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The 30 Most Important Cats Of 2011

Cats. They are why we do what we do -- why we continue to persevere in the face of a fearful present and an uncertain future. But they are so much more than just the unheralded inspiration for our greatest accomplishments -- for instance, they are also furry and they roll around on the floor a lot. Let's take a look back at the most important ones from this year.

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30: The Saddest Kitten Of All Time

Kitten: "Sadness is not a temporary affliction to be shrugged off and discarded. It is a mode of being; a way of life; a heaviness on the soul that can never be lifted because its weight is the weight of existence itself."

You: "JESUS CHRIST LIGHTEN UP YOU ARE A KITTEN."

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29: Glass-Of-Water Cat

We have all had the experience of wanting something so badly but not being able to fit our furry little noses far enough into it to reach, but never before has that feeling been made so vividly real as in this masterful performance by Glass-Of-Water Cat.

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28: The Chillest Cat Ever

Is relaxing still relaxing if relaxing is your job? The chillest cat ever knows the answer to that particular koan, but she is too relaxed right now to give it to you.

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27: Awkward Family Photo Cat

In the great awkward family that is The United States Of America, this cat is the small but persistent voice of reason that whispers, ever so quietly, "what in the name of fuck are you people doing?"

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26: Cats Trying To Understand A Treadmill

The Russian Romantic writer Mikhail Lermontov once said, "We almost always forgive what we can understand," which just goes to show that the Russian Romantic writer Mikhail Lermontov was writing in a time before treadmills and that he was clearly not a cat.

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25: Cat Scans

In a world full of secrets and lies, the cats of Cat Scans said, for all who dared to listen, "Behold: I am a cat. Look at my underbelly, and how my feet squish into my fur. I have nothing to hide."

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24: Inception Cat

This is the way the world ends - not with a bang, but with a cat who is hugging a cat who is hugging another cat.

23: The Cat Who Played With The Dolphins

To reach across the vast gulf that exists between one's own being and that of another and say not, "This is alien to me; I reject it," but instead "Holy shit, I am going to rub that dolphin's nose with my face!" requires bravery, vision, and wisdom that is rarely seen in a tabby cat.

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22: Little Red Riding Cat

"I have just realized that, run as I might, I will never escape the Big Bad Wolf, because it has been a part of me all along."

-This cat

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21: Fat Cat On A Diet

Be direct, honest, and uncompromising about your heart's desires, for if you do not define them openly they will come, in time, to define you instead. Also, maybe give this cat something to eat?

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20: Underwater Treadmill Cat

If 2011 was something of an underwater treadmill for you, I hope that you have survived it with the same forbearance and grace that this cat has.

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19: The Cat Who Loves His Pet Spider

Love is a process of identification, and the wider the breach between two souls, the greater their love must be in order to gap it. It is therefore axiomatic that of all the many forms of love that take root in this wide world, there is no love more powerful than the love that exists between a cat and his terrifying oversized remote control spider.

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18: OCD Potato Cat

"Before you pass judgement, ask yourselves this: Which one of you would not take arms against the tide of a brutal determinism to keep your essence in its rightful place? Are you truly prepared to abandon yourself to the chaos of a random universe and allow your life's potatoes to be dispersed without a fight?"

-This cat

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17: The Cat Who Sat On The Stairs

It is often said that when you look deep into someone's eyes you can catch a glimpse of their very soul - though this is harder to do when they are a very silly little guy who should not be sitting like that!!

16: Perfect Comedy Timing Cat

"If we cannot learn to laugh at ourselves, then every stolen sardine will be a tragedy."

-Ancient proverb about this video

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15: Dog Masseuse Cat

In a year beset by turmoil and war, Dog-Masseuse Cat implored us to set aside our prejudices and submit ourselves to the healing paws of a peacemaker.

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14: Mother Cat Hugging Kitten

In May, this video was revealed to the world and the world caught its collective breath and said, with one unified voice, "OK, sure! Cute! I will put it on Facebook."

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13: Printer Cat

While the rest of us spent another year studiously avoiding our fear of the infinite, Printer Cat had the courage to stare directly into the encompassing void - and the wisdom to back as quickly as possible away from it when something came out.

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12: Wrestling Kittens

"And Mittens was left alone; and there wrestled a cat with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he mewed pitifully but he did not let go until the dawn cast a flickering light upon the ground, which distracted him and he completely forgot what he was doing because he is just a kitten."

-Old Testament parable about this video

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11: Voldemort Cat

This year Voldemort Cat taught us that just because you are determined to embrace the darkest parts of your twisted soul and transform the world into a vale of fear and misery doesn't mean that you don't need a hug sometimes.

10: NONONONO Cat

If we do not have the courage to stand up against injustice and say, "NONONONONONONONONO," this Cat teaches us, then injustice will win the day and we will be sad and bristly.

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9: Begging Cat

Begging Cat was a much-needed reminder that no matter how many times life knocks you down, you always have the option of just completely abandoning your dignity and hoping for the best.

8: Bully Cat And The Box

If you do not have the courage of your convictions, then the bully cat that is society will trap you in the box that is convention. Is, I am pretty sure, what this video means.

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7: Invisible Force Field Cat

We all build walls around ourselves, but have any of us ever stopped to wonder whether it might be better just to let the kitten in after all?

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6: Nyan Cat

2011 will be remembered as the year when we were all briefly obsessed with a rainbow-surfing cat with a poptart body. Which in the scheme of things there are probably worse things to be remembered for? But also, that was weird, right?

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5: Video-Ruining Cat

The point of Video-Ruining Cat, I think, is that sometimes the important thing that you think you are doing is not actually the important thing that is happening. And by "sometimes," I mean, "always."

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4: Guilty Cat

From Guilty Cat we learned that every joy has an attendant sadness and that the fleeting moment of ecstasy attendant upon knocking over the plants is but a waystation along the endless, painful road of atonement.

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3: Business Cat

Business Cat's tenacity, his optimism, and his unimpeachable work ethic were inspiring in a year when morale was low and job satisfaction was essentially in the litter box.

2: Cat Who Demands Human Does His Bidding

From this cat we learned that, while we can't always get what we want in life, it's definitely worth trying to coerce someone else into getting it for you before you give up on the project.

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1. The Most Relaxed Cat In The World

And finally, Shironeko, who first appeared in our lives last year, took his innovative, inspirational, and, frankly, revolutionary brand of relaxation to new heights throughout 2011 - a year which, like all the years of his life thus far, left him utterly unfazed.

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