In case you’re in need of another reason to bring a brand new fluffy new feline into your life, June is Adopt-A-cat Month. Just think—a whole month dedicated to finding forever homes for the most regal of household pets. If that’s not enough to push you into bringing a new little one into your heart and home, how about the possibility that the Internet’s newest superstar is waiting for you at your local shelter? After all, some of the web’s most beloved viral sensations were adopted, too.
Being the little sister of the web’s arguably most famous cat—Maru, best known for his love of bags and boxes—can’t be an easy job, but baby Hana manages to do it with some style, grace, flair, and plenty of charm. Maru’s human parents adopted Hana the Chiba cat back in 2013, and since her introduction into the world of viral cats, she’s added some noticeable sweetness and kitten-sized wit to Maru’s ever-popular videos.
2. Nora The Piano-Playing Cat
The Internet’s favorite “musical edu-cat” was a shelter kitten in Cherry Hill, New Jersey before she was adopted in 2006. Her owners, Betsy Alexander and Burnell Yow, already had five cats and weren’t in the market for a new one—but Nora charmed piano instructor Betsy so thoroughly that they couldn’t resist the little gray tabby. Nora’s love of “playing” the piano was soon unleashed, thanks to a home that features two giant grand pianos and Betsy’s many piano students. It was only a matter of time before Nora tried her paw at the keys.
3. Keyboard Cat
Although the original Keyboard Cat—Washington state-born Fatso—is currently playing on the big scratchpad in the sky (she passed away back in 1987, long before the very idea of “viral videos” hit the mainstream), she was a shelter cat back in her kitten days. In fact, Fatso was sick when her family first adopted her from a local shelter in Spokane, but they were dedicated to getting her happy and healthy. It was only after Fatso healed up that they realized her unique “talents” for clomping the keys.
4. Lil Bub
Lil Bub’s unique look—several genetic mutations, including dwarfism, give her that cute “perma-kitten” appearance—is adorable now, but it almost worked against her when she was first put up for adoption in 2011. Born to a feral mom, Bub was the runt of an otherwise normal litter, and while she was lucky enough to be fostered by a loving family, they had some serious trouble finding her a forever home. Of course, that all changed when her human dad, Mike Bridavsky, met her. He eventually took her home and turned her into a star—and Bub is using all of her starpower for good. The cat and her owner frequently give to animal-related charities and shelters, but right now they're doing something special: June is Bub's birthday month, and instead of toys, the cat is raising money for the ASPCA.
5. Colonel Meow
Although Colonel Meow is no longer ruling this fair Earth (he passed away earlier this year), the Himalayan-Persian crossbreed left a big mark on both the planet and the Internet during his life. He also probably left a lot of hair—Meow holds the 2014 Guinness world record for “longest fur on a cat,” a staggering nine inches. The angry-faced cat dictator (dictcator?) was first rescued by the Seattle Himalayan and Persian Society before his loving human family (aka his “slave beasts”) adopted him at a local Petco. Meow soon became an Internet star, thanks to both his luxurious fur and his impudent mug. We miss you, great leader!
Nala Cat is web-famous for a very special reason: she’s just really, really cute. The wide-eyed Siamese-Tabby mix lights up the Internet with her permanently surprised expression and panache for wearing absurdly cute outfits. Nala was born into an overly-cat-populated home, and when she was taken away to a local shelter, she was separated from the rest of her cat family. When Nala was about six months old (her real birthday is unknown), her future owner just happened to visit the shelter, and while she knew she wanted to adopt a cat, she wasn’t planning on taking one home that day. Nala, of course, won her over with a big face kiss, and the duo has been inseparable ever since.
7. Hamilton the Hipster Cat
California’s own hipster cat with a built-in moustache, Hamilton was born into a feral cat colony in San Jose. Young Hammy was picked up by the Humane Society of Silicon Valley (along with his sister, Flower), who set about readying the two skittish ferals for adoption. It took a lot of work, trust, and patience, but by the time Hamilton’s human dad adopted him in September of 2012, some major milestones had already been reached—and Hammy’s instant attachment to his new dude sure didn’t hurt.
One of Twitter’s first true superstars—of any species, really—Sockington didn’t have such an auspicious start. Before he became a viral sensation, young Socks was spotted at a Boston subway station in 2004. Hungry and alone, the gray and white shorthair caught the attention of a commuter on his way to work, who couldn’t help but notice that the handsome fellow was still there when he returned later in the day. Socks was soon taken in, passed through a few fosters in order to find a forever home, and eventually made his way to Jason Scott, who has provided him with a “life of luxury” and instant Internet fame. Socks is still popular on Twitter, where he proudly leads the “Socks Army.”
Socks isn’t the only famous kitty in his home—and he’s also not the only one to come from a scrappy background. Sockington’s own sister (and semi-nemesis) Pennycat also got started out in the wild. Penny’s original owners dropped her off on the front porch of a local animal shelter after they decided they didn’t want her, but the wily Penny didn’t have much interest in shelter life and soon ran away to a Hudson, New York farm, where she just kind of hung out for a few months. Eventually adopted by Jones, Penny is now just as spoiled as Socks—and 10 times more sassy. While Socks stays busy on Twitter, Pennycat runs their website. What a pair!