Pusheen! Of all the Internet cats who have tickled funny bones around the world, few have also managed to snuggle their way into so many hearts as Pusheen. With a zest for adventure, the capricious cartoon character is an adorably naughty house cat who loves lounging, eating, blogging and getting into mischief every chance she gets. The chubby gray tabby has captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide through her humorous comics and bubbly GIFs that regularly pop up on Tumblr and Facebook.
Pusheen’s Origin Story
Despite amassing millions of fans with her witty personality, gluttonous pursuits and lackadaisical lifestyle, few people truly know Pusheen’s backstory.
The portly pet instantly captured the hearts of cat lovers around the world in May 2010 when she debuted in a comic strip on the website Everyday-Cute.com. Created by Claire Belton, who got her start as a freelance illustrator for clients like PlayStation Magazine, Tokyopop and Amaranth Games, the cartoon kitty’s simple shape sports a Japanese artistic flair. The Daily Dot once described the sweet and sassy feline as “a mix of Hello Kitty’s cuteness and Felix the Cat’s adventurous spirit.”
The original static comics, which are now only available on Archive.org, chronicled the lives of Belton, her husband Andrew Duff, Pusheen and their yellow dog Carmen in a diary-style format. The real tubby tabby, who was also named Pusheen, was Belton’s childhood pet. She was adopted as a kitten from an animal shelter in 1997 and continued to live with Belton’s family and three other cats — Wommy, Beebs and Socks.
The cartoons rapidly gathered a cult following on Tumblr, but the enchanting kitty immediately emerged as the breakout star in the quirky cast of characters. Less than a year later, in February 2011, Pusheen appeared solo in a webcomic about the games she likes to play. The spin-off, called “Pusheen Things,” also featured the first three animated GIFs. Within just a few weeks, more than 10,000 fans were following the lovable character on Tumblr as she blogged about her life and dreams.
Pusheen’s big break came in April 2013 when she was selected as Facebook’s pioneer for private messaging stickers. Users quickly adopted the clever emoticons as pithy ways to accept a compliment, trade an insult or express a mood. With more than 10 million stickers shared each day, BuzzFeed’s Definitive Ranking of Every Facebook Sticker Pack declared Pusheen “one of the most needed downloads on your Facebook messenger.”
While Pusheen is often depicted alone, happily bopping around in animated loops, her mom, dad and younger sister, Stormy, occasionally join the fun. As of August 2016, the pleasantly plump puss has collected more than 9.3 million Likes on her Facebook page, 314,000 Instagram fans and 112,705 Twitter followers who tune in for exclusive contest opportunities, new merchandise alerts, endearing videos and chuckle-worthy cartoons.
10 Essential Facts About Pusheen
Breed: Domestic shorthair
Coat: Gray with darker gray stripes on back and tail
Birthday: February 18
Origin of Name: Variation on “puisin,” the Irish Gaelic word for kitten
Favorite Things: Music, food, friends, family, sleep and Internet
Home: Lives in the U.S. and spends most of her time lounging on a cozy purple couch but declares in one comic, “Home is where my butt is.”
Happy Place: The refrigerator
Favorite Animal: Unicorn
Popular Pusheen Comics: Reasons I Love Fall, Olympic Gold Medalist in Tumblring and How to Catch Santa
Not Your Typical Tabby
During the past six years, Pusheen has entertained audiences with silly antics as she dances Gangnam style, shreds her own lace curtains, travels to Mars, carelessly kicks kitty litter across the floor and lazes her days away watching Catflix. We’ve chuckled at her whimsical imagination for playing dress-up as she dons too-cute costumes depicting Lady Pawpaw, T-Rex, Catniss, R2-D2 and the rainbow-tailed Nyan Cat.
Perhaps the only thing that outweighs Pusheen’s love for lounging is her voracious appetite. She’ll scarf down everything in sight as long as it isn’t kitty kibble. While her favorite foods are pizza, pie and cookie dough, she is often caught slurping ice cream on a hot day, sucking spaghetti noodles or whipping up a batch of biscuits.
