Smudge the cat usually sits at the dinner table with his owners.

But one occasion turned a typical dinner into an origin story.

“He will freak out if he doesn’t have his own chair,” Miranda Stillabower said Monday on CTV News Channel.

One night in 2018, without a seat, Smudge stole one from a salad-eating guest. Claiming his place at the table, he wasn’t impressed with what was on the plate.

In the now-famous image, Smudge -- ears tense and mouth ajar -- appears at once confused, revolted and dejected about the greens in front of him.

“He only eats meat so I would have to say that he’s always hated vegetables,” said Stillabower.

The image was originally posted to Tumblr in 2018, but became an internet sensation when a Twitter user in May combined it with a screenshot from a 2011 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to become the “Woman Yelling at a Cat” meme. Both the images of Taylor Armstrong and Smudge were already widely used as reaction memes online, but together they became one of the most popular jokes on the internet.

The Instagram account for Smudge (@smudge_lord) has gained more than 1.2 million followers in less than six months and his owners launched a merchandise website. They’re selling coffee mugs, T-shirts, sweaters, touques, and baseball caps -- all emblazoned with Smudge’s salad face.

The cat even has some famous friends, including Snoop Dogg, former NFL linebacker Bruce Davis, who was filmed wearing one of the Smudge T-shirts, and wrestler-actor John Cena, who has posted the memes on his Instagram account on multiple occasions.

“At first it was just kind of something funny and now everybody across the world knows who he is. It’s just insane really,” said Stillabower.

While the feline will forever be unaware of his fame, Real Housewives cast member Armstrong addressed the attention she’s received in a series of tweets last month. One user asked how she felt about the image’s circulation considering she was emotional in the Real Housewives scene about issues related to domestic violence. “It’s (OK) to laugh at the images that have been created,” she wrote on Twitter last month. “(That) is my past and I have moved on and am in a really healthy, happy marriage.”

Though it all started with salad, Smudge’s owners have tested his reaction to other food. His distaste is apparently not limited to vegetables. Earlier this month, he made the same face at a plate of nachos.


My favourite spot ��

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