In a tragic turn of events just a week after losing our beloved Longcat, the internet mourns once again as we reflect on the loss of Inkky this week from the “Screaming Cat” meme. Inkky, who was living in Portland, Oregon with her owner Kiana McMillian, passed away on Sunday due to complications from cancer.
In a Twitter post, McMillian announced Inkky’s death and said that on Sunday, Inkky passed away around 3 p.m. after cancer spread to her chest.
thank you for everything. im going to miss her so much pic.twitter.com/8uWsZu6MEM
— almond🌻 (@watery_day) September 27, 2020
“Inkky passed away today at about 3:00 pm. She was humanely euthanized after the cancer in her chest began to interfere too much with her bodily functions. She was peaceful and relaxed, she died with my arms around her and my mom beside me; her two favorite people. I’m relieved that she’s no longer suffering, no longer starving or weak, but I’m devastated to lose her and I’ll miss her so dearly. Inkky has been with me for the past 11 years, through the hardest times of my life. She’s always been a diva and a princess, she’s never been afraid to tell me how she really feels. She had an aloof, pampered exterior but inside she was just the sweetest, most gentle and affectionate cat to those who knew her best. She fought so hard until the very end, she was so, so brave and so strong, I’m so proud of her.”
Originally surfacing online around 2015, the earliest images of Inkky appeared on Tumblr and featured the unphotoshopped version of her before it was combined with the Crying Cat meme. Two years later, the first examples of Inkky’s iconic scream began circulating throughout social media and later solidified into the Screaming Cat format.
Back in June, we interviewed McMillian and Inkky as part of our editorial series and had the chance to learn more about the origins of the photo. During our discussion, McMillian said, “Inkky was in her bed and I was sort of flinging a string at her for some entertainment; she kind of half-heartedly wanted to play, but she just refused to get up, so each time I flung the string over, she would try to catch it in her mouth (you can actually see the string as a blurry white line in some of the original pictures). I was recording a video; each of the pictures I posted were frames in that video.”
Eventually, the meme evolved and took on another form as “Yamato Cat,” which featured the caption “yamero,” the Japanese word for “stop it.” McMillian told us that she was “so confused” about the phenomenon of her cat becoming a meme, adding, “I think that’s when I did a Google image search of the picture and got a ton of results across the internet and realized that it had already gotten way bigger than I thought.”
At the end of our chat with her, we asked McMillian what she thought Inkky would say to all her fans out there, and how she would want to be remembered.
“I think Inkky would want everyone to know that she’s prettier, smarter and braver than her dumb, stinky, baby brother Pepper. I, on the other hand, would like to thank everyone for the support. Inkky is so special to me, and it’s really sweet to know that she’s special to so many other people, too.”