Source: CBC News (Extract)
Posted: Nov 15, 2019

Once upon a time, at a table not very far away, a white cat made a face at a salad. Someone took a picture.

The internet decided it was relatable and began making jokes. Now, more than one million followers keep tabs on the finicky feline.

The cat’s name is Smudge, and the moment was captured at a suburban Ottawa home in June 2018.

“I don’t know why he was making that face, but it’s the best thing he’s ever done,” says Miranda Stillabower, Smudge’s owner.

“He eats dinner at our table. He gets really upset if he doesn’t have a chair,” said Miranda. “Someone got up from dinner and he must have thought, ‘Oh, this is my chair,’ and he sat there. My brother’s girlfriend took the picture.”

‘Super unimpressed’

OK, but what’s with that expression, the one Stillabower sums up as “super unimpressed?” “I don’t know why he was making that face, but it’s the best thing he’s ever done,” she said. Stillabower thought the picture was funny, so she posted it on her Tumblr blog. It sat there for a few months until it somehow caught on and got shared tens of thousands of times.

More recently, Smudge’s picture was given a second life when someone, for reasons no one can quite fathom, paired it with a screengrab of an angry woman from the Real Housewives reality TV series.

“I think the original photo is [popular] because he looks so dissatisfied with the plate of salad, then [the pairing] looks kind of like an argumentative setup, which is why it’s worked so well,” Stillabower said.

“Also I want to say that I think Smudge is adorable. I think that’s why, too.”

Now, with more than 1 million followers, Smudge has become one of Instagram’s few true celebrities from the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

So what does Smudge think of the newfound fame? In keeping with the cat’s image, pretty meh, actually.

“He’s just a cat, as amazing as he is,” Stillabower said. “He has no idea he’s famous. He goes about his daily life and it’s normal, then you go online and he’s everywhere. That’s when it starts to be crazy.”

Stillabower said she’d like to be able to take the cat, which is about six or seven years old, to meet fans, but Smudge has had anxiety issues since before his adoption about five years ago.

She said she’s on the lookout for a behavioural therapist able to help Smudge adapt to the internet influencer role.