Nyan Cat is an animated half-cat/half-Pop-Tart flying through the stars with a rainbow shooting out of its butt. Hey, you asked.

It's not the first popular animation of a cat, but it became particularly popular after the original animated gif was paired with Momo Momo's version of the "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" song in a mesmerizing and baffling YouTube clip.

How did Nyan Cat start?

The original Nyan Cat animated gif was created and posted by Christopher Torres on his website LOLComics.  In an interview with Pop Goes The Week, Torres explained that he was doing a donation drive for the Red Cross when two separate people suggested that he draw a cat and a Pop-Tart. And so, he "jokingly" created the image below.

 

Torres called his creation "Pop-Tart Cat" for obvious reasons and because "The Mona Lisa" was already taken. A few days later, while experimenting with pixel art, Torres used his Pop-Tart Cat as inspiration. The original pixel animated GIF was published on April 2, 2011 to an awaiting public.

How did "Pop-Tart Cat" become "Nyan Cat"?

Three whole days after Pop-Tart Cat debuted, YouTube user "saraj00n" uploaded a version of the animation on loop with the "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" song as accompaniment. Watch the magic below.

The original Nyan Cat video now has over 52,000,000 views and has spawned countless other versions including a "Smooth Jazz" themed onea Hitler Nyan Cat and one that lasts 100 hours. (Find that yourself, if you have the time and are looking for a video that will slowly drive you insane.)