Never one to pass on a celebration, you can always count on Pusheen to inject some humor into the holiday festivities whether she pops up to carve a pumpkin, shred the Christmas wrapping paper or spend a day fishing with Dad. However, while Pusheen possesses many human-like qualities, she is also content to be just a cat, happily chasing a ball of yarn or playing with her “toe beans.”
The Pusheen Phenomenon
The animated cartoon cat has become an online cult phenomenon thanks to the adorable memes, humor-filled GIFs and expressive emoticons that regularly pop up in our Tumblr feeds and Facebook messages. In many ways, Pusheen defines the social networking generation. As Catster explains, these fuzzy personalities bring a sense of joy into our daily lives and allow us to commiserate and rejoice over the quirks of our beloved felines.
From August 2015 to January 2016, the New York City Museum of the Moving Image featured the tubby tabby in its six-month exhibition on “How Cats Took Over the Internet.” Rather than being just a seemingly frivolous phenomenon, the museum noted that cat videos and memes have “transfixed a generation of web users” because of the “aesthetics of cuteness, the Bored at Work Network and the rise of user-generated content.” The humorous comics have even inspired numerous real-life spoofs of look-alike cats on Pinterest, Facebook and other social sharing sites. Jackie attracted widespread attention when her owner released a series of photos depicting the oversized striped gray cat sitting next to weights, eating fast food and blogging on a laptop just like Pusheen.
However, the cute comics aren’t just all fun all the time. Leveraging her enormous influence, Pusheen embarked on a mission in 2014 to spread awareness about global hunger. Partnering with the United Nations World Food Program, a free expansion pack of animated Facebook stickers featured Pusheen buried in a bowl of salad, savoring a steaming cup of coffee and smelling freshly baked bread stamped with the WFP (World Food Program) label. Not content to simply draw attention to the socioeconomic problem of malnourishment, the humanitarian cat announced in a blog post that she plans to donate 36,000 meals to children around the globe.
The Merchandising Empire
As early as July 2010, Pusheen aficionados have been collecting metal charms and T-shirts featuring the most popular images from the comics. The merchandising empire has gradually expanded to include an array of licensed gear, ranging from traditional backpacks, notepads and mugs to kooky slippers, sleep masks and pencil cases. The snuggly kitty also comes in a variety of plush animals, including a unicorn and mermaid costume, miniature backpack clips and coin purses. Officially licensed merchandise is available through nearly 20 companies, including the online boutique Hey Chickadee, Hot Topic, Gund, Boomf and H&M.
In 2013, Belton released the first printed compilation of the kitty comics, “I Am Pusheen the Cat.” The 192-page book features classic favorites and dozens of new cartoons. For the DIY crowd, Pinterest is brimming with cute and cuddly Pusheen-inspired ideas, ranging from fanciful nail art and oversized piñatas to cuddly pillows and clever birthday cakes. You’ll find tutorials on how to make a Pusheen sock plushie, donut cakes, Halloween costumes, hair bows and more.
Playing With Pusheen
Fans have several opportunities to interact with the wacky cat. Webpaws hosts an online dress-up game that lets players pull out dozens of costumes from a toy box and under the couch to decorate the cartoon cat in bunny ears or angel wings, a tiger mask or saddle, a mustache or red boots. Since launching in September 2013, the game has been played more than 6,000 times.
Live wallpapers featuring the loveable cat are also available in the Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets. You are able to paint the animated background, create floating cat characters amid the clouds and rainbows or add love quotes and happy messages to make your day a bit brighter.
Follow the Antics of Pusheen
Official Website: www.Pusheen.com
The Best Quotes About Pusheen
“Pusheen is easily the most charming of all Internet cats!” – Anthony Clark, Nedroid.com
“Pusheen is a little bouncy marshmallow of a cat who perfectly combines absolute cuteness and absolute trouble, which is, as all cat lovers know, why we love them.” – Jess Fink, author of “We Can Fix It”
“Everyone needs a little Pusheen in their lives!” – Dorky Girl, Amazon Reviewer
“Cats are awesome, but Pusheen is Super Awesome.” – Archie McPhee’s Geyser of Awesome
“My cat seems to have read Pusheen’s book and taken this advice to heart.” – Kelly, OhtheBooks.com
“Pusheen is more than just an illustration. Pusheen is my spirit animal.” – Samantha Chiu, Pusheen fan