This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
In an angry, confused time, we need an angry, confused hero. Someone brave enough to rise to the table. Someone who isn’t afraid to stare down hate. Someone who will never swallow vegetable propaganda. Friends, that someone is a chonky Canadian cat named Smudge, and his army is already more than 640,000 Instagram followers strong.
The six-year-old rescue lives in Ottawa with his owner Miranda Stillabower, 24, and three siblings: fellow cats Valiant and Pippin, and a puppy named Aria. He first won hearts on Tumblr in 2018 when Stillabower shared a photo of Smudge completely unimpressed by a plate of veggies at the dinner table. Her caption “he no like vegetals” became Smudge’s calling card, bringing in more than 120,000 likes and reblogs to date, but that’s just the beginning.
As Know Your Meme chronicles, Smudge and his unlikely other half, a photo of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong angrily pointing through tears, were both formidable reaction images on their own. Come 2019, something beautiful happened: the internet brought them together. With the cosmic force of a Dragon Ball fusion dance, Smudge became one with a higher power, beloved and shared by even John Cena.
Smudge has been turned into paintings, manga, cosplay, and much more. While his ultimate meme form has many names (table cat, confused cat, yelling cat, he-no-like-vegetables cat…), it was time to get to know the one and only Smudge himself. Stillabower gladly told us about his rise to internet fame over email.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
VICE: Tell us everything about the table photo. How did it happen? Hopefully nobody was actually yelling at your cat.
Miranda Stillabower: Smudge has his own seat at the dinner table. If he doesn't get a chair he will hop onto someone else's before they sit down, or he will meow at everyone throughout dinner. In the photo he was sitting in someone’s seat which is why he had salad in front of him. I guess he really didn't like what he saw!
Does Smudge usually make *that* face?
I don't think he had ever or will ever make that face again. He has many different faces that you can definitely see on his Instagram page @smudge_lord.
Smudge seems like a very particular cat. What are on his LIKE and NO LIKE lists (besides vegetals)?
Smudge is VERY picky; he always begs for food when he sees someone eating, but when offered the food he doesn't usually take it. Unless it's chicken, he loves chicken! His other two favorite foods are any fish of course, and turkey. He gets turkey for dinner every night and he goes crazy for it!
How did you get Smudge and come up with his name?
Smudge's adoption story is a bit weird. I saw an ad on Facebook for a free kitten. I messaged him, and me and my mom went to meet him and pick him up. When we got there someone pulled up in an old rusty truck, and Smudge was in the back inside of an old cage.
He was definitely not a kitten either! He was a full-grown cat. At the time, I was only looking for a kitten, but I didn't want to leave him in that situation. So I took him out of the cage and he hid in my arms the whole way home. It didn't take me long to fall in love with him, so Smudge stayed!
He got the name Smudge because at the time he had a big patch of grey on the top of his head. Pretty much as soon as we named him, the patch disappeared, and he is now a fully white cat with an ironic name.
When did you first notice his popularity on Tumblr ballooning into the Woman Yelling at Cat meme?
The picture had been up on Tumblr for a while before it caught on. I was out one day and my phone just started going off with so many notifications that I had to switch them off.
Did you watch Real Housewives before (or after) the show was combined with Smudge?
I have never watched the show before, but it would be hilarious if Taylor Armstrong acknowledged the meme!
How has Smudge's life changed since he became famous?
His life has definitely changed since he became famous. He's buying himself a super awesome new cat tree with his earnings. And he has to deal with me taking pictures of him every day. He has no idea what he's in for with Halloween coming up!
Halloween Smudge! What he's dressing up as? Any hints?
I work at a pet store, so I will be bringing a bunch of little hats and stuff home for some fun pictures! I was also thinking about dressing him up as vegetables at some point!
Is he any better at eating his vegetables?
Smudge will never get any better with eating his veggies!
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