Hi Herbert: The 2020 Cat Sensation

Kristy Nguyen, Staff Writer

Ever since the dawn of the world wide web, people have utilized the internet for their own interests and connected with others through common hobbies. Cat lovers across the world unite to share cat photos, memes and videos. While the online cat community has its own corner on the internet, people have always been aware of its presence. Tom Chatfield explains the experience of sharing interests online in his article, “Why is the internet so obsessed with pictures of cats?”, stating, “We are living in a digital world that attaches deep value to the capacity to share, and to laugh together at almost anything.” I am sure we all remember Grumpy Cat, Keyboard Cat, or even watched a few funny cat videos, which have built up billions of views. But that was back then during the early 2000s. Times have changed along with technology, and the internet had yet to see another cat come around and make a name for themselves. While there is a plethora of things about cats online that we could talk about, today we will be looking into one of the most iconic cat memes of 2020: Hi Herbert. 

Hi Herbert is a cat whose origins can be found on Reddit, where his owner under the alias, mingledacorn13, shared a post under a cat forum. In the video, the small white kitten responds to his owner greeting him with a squeal. While the video only showed a small exchange between a cat and his owner, the response to the video was phenomenal. When shared to others who were new to the memes, many expressed how they adored how cute it was. Freshman Mike Goytia from Van Nuys High School in California had a strong opinion on the video, calling it “stupendous, magnificent, music to my ears, cutest of the cute noises.” Others, such as Issaquah High sophomore Alec Yildrim, did not have as much as a strong reaction to it, saying, “I think the cat’s cute but I’m going to be honest, I didn’t even think about laughing for one second.” Overall, it seems that the video’s success lies with the cuteness of the video. For cat lovers online, they found a way to expand on the video and make it better, making it more iconic. If you go on YouTube, you will be bound to find some good compilations of the meme. These videos all showcase how versatile the meme was, making countless Hi Herbert memes one after another. Even when shown a remix of the meme, their reactions did not change, and rather they still found the video very endearing and adorable.

Some may wonder why he is different from the rest of the cat videos on the internet. The internet is constantly changing. Online memes have the lifespan of 48 hours, maybe a week if lucky. That one meme of the man sprinkling salt on meat was probably four days old before it kicked the bucket. Yet we still see Herbert, months after his premiere. Nicole Cortez, a junior at Robert Morgan Educational Center in Florida, believed it was because “it’s more modernized, so I guess the more modernized it is, the funnier it is,” essentially referencing how the meme was very easy to edit to fit modern and relevant times. Goytia also agrees with this statement, calling the Hi Herbert meme a versatile meme format that was “capable of infinite possibilities.” While Cortez and Goytia had similar opinions, Yildrim disagreed. Despite being shown the endless possibilities of the meme, he admitted that he had “no clue” why the meme was successful and that he “wouldn’t be a fan of Herbert” himself.

Every meme runs its own course, and eventually they will be no longer deemed relevant. IHS senior Raven Bennett gave her own outlook on the meme’s longevity. She said despite the meme having been successful now, she predicted it will probably end “near the end of fall” since it has been around for so long. Cortez also agrees, but predicted that it will “end at the end of the year” since Hi Herbert compilation Instagram accounts themselves have “been dying out more and more.” As for now, the meme is still popping up on cat meme Instagram accounts, but it is slowly being drowned out by other cat memes.

Nowadays, you can be updated on Herbert’s activities on the owner’s instagram account, “janeylou1322.” While Herbert is quite popular, many did not know about his sister, Juniper. It seems that while Herbert remains an icon in the cat community space online, he seems unaffected by his fame and is enjoying life with his owner and sister.