Grumpy Cat: The Internet's Favorite Sour Cat Draws Crowds at SXSW

abc_sxsw_2_grumpy_ cat_ss_jt_130309_ssh.jpg
.

View photo

The biggest lines at the festival are to see a cat. And not just any cat -- Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat is …

AUSTIN, Texas - The cat is out of the bag here at SXSW, or out of the Internet.

While that furry and very cute feline sat in a small bed in Mashable's dry and warm tent here at SXSW, hundreds of people waited in line in the pouring rain just to get a photo and quick look at her.

Why, though? Why would people wait hours just to see one cat? Because she is one of the biggest cats on the Internet. That's why.

Grumpy Cat, for those who don't know about the latest Internet fun, is a cat with a bit of a sour face, she always looks, well, grumpy. She has become the face of a popular Internet meme and has amassed thousands of Twitter followers with snarky and complaint-filled 140-character updates.

Of course, the cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce (or Tard, for short) herself doesn't do the talking or tweeting. That's done by her owners - Bryan and Tabatha Bundesen. Tabatha adopted Tard's mother and on April 4, 2012, Grumpy Cat was born. A couple of months later, Bryan decided to put the always-mad cat on Reddit just for fun.

RELATED: SXSW in Photos: Lines, Cats and More Craziness from Austin

"She was lying in my lap and she looked extremely grumpy so I decided to put it on Reddit," Bryan told ABC News at the festival. "It went viral and I never expected it."

The rest, as they say, is Internet history. People started circulating the photo and slapping funny text on top of it and then Bryan started grumpycats.com. The other, non-official, Twitter account - @ItsTheGrumpyCat - has more than 300,000 followers.

In real life, the cat never does shake her grumpy face and that's because she has feline dwarfism, a condition, the Bundesens say, causes her to have small sighs and stiff back legs. Other than that, they say, she is a completely "healthy and happy cat."

But Internet fame turned to real-life fame. Grumpy Cat has now struck a deal with Friskies: the cat will appear in a Friskies commercial soon. At SXSW, Friskies held a press event with the cat and Mashable has signed up to have her on display for the next few days for a couple of hours at a time. Yes, the Bundesen siblings even have a manager for all her press.

But you can't help but feel bad for the cat that is constantly being photographed, which is why some are saying it's time to free Grumpy Cat. But Bryan says there's no reason for that and that they are doing things to help other cats. Here in Austin they made a contribution to Austin Pets Alive, a no-kill shelter in the area.

"A lot of people think we are exploiting the cat, we limit her exposure greatly," Bryan said. "She is only here for an hour at a time. Ninety-nine percent of the time she is just a regular cat. She is not front of the camera at all times, she is a normal house cat and we love her."

As do the hundreds of people waiting in line to see her.

View Comments (1322)

Recommended for You

  • US Women's Soccer Team Beats Germany to Advance to World Cup Final

    The U.S. Women's National team defeated Germany Tuesday night to advance to the final of the Women's World Cup. The Women's National Team took the lead in the 69th minute with a goal from Carli Lloyd after Germany racked up a yellow card. Annike Krahn took down Alex Morgan inside the box two…

    Good Morning America
  • NY Prison Escape: The Details David Sweat Told Investigators

    Escaped prisoner David Sweat, now in an upstate New York hospital, has allegedly revealed to investigators how he and fellow escapee Richard Matt managed to elude authorities in their three weeks on the run. Sweat told authorities he and Matt listened to reports about the manhunt on a radio, a…

    Good Morning America
  • Misty Copeland Is American Ballet Theatre's First Black Female Principal Dancer

    A fervent dream became reality today for ballerina Misty Copeland as she became the first black female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre. "I'm just so honored, so extremely honored," Copeland said today during a news conference. "My dream has been ABT…

    Good Morning America
  • David Sweat Claims He Practiced Escape and Was Almost Caught Twice During 3-Week Manhunt

    Escaped prisoner David Sweat told investigators he was almost discovered twice during the three weeks authorities were searching the woods of upstate New York for him and fellow inmate Richard Matt — including one time that police walked right by him as he hid in a hunting tree stand, officials…

    Good Morning America
  • 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup: Complete Results

    5 Storylines to Follow Ahead of US-Germany Semifinal5 Biggest Moments in US Soccer Team HistoryESPN: Complete Coverage of Canada 2015Group A:June 6Canada 1, China 0Netherlands 1, New Zealand 0June 11China 1, Netherlands 0Canada 0, New Zealand 0June 15Netherlands 1, Canada 1China 2, New Zealand…

    Good Morning America
  • Watermelon Thump Festival a Texas Tradition for 62 Years and Counting

    Most days of the year, Luling, Texas is a sleepy town of around 5,500 people. Come late June, though, that number swells to 35,000, and it’s all because of watermelon. Since 1954, Luling has been host to the Watermelon Thump, a four-day festival celebrating all things watermelon.

