I’m not sure of the origin of the meme but anyone that delves into the world of synthesis online will eventually come face to face with the slightly bizarre phenomena of photos of cats and synthesizers.
I am most aware of this meme from the great modular synth community at Muff Wiggler where there is a brilliant, welcoming and very active forum about all things modular, as well as a good little wiki. There are also a lot of avatars that contain cats and synthesizers.
When you first go to the site you are greeted by a “Yes we cat” poster inspired by the iconic Obama poster. On the main forum page there is a photo of two cats where the one in the foreground seems to be doing something (wiggling a muff?) for which it has a suspicious and somewhat guilty look while it glares at the cat in the foreground with a look that says “Fuck off, what I’m doing is perfectly normal.” The cat in the background has a look of stunned shock which adds to the hilarity.
Another source of synth and cat photos can be found at synthcats.com where there is a rather (disturbingly) large collection of photos from this genre.
My personal favourite variation on this theme is that of the cat with a synthesizer in outer space. My five year old daughter and I often rock out on the synths in my studio and we both like to improvise lyrics along with our jams. Cats in space on synthesizers have given us many hours of ridiculous lyric improvisation.
And so, I have finally made my own cat with a synth in space photo which I have happily set as my avatar on the Muff Wiggler forums, as well as making it the desktop wallpaper on my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
So here it is, my contribution to this strange meme. I don’t know what it means, but it makes me smile every time. Maybe some day some one will do their thesis on the correlation between people who love synths and people who love cats.
And of course here are a couple of modular patches to listen to while you contemplate the awesomeness that is the cat with a synthesizer in space.