Bento the Keyboard Cat Has Gone to the Big Kitty Box in the Sky

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You don’t really think about the characters in the gifs we use on a daily basis. You find a gif, it makes you laugh, you throw it in a chat or text thread, and you move on. Sometimes, if it’s a really good gif, you might save it to use again (we all have a folder of good ones on our phones and laptops, don’t lie). But do we think of the people or animals or clips? Do we wonder where they came from, who they are, who loved them? All these gifs that bring us joy, and we don’t even know their story. Well, that changes today. One of our most beloved gif cats has gone to the big kitty box in the sky. Bento, we hardly knew you, but we loved you.

play piano GIF by Internet Cat Video Festival

Image: Giphy

Bento the keyboard cat shot to feline super stardom in 2009 when a video of him tickling the ivories was posted on YouTube. The popular gif we know and love isn’t even him, though.

So who was Bento? What was his story? And how did he get to good at playing the keyboard?! The orange tabby cat was made internet famous by his human, Charlie Schmidt. However, Bento wasn’t the first keyboard playing cat. That honor belongs to Fatso, another kitty kiddo belonging to Mr. Schmidt. Fatso’s video went viral in 2007 and, long after she passed away in 1989. She’s actually the kitty in the gif we’ve all used at one time or another. After Fatso’s video took the internet by storm, Mr. Schmidt adopted Bento to carry on her legacy. And the rest, as they say, is internet history.

Bento passed away last week at the age of 9, hopefully reuniting with Fatso in the great cat beyond. People took to Twitter to share their condolences.


Rest in peace, Bento. We hope, wherever you are, the treats are bountiful and the tummy rubs are endless. You can watch a video of Bento doing his thing below.

(Image: Twitter  @consequence)