It’s time to play an elegy for one of the Internet’s most tuneful felines. Bento, a cat that became famous for appearing in Keyboard Cat videos, has died. He was eight.
Bento was not the Keyboard Cat that became famous for “playing off” people who have done embarrassing things. That feline was Fatso, who was owned by Charlie Schmidt. In 1984, Schmidt recorded a home video in which he puppeteered Fatso’s limbs to make it appear like the cat was playing the video. 23 years later, long after Fatso’s death, that clip evolved into one of the internet’s most iconic viral hits after Brad O’Farrell, having obtained Schmidt’s permission, appended Keyboard Cat to the end of other videos.
The popularity of the Keyboard Cat meme presented an opportunity for Schmidt, and that’s where Bento enters the story. To make more content featuring his most notable character, Schmidt enlisted his current cat, who proceeded to star in dozens of videos on the Keyboard Cat YouTube channel.
All good things, though, must end, and Schmidt announced in a March 18 Facebook post that Bento had passed away ten days prior. The Spokane, Washington native paid tribute to his departed pet with a video on the Keyboard Cat YouTube channel.
Though Bento has died, his fans can at least take solace in the fact that his legacy will endure on YouTube. So long as there are people who must be played off, there will be a need for Keyboard Cat. Memes helped Fatso become an internet star two decades after his death; here’s to 20 more years of viral popularity for Schmidt’s two cats.