    Good Morning America
  • Donna Karan Steps Down as Chief Designer for DKNY

    Fashion designer Donna Karan has made a personal decision to step down as chief designer for Donna Karan New York (DKNY), the New York-based international fashion house announced today. Karan, who spent the last three decades revolutionizing "the working woman's wardrobe" for DKNY, will now be…

    Good Morning America
  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner to Divorce

    Garner, 43, and Affleck, 42, married in 2005 and have three children, Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3. Years later, Affleck admitted that he fell in love with Garner on the set of the film. They got engaged in April 2005 and married two months later in a private ceremony in the Turks and…

    Good Morning America
  • Amnesiac Woman Tries to Solve Mystery of Who She Is as She Battles Cancer

    Called "Sam," the woman was found in Southern California by firefighters in February and immediately taken to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to a Facebook page created to help her find her family. Doctors told her a volleyball-sized ovarian tumor may have…

    Good Morning America
  • Watch Alex Trebek Rap the 'Fresh Prince' Theme Song

    Will Smith would be proud. During a question about TV theme songs, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek took to rapping the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" jingle.Trebek got really into the jam and even altered his voice to sound more hip-hop. Calling this epic would be the understatement of the century.Read:…

    Good Morning America
  • Taylor Swift Gives Fans Free Tickets After Flight Delay Makes Them Miss London Show

    When two South African Swifties missed her concert at London’s Hyde Park after their flight was delayed, the "Style" singer offered them free tickets to her Dublin show. Stephanie Be and her boyfriend Joe Crann only managed to catch the last three songs of Saturday's show thanks to the travel…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Ghostbusters' Director Paul Feig Tweets First Pictures From Set

    And we have our first look at the new costumes for the "Ghostbusters" reboot, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.Director Paul Feig tweeted out two pictures, one of the uniforms and the other of the beloved proton packs.Slideshow: Other Stars On SetRelated:…

    Good Morning America
  • Texas Man Builds Miniature House in Hopes of Avoiding College Debt

    Joel Weber said he's determined to incur less college debt by living in the tiny, 145-square-foot house he built, rather than struggling to pay higher rent in his college town of Austin, Texas. Weber, who will begin his junior year at the University of Texas at Austin, said it can cost upwards of…

    Good Morning America
  • Girl Scouts Return $100K After Donor Requests It Not Be Used to Support Transgender Girls

    The Girl Scouts of Western Washington recently returned $100,000 to a donor who sent a follow-up note to the donation requesting that the gift "not be used to support transgender girls," the group said. Despite the loss, the Girl Scouts have now raised the amount back, and some more, in less than…

    Good Morning America
  • Princess Charlotte's Christening: Mario Testino Picked as Photographer

    The Duchess of Cambridge famously snapped the first photos released of her son and newborn daughter together, but the royal family has tapped a world-renowned photographer to record their next milestone. Mario Testino, who has photographed generations of Britain’s royal family, will take the…

    Good Morning America
  • Leap Second: How Companies Are Preparing For Extra Second Today

    If today feels a bit longer, there's a reason for it.A leap second will be added to the clock to account for a discrepancy between Earth's rotation and the atomic clock.While there have been more than two dozen instances of a leap second being added since 1972, companies relying on their computer…

    Good Morning America
  • Arizona 10-Year-Old, Formerly Homeless, to Make Clothes for Kids Less Fortunate

    Stephanie Elliot said she was completely taken by surprise when her son, Xavier Elliot, told her that he wanted to make clothes for homeless children, after learning what it was like to be homeless himself. "I think it affected him a lot," Elliot of Pheonix, Arizona told ABC News.

    Good Morning America