"Please Do Not the Cat" – The Definitive Guide to This Hilarious Meme

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Have you seen the absurd phrase "please do not the cat" pop up around the internet and wondered what on earth it means? You‘re not alone! This grammatically incorrect and purposely vague meme has become hugely popular, leaving many people puzzled over its origins and appeal.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll trace the full history of the "please do not the cat" meme, analyze why it went so viral, and look at some of the most hilarious variations. Let‘s solve the mystery of this feline-focused copypasta once and for all!

The Birth of a Meme Sensation

Before we dig into this meme, let‘s break down the key thing that made it go viral: the intentionally missing verb. "Please do not the cat" leaves out an action word about what you shouldn‘t do to the cat. This gives the phrase an absurd vagueness that people find funny and intriguing.

According to, the meme first emerged in September 2019 from an illustration posted on wikiHow‘s Facebook page. The illustration featured a hand reaching toward an upset-looking cat, with the caption "Please do not the cat" in a red prohibited symbol.

This original wikiHow post went viral rapidly, garnering over 3.9k reactions and being shared widely across Facebook. By October 2019, it had spread to Reddit, with posts on subreddits like r/engrish and r/comedyheaven receiving tens of thousands of upvotes.

Clearly there was something about this grammatically incorrect caption that resonated with people‘s sense of humor. But when did it hop over to TikTok to become a full-blown copypasta?

The Meme Finds Fame on TikTok

In 2022, TikTok users revived "please do not the cat" by posting it in the comment sections of cute and funny cat videos. According to the social media analytics site, use of the exact phrase "please do not the cat" skyrocketed on TikTok starting in January 2022.

What drove this resurgence? TikTok users realized that simply commenting the phrase repeatedly was a funny, nonsensical way to interact with cat content. The strangeness of not knowing the missing verb gave it an interactive appeal, too.

By March 2022, over 5,000 TikTok videos included the phrase "please do not the cat" either in text or audio form. These videos have a combined view count of over 150 million!

One of the most viewed versions comes from TikToker @drappep, who simply repeats the phrase deadpan to the camera for a full 30 seconds. This oddly hilarious video has 1.6 million views and kicked off a wave of similar TikToks.

Clearly the absurdist nature of this grammar-defying meme resonates with Gen Z audiences on TikTok. But what exactly makes "please do not the cat" so entertaining and shareable?

Why This Meme Blew Up Across the Internet

There are a few key reasons why "please do not the cat" went so viral so rapidly across platforms:

1. The mystery of the missing verb – By leaving out the action word, the original meme creates a tantalizing gap that makes you wonder what shouldn‘t be done to the cat. This interactive nature engages people.

2. The absurdity and humor – Grammatically incorrect sentences with no context are inherently funny to many people. The randomness of bringing cats into it adds to the absurdity.

3. Flexibility and customization – The simplicity of the meme‘s format allows for easy creativity and personalization. No wonder it morphed into a copypasta!

4. Relatability of cats – From grumpy cat to keyboard cat, felines are one of the most ubiquitous parts of internet culture. The meme easily taps into this rich appeal.

Let‘s hear from an expert on why this type of meme tends to gain such rapid traction online.

"Memes that have an intentionally missing component – whether it‘s a grammatical error or missing context – create that perfect combination of being interactive, relatable, and easy to riff on," says Dr. Amanda Brennan, meme expert and Senior Fellow at Know Your Meme. "Add in the universal humor of a cute cat, and you have the perfect viral recipe."

Now let‘s explore some of the most popular variations that have emerged from the original "please do not the cat" meme.

Spin-Offs and Variations That Made Us Laugh

One of the great things about this meme is its versatility in being replicated and riffed on. While staying true to the original missing verb concept, people have come up with many funny versions.

Some popular examples include:

  • "Please do the cat"
  • "Please do not the car"
  • "I did the cat"
  • "I‘m gonna the cat"
  • "What if I the cat?"

Part of the appeal is that the meanings stay intentionally vague. Does "I did the cat" mean you pet the cat? Fed it? Threw it across the room? Who knows!

This ambiguity allows for hilarious hypotheticals as people everywhere put their own spin on the meme. Even major brands like Duolingo have joined in, with Duolingo tweeting: "Please do not the bird" above one of their owl mascots.

The #PleaseDoNotTheCat hashtag also contains a goldmine of funny interpretations. Here are just a couple stand-out examples:

  • TikTok user @vila_pluems posts himself staring deadpan at the camera repeatedly whispering "I did the cat." (3.2 million views)

  • Twitter user @hkfroggu posts an illustration of someone reaching toward a cute frog with the caption "Please do not the froge." (32k likes)

Part of the fun is seeing how far people can stretch this meme template in new directions. The variations are endless!

The Legacy of This Hilarious Meme

While its peak popularity was in 2022, "please do not the cat" has cemented itself as one of those meme formats that will likely stick around for years to come.

It‘s proven to have an adaptable, interactive nature that connects with people across demographics and platforms. Even my parents text it to each other now!

So next time you see this meme, don‘t overanalyze the reason for its viral fame. Just enjoy the absurdity of imagining the endless possibilities of what people might want to do to this poor grammar-less cat on the internet. We love you forever, please do not the cat!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.