Stories of unusual animal friendships play well on the internet. Everyone loves to see an ostrich befriend a giraffe or a corgi sneaking rides on a pony. So it’s understandable that people wanted to believe that a viral photo of a black cat sitting on a Canadian goose in the water was real. You’ve probably seen the photo, which made the rounds on Tumblr and Twitter over the last month.
The Daily Dot tracked down the owner of the photo, and we asked him the story behind it. We… regret to inform everyone that the photo is edited. The black cat and the Canadian goose did not become friends one warm summer evening and strike up a plan for water transportation.
— Green Pepper (@r2d2c3poacco) June 12, 2018
For no particular reason, a picture of a cat riding a goose. pic.twitter.com/XpRFi2KPLh
— 𝔾𝕒𝕪𝕖𝕣 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕟 𝕋𝕙𝕠𝕦 🏳️🌈🧚🏻💉💉 (@Gayer_Than_Thou) July 8, 2018
i need to know the story behind this pic.twitter.com/AXKBSEhV4x
— Natalya Lobanova (@NatalyaLobanova) July 22, 2018
Scott Wong, a photographer who posted the photo to his Flickr account on May 5 with the caption “I’m told cats don’t like getting wet,” said that he “combined two photos to create the scene.”
However, he said calling this now-viral image “fake” is “misleading.”
“If I sharpen or adjust the color vibrancy of a photo is it then called a fake?” he wrote in a message. “I call it a work of art. I have over 40 thousand pictures posted on the internet and every one has had some adjustments made… some more than others.
“I saw that cat riding a goose in my mind and created that picture,” he concluded.
If you look closely, it’s easy to see that the image is edited. As many people pointed out on Twitter, the cat is missing a shadow. And then there’s the problem of a goose being able to support the weight of a cat on its back without sinking. But the photo is whimsical, funny, and emblematic of the kind of content that we need to break up our social feeds full of increasingly depressing news. All hail the cat riding a goose. May their imagined friendship last a long, long time.