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Home > Cats > 13 Most Famous Cats, Historically and Up to 2024 (With Pictures)

13 Most Famous Cats, Historically and Up to 2024 (With Pictures)

person crowning a Norwegian cat

The Internet is a treasure trove for cat lovers. Whether you want to look at cute cat pictures or watch hilarious videos of cats getting into trouble, there certainly is no shortage of kitty content online.

The Internet has made it easy for animals to become famous, garnering millions of followers and even out-earning their owners. But even before the invention of the Internet, way before the first animal meme went viral, stories of cats’ heroism and inspiration made waves throughout the world.

Chances are you’ve heard of some of the famous cats we’re going to review below, but we’re willing to bet there are one or two you haven’t heard of. Keep reading to find our list of the 13 most famous cats from yesterday and today.



The 13 Most Famous Cats

1. Tardar Sauce

Tardar Sauce is perhaps one of the most recognizable famous cats of modern times. You might know her better as Grumpy Cat. Born in 2012, Tardar Sauce had a permanent grumpy expression thanks to feline dwarfism and her prominent underbite.

Tardar Sauce rose to fame as a kitten when her photograph was posted on Reddit by the brother of her owner. She became an Internet meme, and her face became synonymous with negativity and cynicism.

Tardar Sauce was a cash cow for her human parents. Her face adorned t-shirts, mugs, stuffed plush animals, books, calendars, coffee, and even video games. Though her earnings are not public, some websites report that Tardar Sauce made nearly $100 million in two years.

2. Ta-Miu, pet of Crown Prince Thutmose

Ta miut cat
Ta miut cat (Image Credit: Merytat3n, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.00)

Ta-Miu was the Egyptian prince Thutmose’s companion cat. Thutmose lived during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, which spanned the period of 1550 to 1292 BC. He served as a priest, but one of the most memorable things about Prince Thutmose was Ta-Miu.

After her death, Ta-Miu was mummified and buried in a decorated sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is now on display in the Cairo Museum and symbolizes not only Thutmose’s love of his pet but the Ancient Egyptians’ reverence for cats.

3. Mačak

y was the childhood cat of Nikola Tesla and may be partly to thank for Tesla’s achievements and scientific discoveries. In a 1939 letter, Tesla wrote about petting Mačak’s back at night and seeing the “shower of sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house” as his hands ran through the cat’s fur. When neither of his parents had an answer for this strange phenomenon, Tesla’s childhood imagination ran off with possibilities of what could be causing the “sheets of light” that he and his cat were producing.

Mačak may not be responsible for developing modern electricity, but he was certainly an inspiration for Nikola Tesla to invent the modern electrical supply current.

4. Oscar

Oscar, more affectionately known as Unsinkable Sam, was a cat that somehow managed to survive three shipwrecks during World War II. Oscar served with the German Kriegsmarine as well as the British Royal Navy and was kept on board to keep the rodent population on the warships under control.

In May of 1941, Oscar and his crewmates set sail on a ship named Bismarck. Just 11 days after leaving the dock, a sea battle sank the Bismarck, and only 115 of its 2,100 crew members survived. Oscar was one of them. In October of that year, Oscar was on board his new ship Cossack when it became damaged by a torpedo. Just one month later, Oscar’s newest ship, the Ark Royal, too, was damaged by a torpedo.

The sinking of the Ark Royal was the end of Unsinkable Sam’s navy career. He went on to work in the office buildings of the Governor of Gibraltar.

5. Morris

Morris was once one of the most instantly recognizable cats. He served as the advertising mascot for the 9Lives cat food brand. His image was on the brand’s food packaging, and he even appeared in television commercials.

Morris was a large orange tabby tomcat, and his character was said to be the world’s most finicky cat. His schtick was that he could only eat 9Lives brand cat food.

The original Morris the Cat was found in a Chicago animal shelter. He acted as the brand’s mascot between 1968 to 1978 when he sadly passed away. His predecessor began appearing in commercials the following year. In 1988, the company even orchestrated a mock presidential campaign for Morris.

To this day, there is still a large orange tabby playing the role of Morris for all of 9Lives commercials.

6. Scarlett

Scarlett the Fire saviour
Image Credit: Scarlett The Hero Cat. All rights reserved to the copyright owners

Scarlett was a former stray cat who made headlines around the world in 1996 when she attempted to save her litter of kittens from a fire.

Scarlett and her kittens lived in an abandoned garage in Brooklyn at the time of the fire. When the fire department arrived at the scene of the fire, they quickly extinguished it. After it was under control, the firefighters noticed Scarlett carrying her kittens away from the burned-down garage one by one.

Scarlett had been severely burned while saving her kittens with her eyes blistering shut and her ears and paws burned. Much of her facial hair had been burned off and her coat was extremely singed. Scarlett couldn’t see due to the blisters on her eyes, but after rescuing her babies, she touched each with her nose as if to do a headcount to ensure they were all there.

