An Excerpt From “World History 101.10” - Publication date: 3010
The 80's had cocaine. The 90's had heroin. The early 2000's had boy bands. Ireland had alcohol. It seems the addiction of the second decade of the new millennium had, by the middle of the first century, been positively identified as – Kittens. “Kitties,” if you will.
Datum-archaeological intelligence has just been revealed that has positively identified young members of the felis domesticus species as the primary cause of obsession, physical dependence, and eventual death on the part of early-millennial humans.
The issue first came to light when the independent organization NOA thought it had discovered a new constellation – one that resembled the image of a kitten, or “Snuggles (the constellation)” as it was officially classified. Further – actual scientific – study was conducted and found the “new” constellation to actually be an amalgam of pre-identified star clusters that only barely resembled a young cat. The failure of respected scientists to discern fancy from truth is what first clued authorities in on the prevalence of a new drug on the market.
The new vice started as a genetic predisposition towards cats and went out of control with the onset of the catalyst of this whole catastrophe: the Internet. This world wide web of cat aficionados made something possible that had never before been possible – sharing adorable cat moments that could only previously be described to uninterested cohorts at dinner parties. The Internet let cat-owners promote their pets based only upon the one moment in their lives in which they would be able to capture their cats being even remotely likeable.
This remained latent in society until the onset of reddit. Specifically the subforum on reddit appropriately dubbed /r/aww. The explosion of millions of adorable cat pictures set the world afire with cat appreciation. Soon people were spending hours awake at night sifting through mildly more and more adorable pictures of the world's most cantankerous house pet.
Trains crashed. Busses arrived late. Planes never took off. The epidemic took the form of a natural crisis. Soon, the internet just couldn't keep up with the North American demand for cat images. Breeding colonies in the Africas were established in order to try to help maintain the delicate balance of cat-to-image ratio on the internet. But there could only be so many cats – and so very many gigabytes.
Before long people were selling organs on the street for a flash of a new and amusing cat image. The black market wasn't known for its high-quality cat images. Some people would panhandle outside of coffee shops all day to pay for their back-alley dealers to show them crude drawings of cats made by children in crayon and unlovingly overlaid with MS Paint image macro in order to help pass it off as legitimate.
Congress tried to intervene and help the States rise out of its universal addiction, but only managed to pass a law forbidding the reposting of old cat images. Penalty was usually excommunication – from breathing.
The habit had reached even the upper echelons of society, who could, for a time, comfortably afford their high-end shit. Cat GIFs were common among the wealthy, that is until the supply ran dry. After a while there just weren't enough un-adored suppliers to convert files into GIFs. Single images were easier and less time-consuming to produce. Capitalism had failed.
Towards the end of the worldwide collapse of human society the breaking point occurred. The world's then oldest man, Jonathan White - also known as “0ldTieMr” on Cattit, which was the eventual fate of Reddit – at the age of 105 posted his first cute cat image; to resounding disdain. The content of said image has been lost to the ages – not because it was horrible, but because it was submitted by a guy who was actually around when the cat meme first started. The world developed the collective impression that its grandfather had just tried to contribute to a joke, only to realize the joke was as old as its grandfather himself.
Things returned to normal fairly quickly after that. World economies stabilized and eventually gravitated towards a common world system of trade and currency. In a way, the end of the lolcat era marked the beginning of the golden age of the (human) united world.
Only a small enclave of supporters still held interest in cute cat pictures. The furry communities thrived and grew in a post-cyberpunk underground until the onset of successful human/animal gene splicing, which entered the world into the current age of cross species superiority and cosmic bliss, which will be discussed in the next chapter.
Please have your mono-human initiate the next facet in the learning-crystal.