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Nyan Cat: too awesome to fade away

Here's why Nyan Cat, the absurdist singing feline Pop Tart, is proving to be a lasting meme.


Fruzsina Eördögh


Posted on Jul 13, 2011   Updated on Aug 14, 2020, 2:42 pm CDT

Only on the Internet can an animation of a cat stuffed in a Pop Tart, flying through space, and leaving a rainbow trail while singing “nyan nyan nyan” become a video sensation with over 24 million views.

Some Internet memes have a shelf life of weeks, but not Nyan Cat, which has received the ultimate remix honor: a smooth jazz version.

Since April, Nyan Cat has seen many remixes, spoofs, and even real life parodies. In Provincetown, Mass., a poster featuring Nyan Cat advertised a Bear Week event called “I Can Has Dance Party”—showing Nyan Cat has invaded even specific gay subcultures.

It’s safe to say that Nyan Cat has shifted from flash in the YouTube pan to a true generative meme—a class of viral media whose endless annoying sounds and repetitive GIF-like animation bore into your skull and turn endearing (think Badgers).

So just like Muzak takes pop hits and makes them even more lullingly soporific, so it goes with the latest version of Nyan Cat.

The smooth jazz cover of Nyan Cat is slower-paced, less colorful, featuring instrumental accompaniment instead of the original techno dribble, and with the cat itself wearing what appear to be hipster-like sunglasses.

Created in part by Lucas Heil, who describes himself on his website as the “key writer/performer/cameraman/director/editor in everything you see at,” Heil writes on his site the intention of the smooth jazz Nyan Cat is to “mellow out a little.”

Fine words of advice from Heil; if there’s anything the Internet needs to do more of, it’s to “mellow out a little”. Hopefully the smooth jazz Nyan Cat starts its own trend.

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*First Published: Jul 13, 2011, 11:13 am CDT