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Thumbs up to the thumbs up crying cat meme

we’re all just doing our best :’)


Anna Good


Thumbs Up Crying Cat depicts a cat with tears in its eyes doing a thumbs up and is used as a reaction meme depicting resigned acceptance.

Origin of the Thumbs Up Crying Cat meme

People on the internet love their cat memes, and this one is no different. According to Know Your Meme, this sad-faced kitty cat has been making his way around the internet since August 16th, 2017, when a Discord user posted its first iteration, sans the sad eyes, in the JabGood server and named it “JabGood.”

Thumbs Up Crying Cat origins: screenshot of Discord server JabGood featuring first documented use of the meme by user Lord Ralph
Lord Ralph/Discord

Later that year, the emote resurfaced with the sad kitty eyes of Crying Cat added to it and it blew up in popularity on both Reddit and Twitter (now known as X) in June of 2019 when Redditor u/IAMAdumbgirl added the beloved image to the r/sadcats subreddit.

original thumbs up crying cat meme
Lord Ralph/Discord

Spread of the Thumbs Up Cat

The meme surged ever further in popularity in April 2020 in its final form as a reaction image @SaoryEmanoelle posted in response to a @RespectfulMemes post on then-Twitter, as social distancing set in during the pandemic, where they posted a meme about “thinking about you” and @SaoryEmanoelle’s response with the Cat Thumbs Up meme read, “They not thinking about us though lmao.”

It went on from there to be used on Reddit, where it was posted to the r/EDanonymemes subreddit by Redditor u/edmemesthrowawaybby on June 22nd, 2020, captioned with the observation, “When you’re chilling with your BF and he asks if you’re good but all you can think about is how fat your thighs look when you cuddle.”

Another example of the Thumbs Up Cat’s use was in that same year, when u/mijuzz7 posted it on the r/dankmemes subreddit with black text on a white background added to the top of the image, reading, “Random player on my team: ‘F-ck off, noob. You’re trash.’ / Me, who just bought the game and is trying my best:”

Taking a look at Google Trends reveals that searches for the Thumbs Up Crying Cat meme hit their peak in August and September 2020 and other than the natural drop over the months after that, have steadily been increasing as this meme is here to stay and reveal our innermost feelings.

Google Trends screenshot depicting popularity of the
Google Trends

But what does the Crying Cat Thumbs Up meme mean, exactly?

As a reaction meme, the best way to describe it is the feeling of smiling through the pain and not trying to show your emotions on the outside…like when your boss asks you to take on yet another task and adds it to the already-teetering pile.

You just grit your teeth and give them a thumbs-up, but internally, you just want to be like this sad, crying cat. Or when you’re the maid of honor for your best friend’s wedding and she reveals she’s picked the most hideous bridesmaid’s dress for you to wear and you just have to smile and nod to not hurt her feelings.

Thumbs up crying cat meme with a text overlay that reads, 'When the teacher uses your project as an example of what not to do.'

Meme examples

Thumbs up crying cat meme with text above it that reads, 'People in 2020: 'Bats are the worst! They ruined our lives!' Bats who eat mosquitoes and just want to be left alone:'
Thumbs up crying cat meme with text above it that reads, 'when tobey macguire and andrew garfield aren't in the No Way Home trailer.'
Crying cat thumbs up meme with the added text, 'Alphonso: I'll show my new boss how good I am and that I am worth signing for. JAke: *gets angry at Alphonso for playing good* Alphonso:'
Thumbs up crying cat meme with text above it that reads, 'From this point on i will be starting my 'ethan for bachelor' campaign.'
Crying cat thumbs up meme with the added text, 'My dad: f-cking road workers! Always slowing down traffic! Roadworkers who are just trying to fix potholes everyone is complaining about:'

More reaction memes:

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