Let’s begin by answering two questions at the outset. First, the image above of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holding a cat is a fake, and second, it is not an official image endorsed by the Sanders campaign. Knowing that this otherwise fantastic Photoshop isn’t real puts a real damper on the whole matter, but that didn’t stop the Internet from embracing the Independent Vermont senator’s pictured embrace of a rather cuddly feline.
After all, cats are kind of a big deal on the web. Whether they look like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Girls actor Adam Driver, take unbelievably good selfies or participate in Twitter-based discussions of current events, cats are almost always on the top of the Internet’s food chain. So, of course it’d make sense for Sanders to accept his true feline overlords — albeit in a falsified image first posted by the parody Twitter account, Sassy Sanders.
After the image initially went online after Sunday’s Democratic Debate on NBC, Twitter immediately felt the Bern. This resulted in a cavalcade of retweets, subtweets and responses that were mostly open to the 74-year-old politician’s apparent love of cats and cat-related things.