Who is the furry friend in the 'Woman Yelling at a Cat' meme, and why is she yelling at him?

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Who is the furry friend in the ‘Woman Yelling at a Cat’ meme, and why is she yelling at him?

The staying power of the 'Woman Yelling at a Cat' meme lies in its universal appeal.


Kahron Spearman


Posted on Dec 5, 2023

In late 2019, an unexpected duo captured the heart of the internet: Taylor Armstrong, a reality TV star, and Smudge, a perplexed-looking white cat. The meme of the the woman and the white cat, known as “Woman Yelling at a Cat,” features a split-screen of Armstrong in a heated moment from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Smudge, sitting nonchalantly in front of a plate of vegetables. When it was created, the meme’s ubiquitous presence across social media platforms marked it as one of the most recognizable memes of the year.

Origin of the ‘Woman Yelling at a Cat’ meme

Taylor Armstrong’s emotional moment

The first panel of the meme comes from a 2011 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, during which a highly emotional Armstrong is being consoled by cast member Kyle Richards. The moment, which captures Armstrong’s raw emotion, struck a chord with viewers and became a standalone reaction image among many online communities.

Smudge’s debut

The second panel of the meme shows the white cat Smudge with a bewildered expression. The image of Smudge was also already popular among meme users after it first appeared in a 2018 Tumblr post by deadbefordeath, who humorously captioned the image of the cat, “he no like vegetals.” Cat meme enthusiasts immediately picked up on the image and circulated it on multiple social media platforms.

The meme took the form we know today when X (formerly Twitter) user @MISSINGEGIRL brought Armstrong and the white cat together in May 2019. The absurd combination of the two unrelated images quickly went viral, inspiring numerous adaptations and variations. This object-labeling meme format became a staple for conveying comedic contrasts, misunderstandings, and ironic situations.

With the meme’s rise to fame, Smudge’s Instagram, @smudge_lord, gained substantial attention. The account offered a glimpse into the life of the iconic white cat, further cementing his status in meme culture and as a beloved internet celebrity. Smudge’s look of perpetual confusion and disdain for vegetables endeared him to millions.

Armstrong’s reaction and engagement

For Armstrong, the meme’s popularity was unexpected. In conversations with media outlets like OprahMag.com, she expressed amusement and surprise at that specific moment becoming a meme sensation. The reality star’s good-natured engagement with the meme, responding to fans and acknowledging her part in its creation, is an example of the interconnectedness of meme culture and real-life personalities.

Cultural impact

The “Woman Yelling at a White Cat” meme stands out for adaptability. It’s been employed to comment on various scenarios, from light-hearted domestic squabbles to more serious societal debates. Its simplicity and relatability continue to make it relevant, and it often appears in different online contexts.

The staying power of the “Woman Yelling at a Cat” meme lies in its universal appeal. It combines human emotion with the internet’s love for cats, creating a format that resonates across diverse audiences.

As memes continue to evolve and shape online culture, the story of Taylor Armstrong and the white cat, Smudge, serves as a testament to the creativity of meme creators. Along with bringing laughter and joy to many, it highlights the serendipitous nature of how two unrelated things can come together to create something unexpectedly iconic in the vast world of internet memes.

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*First Published: Dec 5, 2023, 12:31 pm CST