Note: It’s with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to Grumpy Cat. Thanks bringing us so much joy, Tardar Sauce. We’ll miss you.

Creative Commons License Grumpy Cat by Paul Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

It happened on a sunny Saturday in January. The crowds were ebullient. Anticipation ran high. Celebrity-lust was at a fever pitch. Lines marked on the asphalt indicated a snaking maze for potential autograph hounds to stand in; others, who had ordered tickets in advance for the official greeting and photo session, were in another long line. The rest of us schmucks took over territory as close to the front as we could and waited for the celebrated feline to roll into view.

Grumpy Cat was coming to town.

Who is this Grumpy Cat? She’s the face that launched a million tweets, likes and shares on the interwebz. Her sour expression, direct snubs and deadpan interjections – “No!” – have made this tiny feline into an Internet sensation. Her face is everywhere. On coffee mugs. Pajama pants. T-shirts. You can even order a Grumppuccino in Southern California, they say. She has more than 6 million Facebook fans, a quarter million Twitter followers and has appeared on American Idol, Good Morning America and the MTV Music Awards.

And the bitch doesn’t even talk.

San Francisco-based publisher Chronicle Books recently published GC’s newest book (yes, a cat who doesn’t write or speak has several books out—the first, a New York Times bestseller for 10 weeks. Kill me, struggling writer with a master’s degree, now.) As part of the US tour, the publisher held a contest last fall, inviting community groups, radio stations, and individuals to invite Grumpy Cat to their town, to be crowned #GrumpytownUSA for the day. And little old Berkeley, California, won.

Grumpy Cat and owner Tabatha Bundesen

Owner Tabatha Bundesen emerges from the limo with Grumpy Cat

More specifically, the Berkeley Humane Society won the honors, and used the occasion to hold a ribbon-cutting for its new Mobile Adoption Center (MAC), with local dignitaries like city council members, a state assembly member, county supervisors and a phalanx of motorcycle cops to bring in the limo.

For attendees to the Saturday morning event, the list of activities was abundant: Purchase Grumpy Cat books, enter a grumpy raffle, purchase grumpy refreshments, and ogle the available not-grumpy cats and dogs awaiting adoption. Hold your place in the crowd and hope for a glimpse of the famous pouting puss.

The crowd got anxious, then a little feisty, and when the motorcade pulled up, there were screams and yells and cameras snapping as fast as you’d expect from the paparazzi – er, pup-errazi. Children in Grumpy Cat attire, young women holding stuffies and wearing kitten ears, and a surprising number of Japanese media pressed forward, despite calls from organizers to leave a path.

Grumpy’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen, stepped out of the SUV holding Grumpy, whose real name is Tardar Sauce. The feline star was so tiny (barely five pounds); she is a mixed breed rescue kitty with feline dwarfism, so she’s the size of a less-than-year-old cat.

But what a puss – that face could stop a clock. The cat stayed in her owner’s arms (no cage, no leash), apparently not terrified by the crowds, cameras, loud microphones or police lights. I’m no slouch when it comes to handling cats, but if that were my kitty there, I’d have bloody ribbons for arms and nothing but a tuft of cat hair left in my hands as Ophelia or Presley made tracks.

Grumpy blinked her blue eyes and sneered at the crowd while the dignitaries cut the ribbon with giant scissors, made short speeches praising the Humane Society’s good work, and called blessings down upon the Grumpiest City in America. Immediately afterward, Miss Grumpy was taken into a private area with a guard at the door for the meet-and-greet.

The rest of us could only dream of meeting her Grumpiness. But seeing her pout was almost as good.

 Julia Park Tracey has grumpy kitties but not the Grumpy Cat.


Gallery photos by Julia Park Tracey

Cover photo credit:Creative Commons License Grumpy Cat by Gage Skidmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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