15 Facts About Grumpy Cat
This morning, it was announced on Twitter that Grumpy Cat, the internet-famous feline who launched thousands of memes, passed away earlier this week at the age of 7.
Back in October 2013, the famously frowny kitty came to New York City to attend The Friskies—an awards show that crowns the best cat videos of the year—and to pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award, even though she had not yet celebrated her second birthday.
"In her short year and a half, she’s accomplished so much," Shawn Brain, then-brand manager of Friskies, the cat food brand that created the show, said. "So she seemed like the ideal candidate for the award."
Mental Floss had the chance to sit down with Grumpy Cat and her humans—Tabatha Bundesen, her brother Bryan, and her daughter Crystal—at that event to find out all we could about this seriously cranky (and seriously cute) kitty, who will be dearly missed.
- Grumpy was born on April 4, 2012, at the Bundesens' home in Morristown, Arizona. Her mother is a calico, but Tabatha said they weren't 100 percent sure who Grumpy's dad was.
- Grumpy's unique look comes from feline dwarfism and an underbite. She became an internet sensation when Bryan posted a photo of her on Reddit in September 2012.
- Grumpy has a brother named Pokey. "He’s black and white, but he does have dwarfism, so he’s super short and cute too," Tabatha said. "His face isn’t as frowny as hers, but he does have an underbite."
- Grumpy's not actually that grumpy—in fact, she's pretty lovable! Most of the time, Grumpy is very calm, but she can also be playful (she particularly likes to hide behind curtains). "She’s super frisky, especially between 3 and 6 a.m.—when you’re trying to get your deepest sleep, she’s wanting to play," Tabatha said. "Pokey actually has more of a grumpy personality."
- Crystal came up with Grumpy Cat's real name—Tardar Sauce—which was inspired by two things: Grumpy's original orangeish coloring ("She thought Grumpy looked like Tartar sauce," Tabatha said) and the fact that, at the time, Tabatha was waitressing at Red Lobster and had just made Crystal try the stuff. "She was like, 'Ew, no!' and I said 'Honey, you have to try it! It goes with fish!' So it was fresh in her mind when the kitten was born."
- Even though it's not her given name, Grumpy Cat will also answer to Grumpy. In fact, "it's pretty much Grumpy all the time now," Tabatha said.
- Her favorite Friskies food is Savory Shreds. "I think it's the gravy," Tabatha said. "She really loves it." Non-Friskies? Tuna and Starbucks coffee cake.
- Critics have questioned whether Grumpy should be traveling so much, but Grumpy actually loves it. "I don’t feel like she’s being abused or exploited by traveling," Tabatha said. "I feel like she gets excited—she knows! When I get her carrier out, she’ll come and climb in it. I think she’s kind of liking it."
- Other Grumpy myths the Bundesens would like to dispel: That Grumpy's in front of the camera all the time (they shoot one week's worth of daily grumps in one sitting) and that Grumpy has been sedated at book signings and other appearances. "She never has been and never will be," Bryan says. "She's really active at night, and sleeps during the day—she always has," which is why she seems sleepy at events.
- In fact, stipulations that ensure Grumpy's well-being are written into every agreement and contract. "Her health and safety is the most important thing to us," Bryan says. There aren't any diva-esque demands on Grumpy's rider, either: All she needs, Tabatha said, are "bottles of water and a cool place to sit!"
- Grumpy's favorite things to play with? Bags and string.
- Grumpy will be dressing up for Halloween—but no costume has been decided on yet. "There’s a few that we’ve tried on," Tabatha said. "You can take her into PetSmart and put them on her, so we’ve had a little too much fun doing it. Most important is finding one that is comfortable for her—I don’t want to put her in one that will make it hard to walk—and stylish."
- In 2013, Grumpy Cat "wrote" a book—Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book—and it made the New York Times Best Sellers list.
- In 2014, Grumpy Cat starred in a holiday movie for Lifetime, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever. Grumpy was voiced by Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza.
- Grumpy Cat has totally changed her owners' lives. "I’ve been waitressing for 10 years, barely making ends meet," Tabatha said. "Now I get to travel with the cat, and I’m homeschooling Crystal, so we get to spend more time together. I hardly ever saw my brother before all this happened, maybe once or twice in 10 years, and now I get to see him every couple months at least. It's a huge positive change. Plus, there's the joy that Grumpy Cat is spreading—or grumpiness. But really, everybody’s smiling."
This story has been updated for 2019.