Cats are magnificent creatures. Some are cute and cuddly. Others are snide or silly. If you don’t own one, you can at least live vicariously through photos that highlight all their incredible and hilarious attributes. Here are the 100 most important cat pictures of all time!
100. The Magician’s Apprentice
Why It Matters: This one is important because cats almost never use their magical powers in public.
99. The Fashion Icon
Why It Matters: Most people think that high fashion is pretty subjective, but most people have not seen this cat and her perfect, beautiful, infinitely elegant synthesis of form and function.
98. The Closet Dweller
Why It Matters: This picture symbolizes perseverance in the pursuit of a genuinely bad idea, which is essentially the entire reason anything important ever happens in the first place.
97. The Cat Who Caught Her Owner in the Act of Stealing Her Ice Cream
Why It Matters: Because we must always stand up in the face of injustice, and because it is rare to see a picture of a cat who is very clearly saying, “Oh no you didn’t!”
96. The Existential Cat with His Existential Duck
Why It Matters: Why does anything matter?
95. The Upside-Down Faucet Drinker
Why It Matters: Because have you ever stopped to consider that it’s actually you who is looking at the world upside-down, and this cat is just having a perfectly normal drink of water?
94. The Bodyguard
Why It Matters: Because in about 10 seconds the cat on the couch is going to say “It’s not my blood! It’s not me! Wait! He’s my bodyguard! Get some help! Stay with me! Frank! Stay with me!” and we’re all going to cry our goddamn eyes out.
93. The Cat with Buns
Why It Matters: Because of the buns! The buns.
92. The Cat Who Loved Too Much
Why It Matters: Because of the complex relationship between this cat’s actions and his facial expression. “To love at all is to be vulnerable,” says C.S. Lewis; so it follows that to love too much is to be positively paranoid.
91. Inception Cat
Why It Matters: Because 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.
90. The Morris Fan
Why It Matters: Because, deep down, we are all Morris fans, whether we know it or not.
89. Cat Asleep on a Boy in the Back of the Car
Why It Matters: BECAUSE OF THE SAD BACKPACK.
88. Protective Mom Cat
Why It Matters: Primarily because the kitten is like, “I can’t wait to discover what life has in store for me!” and the mom is like, “Nope.”
87. Disaffected Kitten
Why It Matters: Because the world is a sad and troubling and often extremely disappointing place and we may as well learn that as early as possible in life.
“It was in his nature to do it. The doctor says there are such boys springing up amongst us—boys of a sort unknown in the last generation—the outcome of new views of life. They seem to see all its terrors before they are old enough to have staying power to resist them. He says it is the beginning of the coming universal wish not to live.”
– Thomas Hardy, basically talking about this kitten, in Jude the Obscure
86. The Friendly Kisser
Why It Matters: Because you know you’ve found a lifelong friend when they let you lick their face with this much enthusiasm.
85. The Mirror Stage
Why It Matters: Because the moment of apperceptively turning yourself into an object is as traumatic as it is transformative, especially if you have a wonky mirror.
84. The Couch Potato
Why It Matters: Because, yes, sure, it is a sly modern wink to the themes of passivity and enervation in Sargent’s famous “Repose” painting, but mainly because a world in which people take the time to make tiny couches for their cats is a world that is clearly going places.
83. Big Me, Little Me
Why It Matters: Because Wordsworth tells us that “the child is father of the man,” and if Wordsworth had met these cats, he would probably also at least mention how freaking cute their noses are.
82. The Piano Biter
Why It Matters: Because life is a piano that is set before us to play, and this is usually how that ends up looking.
81. The Balloon Popper
Why It Matters: Because SOMETIMES, life is actually a balloon that is set before us to pop, and we totally nail it.
80. The Cool Customer
Why It Matters: Because every grown-up who ever told you that “being cool means being yourself” is wrong. Being cool means wearing dark sunglasses and just straight up falling asleep somewhere you probably shouldn’t.
79. The Tiny Taco Rejecter
Why It Matters: Because life is as much about what we stand against as what we stand for. And if we cannot stand up against the tiny tacos that displease us, what will we fall for next?
78. The World’s Worst Nap
Why It Matters: Because to be comfortable is to be complacent, and we will never discover new frontiers if we don’t occasionally contort ourselves into new forms.
77. The World’s Best Nap
Why It Matters: Because if we promise always to be restless, we will one day change into the thing we always wanted to be.
76. The Loyal Friend
Why It Matters: Because love is our true destiny.