For the last few months, images of Russian cats with hilariously translated English captions have been trending on Tumblr.
The majority of the initial Russian cats came from a Tumblr run by a user called "Markv" who has created a rolling feed of adorable cats in all sorts of situations.
Way back in 2014, the blog posted all sorts of animals, but switched to a mostly cat-focused stream in 2015.
"We just love cats and try to share them with everyone," Markv told BuzzFeed News.
At the beginning of 2017, Tumblr users found Markv's cat blog and started using Google Translate to translate the captions into English. The result was a bunch of great, and at times very strange, captions.
By May, Tumblr was full of Russian cats. So much so that people weren't even using Google Translate at all anymore – choosing to provide their own (often ridiculously inaccurate) translations.
And then – as often happens on Tumblr – the cats were morphed and moved forward into a meme.
And there are also memes on Twitter about the cat memes.
Tumblr users even had entire theories as to why Russian cat memes were trending so much. Here, one attributes it to the "longer period of tension before the punchline."
And the meme spawned an entire Tumblr dedicated to collecting the best of the best, called Cat Translations.
Now Markv is facing a newfound popularity — something he told BuzzFeed News was completely unexpected.
"We didn’t seek popularity and never intentionally tried to get some large number of subscribers or likes," he said.
"We didn’t really spend time on promotion and everything. We just posted some cats, that’s it, and did it almost every day. Our popularity, the sharp growth of it, came all of a sudden — we just noticed that many more people subscribe to us so we began to post more often."
Markv is now at the peak of the meme, uploading new cat photos daily.
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
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