Now you might think our fascination and general obsession with cats first came about with rise of the internet and a certain LOLcats meme, but you’d be more than a little mistaken.
The original creator of the cat meme and those funny kitty photos which we all love, was in fact an American photographer called Harry Whittier Frees (1879–1953). He was dressing up & photographing his two felines (Rags & Fluff) long before the rise of animated GIFs and Tumblr streams.
His mother was the creator of all the tiny outfits, aprons, pyjamas and jackets that the pair wore, whilst Harry was the individual patiently waiting behind the lens (exactly like Ren Netherland) ready to capture the perfect moment. But what was that magic moment of inspiration that compelled both her and his mother to create these hilarious scenes?
Apparently his fascination with dressing up animals started back in 1906 at a birthday party. During the course of the celebrations a paper hat randomly ended up on the pet cat’s head – causing outbursts of laughing and merriment. From there he knew the formula and the rest as they say his history.
During his lifetime, his animal photographs became wildly popular (some things never change!), so much so that they appeared on book covers, calendars and even post cards. Occasionally he even included a story with each photo which was then published in popular magazines around the world. Today our love of cats in silly hats and all the millions of kitty memes are still going strong, but it was Harry Whittier Frees who started the fur ball rolling.