Meet Big Floppa, the Internet’s feline phenomenon: a meme-national superstar!

‘Big Floppa’, a feline with stunning green eyes, an elongated nose and furry ears, has taken the Internet by storm. The image of the charming cat has been used to create memes, t-shirts and phone apps on social media platforms. However, it may be surprising to learn that ‘Big Floppa’ is not your typical domestic cat and actually resides in Russia. Andrei Bondarev, a Moscow videographer, shared an image of his “pet” eating on Instagram in April 2018. This giant short-haired cat with a large, elongated nose, bright green eyes, and very long, furry ears instantly went viral. and became a sensation on social media sites like Reddit. The cat and his two companions, Matvei and Zhora, became bloggers and gained even more popularity in 2020 under the name ‘Big Floppa’ or ‘Kot Shlyopa’ due to their striking ears. However, the cat’s real name is Gosha and it belongs to the caracal species, which in appearance resembles a lynx. Although originally from Africa, Asia and India, Gosha was born on December 21, 2017 in a Ukrainian cattery specializing in wild cats.

Several months later, specifically in April 2018, he traveled to Moscow and found a new home in the Bondarev family. The family consisted of Andrei and his wife, Yelena or Lena, who stumbled upon a photo of a unique wildcat on the Internet. The idea of ​​having one became his dream. After a year of preparation and consultation with experts, they finally decided to adopt a caracal, making their dream come true.

Gosha and Matvei

Georgy and his furry companions took a long minibus journey of more than 24 hours to reach Moscow. When they arrived, Gosha, the family’s newest cat, was hesitant to explore the new apartment. However, with the help of Matvei, an older cat adopted from an animal shelter, Gosha slowly became comfortable in his new home. At first, Zhora, the third cat in the house, was not happy with Gosha’s arrival and ignored him and his owner for a few weeks. But eventually, Zhora warmed up to Gosha and now they are close friends. Although Gosha had some problems with litter box training, Yelena assured Georgy that this is typical feline behavior and can be easily resolved. Despite these challenges, Gosha remains an active and playful kitty.

Gosha and Zhora

Yelena likes to keep her caracal, Gosha, well fed with a nutritious meal that includes turkey, rabbit, and other healthy ingredients. She shares that Gosha is very attached to her and considers her her human. In fact, she displays qualities more commonly seen in dogs, such as being fiercely loyal to Yelena. However, Gosha does not like to be left alone and is cautious around unfamiliar people.

Andrei has pointed out that Georgy’s behavior tends to be aggressive. He usually spends his free time tearing up the pieces of cardboard that Andrei and Yelena provide him. Unfortunately, this destructive trend is not just limited to cardboard, it also damages furniture and wallpaper.

Andrei has shared that his cat, Gosha, can be quite difficult. The feline has a tendency to scratch the walls, leaving deep grooves down to the concrete. Andrei tried to repair the damage, but eventually gave up due to the cat’s persistent behavior. Additionally, Gosha managed to scratch his television while he was watching Animal Planet. Despite these destructive tendencies, the mischievous cat became an internet sensation in early 2020. A photo of him lying on a window sill with Zhora went viral, spawning a host of memes, demotivational posters and manipulated images. These began circulating in meme communities on Instagram before spreading to other social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit.

Yelena shared the story of how they found out about Gosha’s popularity on the internet through a friend of her husband who also had a caracal. At first, they were happy to see Gosha attracting attention online and shared photos of him. However, Yelena became uncomfortable when she saw Gosha being used in memes that promoted divisive political opinions or offensive content related to Nazism, racism or homophobia. She finds such use of Gosha completely unacceptable and condemns it.

In the Google Play app store, a new app dedicated to Big Floppa was introduced in spring 2021. The app shows Gosha, or Gregory in English, moving as you touch him. It has received a lot of praise from users and has a variety of optimistic reviews.

One person left a comment expressing their admiration for the game, highlighting its captivating content and even mentioning some creepy moments that made them jump. They were surprised when they clicked on Shlyopa (Floppa) and heard him growl. The game has complete content that does not require additional features. Yelena expressed concern about Gosha’s monthly expenses, stating that although some supporters donate to help other cats, the amount is insufficient to cover the basic needs of food and litter which cost between 20 and 25,000 rubles ($270 and $340). ).

Additionally, the Bondarev family takes Gosha twice a year to a wildcat specialist for checkups and vaccinations. Despite his unique origin, the family considers him like any other domestic cat. However, their large size requires more attention and care, as injuries sustained during play can be more serious compared to smaller cats. Additionally, larger cats tend to cause more destruction inside homes. However, Yelena emphasizes that, regardless of its size or origin, a cat remains a beloved feline companion.

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