Reigning cats and dogs: why grumpy animals rule the internet

Since the feline known as Grumpy Cat died last year, two furry curmudgeons called Chico and Meow Meow have emerged to fight for her crown – and merchandising possibilitiesName: Grumpy animals.

Age: Young-ish.

What, seriously? Grumpy animals? Is thisa thing? I’m afraid so.

On the world wide web, I’m thinking? Correct.

Go on then, who – what – are they? So, in Taiwan, there’s a cat called Meow Meow who comes with a natural Batman mask and a face like thunder. Sounds charming. And in the US state of Virginia lives Chico, an 11-month-old Brussels Griffon with a crooked mouth and an unfortunate underbite. That’s only two; don’t you need three for something to be a thing? You’ve clearly forgotten the original Grumpy Cat, who was so much more than a cat. She spawned memes and parodies and was the subject of books, merch, video games and films, including one in which she was voiced by Aubrey Plaza. She was even involved in a lawsuit. (There’s money in grumpy animals.)

I had forgotten. What happened to Grumpy Cat? She died.

Of grumpiness? Urinary tract infection, last May, aged seven .

I’m sorry to hear it. And now these two are fighting over Grumpy Cat’s crown? Not literally – and Grumpy Cat will always be the queen. But yeah, kind of.

I’m guessing that, it being the 21st century, the fight is happening not in an alley, but on social media? Again, correct. At the time of writing, Meow Meow has 1,803 followers on Instagram.

More than I have, admittedly, but that’s hardly going viral, is it? Maybe her modest online audience is what’s making her so grumpy? Actually, she has a condition called hyperthyroidism, which can affect her heartbeat. Her owner, Clare, says she’s very sweet and gentle.

Purrfect, presumably …No cat puns, you know the rules.

And the dog in Virginia, Chico? Presumably he’s just grumpy because of the way he looks. Look at him, with his wonky mouth and sticky-out teeth. He’s just got a crooked jaw. His owner, a 47-year-old teacher named Belle, says she fell in love the moment she set eyes on him. She insists that, although he may look as though he’s constantly fed up, “in reality, he is the sweetest little guy around”.

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They always do. She dresses him up in cute comedy costumes and then posts them.

Go on then, let’s have the numbers. Instagram followers: more than 9,400, although he shares the account with Belle’s other dogs.

Well, that’s that then. Numbers don’t lie. Nice try, Meow Meow, but run along now, shoo. The winner of grumpiest pet is … Chico. Yay! Do say: “Aargh!”

Don’t say:“Aww!”