Nyan Cat is the name of a YouTube video uploaded in April 2011, which became an internet meme. The video merged a Japanese pop song with an animated cartoon cat with a Pop-Tart for a torso, flying through space, and leaving a rainbow trail behind it. The video ranked at number 5 on the list of most viewed YouTube videos in 2011.
On April 2, 2011, the GIF animation of the cat was posted by 25-year-old Christopher Torres of Dallas, Texas, who uses the name "prguitarman", on his website LOL-Comics. Torres explained in an interview where the idea for the animation came from: "I was doing a donation drive for the Red Cross and in-between drawings in my Livestream video chat, two different people mentioned I should draw a 'Pop Tart' and a 'cat'." In response, he created a hybrid image of a Pop-Tart and a cat, which was developed a few days later into the animated GIF. The design of Nyan Cat was influenced by Torres' pet cat Marty, who died in November 2012 from feline infectious peritonitis.
The original version of the song "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" was uploaded by user "daniwell" to the Japanese video site Niconico on July 25, 2010. The song features the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku. The Japanese word nyan is onomatopoeic, imitating the call of a cat (equivalent to English "meow").
On January 30, 2011, a user named "Momomomo" uploaded a cover of "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" featuring the UTAU voice Momone Momo. The voice source used to create the Momone Momo voice was Momoko Fujimoto, a Japanese woman who lives in Tokyo.
YouTube user "saraj00n" (whose real name is Sara) combined the cat animation with the "Momo Momo" version of the song "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!", and uploaded it to YouTube on April 5, 2011, three days after Torres had uploaded his animation, giving it the title "Nyan Cat". The video rapidly became a success after being featured on websites including G4 and CollegeHumor. Christopher Torres said: "Originally, its name was Pop Tart Cat, and I will continue to call it so, but the Internet has reached a decision to name it Nyan Cat, and I’m happy with that choice, too."
In March 2019, ownership of the YouTube channel hosting the original Nyan Cat video was transferred to Means TV, a socialist video streaming service.
The Nyan Cat music video reached ninth place in Business Insider's top ten viral videos of April 2011, with 7.2 million total views. The original YouTube video has received over 146 million views as of May 30, 2017[update]. Due to its popularity, many new remixes and cover versions have been made, some several hours long. There are also ringtones, wallpapers and applications created for operating systems and devices including Windows, iPhone, iPad, Symbian, Android, Windows Phone, and HP webOS. "Nyan Cat Adventure", by 21st Street Games, is an officially licensed game. An officially licensed cryptocurrency entitled "Nyancoin" with the domain name nyanco.in (later nyan-coin.org) was launched in January 2014.
Christopher Torres initially criticized the website  and the same background music. The site, which uses the .cat sponsored top-level domain, was described by Torres as "plagiarized". Since 2012 the website has been operated by Torres, and shows the authentic version of the cat., which originally featured a similar-looking cat with the pop tart replaced by a slice of toast,
Temporary DMCA takedown
On June 27, 2011, the original YouTube video was taken down from the site following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint from someone claiming to be Torres. Torres immediately issued a statement on his website LOL-comics denying that he was the source of the complaint, and contacted Saraj00n and daniwell, who hold the copyright for the video and the song, in order to file a counter-complaint to YouTube. During the period that the video was unavailable for viewing, Torres received numerous abusive e-mails from people who wrongly believed that he had filed the DMCA complaint. On June 28, 2011, the Nyan Cat video was restored to YouTube.
In May 2013, Christopher Torres and Charles Schmidt, the creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat respectively, jointly sued 5th Cell and Warner Bros. for copyright infringement and trademark infringement over the appearance of these characters without permission in the Scribblenauts series of video games. Torres and Schmidt have registered copyrights on their characters and have pending trademark applications on the names. Torres released a statement saying that he had tried to obtain compensation from 5th Cell and Warner Bros. for commercial use of the character, but was "disrespected and snubbed" multiple times. The suit was settled in September 2013, with Torres and Schmidt being paid for the use of the characters.
- "Talking Twin Babies, Nyan Cat among YouTube's top videos of 2011". Los Angeles Times. December 20, 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- prguitarman (April 2, 2011). "Pop Tart / Nyan Cat!". LOL-comics. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "POP Profile: The Guy Behind The Viral Phenomenon "Nyan Cat"". Pop goes the Week. April 19, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- "RIP Marty --The Inspiration for Nyan Cat". mashable.com. November 2, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- "From Meme To Memory: RIP Marty, Nyan Cat's Inspiration". petslady.com. November 2, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- "daniwell" is variously credited on the web as daniwellP and Daniwell-P; the account that uploaded the song "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" uses the name daniwell.
- ニコニコ動画(原宿).【初音ミク】Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!【オリジナループ】. From nicovideo.jp Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine July 25, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
- Nyan Cat hit 10M views Archived 2011-06-20 at the Wayback Machine Vocaloidism, May 22, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- 【UTAU】Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!【桃音モモ】【ミクカバー】 ‐ ニコニコ動画(原宿). From nicovideo.jp Archived 2011-04-26 at the Wayback Machine, January 31, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
- Momone Momo Official Channel Archived 2017-04-29 at the Wayback Machine YouTube. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Profiles in Geekdom: Chris Torres, Creator of Nyan Cat". PCWorld. February 4, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- "Means TV, with a boost from the Nyan Cat, launches a post-capitalist streaming service". Theintercept.com. March 21, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
- "Top viral videos of April: What's A "Nyan Cat"?". May 3, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Brandrick, Chris (2011-07-13). "Nyan Cat Invades Windows 7, Dances Along Progress Bars". PCWorld. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Dredge, Stuart (May 14, 2011). "Apps rush: Nutkin, Nyan Cat and more". The Guardian. London. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Nyan Cat on the Nokia Cell Phone". Pdadevice.com. 2011-07-02. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- "Nyan Cat: Lost In Space". Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- "Nyan Cat strays into the Marketplace". wpcentral.com. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Nyan Cat for HP webOS". Developer.palm.com. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- "Nyan Cat Adventure (Xbox 360 – Indie Game) Review". thegamerplex.com. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- Sharwood, Simon (January 23, 2014). "Cryptocurrencies now being pooped out by cartoon cat". The Register. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Non-Stop Nyan Cat! The original nyan.cat, archived by the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- nyan.cat Archived 2011-05-31 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Huy Hong: so tremendously humbled, thank you. Lies and thievery". prguitarman.tumblr.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "I did NOT file a Youtube Copyright Complaint". prguitarman.com. June 27, 2011. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat creators sue Warner Bros". BBC News. 2013-05-02. Archived from the original on 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- Adi Robertson (2013-02-12). "Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat creators sue 'Scribblenauts' studio for using their memes". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2013-05-05. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
- "Nyan Cat Creator Comments on Warner Bros. Lawsuit". GamePolitics. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- Phillips, Tom (2013-05-03). "Warner Bros. and 5th Cell targeted by Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat lawsuit • News •". Eurogamer.net. Archived from the original on 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
- Van Syckle, Katie (2013-09-26). "Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat Come Out Ahead in Lawsuit Against Warner Bros". Nymag.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2013-10-02.