Scarlett and most of her litter survived, though she lost one baby to a virus the month after the fire.

7. Little Nicky

Video Credit: dailymail. All rights reserved to the copyright owners

Little Nicky, though not the first cat to be cloned, is the first commercially produced feline clone. The DNA of a 17-year-old Maine Coon named Nicky was used to produce the clone. Genetics Saving & Clone, a California-based pet gene banking and cloning service, performed the cloning process, which was quite controversial amongst animal welfare groups.

The owner reports that Little Nicky shared many of the same characteristics as Nicky, including both his personality and appearance. The owner of Little Nicky reportedly paid $50,000 to have Nicky cloned.

8. Ted Nude-Gent

You may not know Ted Nude-Gent by his real name, but you’ve likely heard of the character he played in the 90s and 00s Austin Powers movies. Mr. Bigglesworth, Ted Nude-Gent’s character, was Dr. Evil’s hairless sidekick.

Ted Nude-Gent was a champion purebred hairless Sphynx. He was highly trainable and very sociable. In fact, the filming of all three of the Austin Powers movies had to be delayed several times due to Ted’s affinity for Mike Myers’ lap.

9. All Ball

All Ball is one of the first kittens that Koko the gorilla raised from kittenhood. Koko was a female western lowland gorilla who won the hearts of people around the world when she learned sign language. Koko told her handlers in 1983 that she would like a cat for Christmas. After they attempted to give her a lifelike stuffed animal, Koko signed “sad” to let her handlers know she was not pleased with this fake pet.

For her birthday the next year, Koko was finally able to choose a kitty of her own from a litter of abandoned kittens. She chose a gray male Manx and named him All Ball. Koko nurtured the kitten and even went as far as trying to nurse it.

All Ball escaped from her enclosure in 1985 and was struck and killed by a car. When Koko’s handlers told her that her beloved kitten had been killed, Koko apparently signed “bad, sad, bad” which told the world a lot about the emotional capacity and cognitive abilities of gorillas.

10. Tama

Station Master Tama laying down on his bed
Station-Master Tama (Image credit: Takobou, Wikimedia Commons CC 3.0 Unported)

Tama was a female calico that became famous when she saved a rural rail line in Japan.

Tama loved to hang out near Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. She would spend her days by the railway, receiving love and affection from the commuters.

In 2004, the low ridership and financial issues threatened to close down the rail line. By 2006, the line’s 14 stations were unstaffed. Wakayama Electric Railway took over the rail line that same year and found a unique way to make their line much more popular.

In 2007, they made Tama the official Station Master. Her job duties mainly consisted of greeting commuters and looking cute. Many visitors traveled out of their way specifically to see the feline station master. Tama reportedly brought in approximately $9 million to the local economy while simultaneously saving the station.

11. Stubbs

Mayor Stubbs Wikimedia Commons
Mayor Stubbs (Image credit: allen watkin, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)

Stubbs was a cat that was named the honorary mayor of his hometown Talkeetna, Alaska. Stubbs was born in April of 1997 and by July that year had already taken on the title of mayor.

Stubbs came to bear the mayor title thanks to a write-in campaign by voters who weren’t particularly fond of any of the human candidates.

He spent his days traipsing around the small town of Talkeetna, drinking catnip water from wine glasses and “attending meetings” at the General Store (which, coincidentally, was his office).

12. Maru

Maru the Youtube Cat
Image Credit: mugumogu. All rights reserved to the copyright owners

Maru is a male Scottish Straight cat who rose to fame on YouTube. His videos have been viewed nearly 480 million times and he even held a record for the most YouTube views for a single animal. At the time of writing, Maru’s YouTube channel has over 830,000 subscribers.

Maru’s owner began uploading YouTube videos starring Maru in 2008. Their YouTube channel is updated several times per week with videos of the mischievous kitty playing in boxes, going for walks, and just living his best life.

13. Lil Bub

Lil Bub was a famous internet cat that took the world by storm thanks to her unusual appearance. Like Tardar Sauce, Lil Bub was born with feline dwarfism. She also had several genetic mutations that gave her the unique look that the world fell in love with.

Lil Bub helped raise more than $700,000 for various animal charities during her life. Like Tardar Sauce, Lil Bub gained endorsement deals and merchandise lines and even had her own YouTube show.


Final Thoughts

There is no shortage of famous cats throughout history, though the Internet has certainly made it easier for stories of our beloved kitty companions to spread like wildfire. While Tardar Sauce and Lil Bub may be some of the most easily recognizable famous felines in modern society, there’s something to be said about their lesser-known ancestors that paved the way for them.

We hope you learned something new by reading our blog and that you’ll share the inspiring stories of the pre-Internet cats with the people you love.

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Featured Image Credit: Lalandrew, Shutterstock

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