cat memes

Maxwell the cat bopping along to a guitar
@sezaki_guitar/X
tweet featuring a video where someone digitally draws maxwell the cat
@lumpytouch/X
Maxwell the cat photoshopped with derp meme with caption 'don't fear the spin'
@spincatonsol/X
Maxwell the Cat on a boat in a minecraft-esque game
@schizodiesel/TikTok
maxwell the cat in a subaru tiktok
@subaruoflasvegas/TikTok
maxwell the cat toy bot
@payalneg/TikTok
TikTok user walks into bathroom to find Maxwell the Cat
@www.elcome2flavor.town/TikTok
maxwell the cat working at a hotel in roblox
@ranimatedhd/TikTok

More cat memes:

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