What is this blue Smurf cat? The history of the internet meme featuring cute Shailushai

Shailushai is a Smurf cat who has recently become extremely popular. In this article we will tell you who came up with this image and why millions of users around the world learned about it in 2023.

Who are the Smurfs

The Smurfs are small humanoid creatures with blue skin. They were created by the French cartoonist Pierre Culliford, known under the pseudonym Peyo. The first comic book to feature them was published in 1958. Furthermore, graphic novels about the Smurfs continue to be published to this day. In addition, we saw three animated series and several feature films, as well as many video games about these blue dwarfs. The series is popular even today, so we’ll likely see more Smurfs-related titles in the future.

Have you seen cartoons about the Smurfs?

Who invented the Smurf Cat?

The image of the Smurf Cat was created by American artist Nate Hallinan, who worked on films based on Marvel comics. In September 2014, he not only drew a hairy one with blue skin, but also came up with its origins. According to the author’s idea, we have before us an example of the symbiosis of two organisms. As a result, we got a creature with powerful protective properties and camouflage, like a mushroom, but at the same time mobile and able to independently obtain food like a smurf. It is difficult to detect such creatures, because they are shy and hide at the slightest danger. However, from time to time they must leave their hiding places to hunt snails and other small animals. At the same time they spread spores, from which new mushrooms can later grow. Nate called his work ‘Smurf Sighting’.

Page from artist Nate Hallinan’s account on Artstation.com

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How Shailushai became popular

From our articles about memes you can learn that funny images or photos sometimes become popular many years after they are first published. This is what happened to the Smurf Cat. The animal only “became viral” in August 2023, when a video with his participation appeared on TikTok. It is noteworthy that it was posted by the Russian-speaking blogger ghojam1. Users mistakenly decided that they were looking at the work of a neural network. However, in 2014 they were not yet as developed as they are today.

The video was viewed over a million times and ghojam1 posted another video with the Smurf, this time set to the Alan Walker song called We live, we love, we lie. There he first named the cat Shailushai. There is no such word in any dictionary in the world. It is believed to come from ‘sholopaya’, i.e. ‘diaper’ or ‘scoundrel’.