Tabatha Bundesen, 33, the owner of the acclaimed “Grumpy Cat” that achieved worldwide internet fame for her angry expression, announced on social media that her beloved pet has passed away.
Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, died on May 14, 2019. Bundesen explained that the cat “encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome.” Bundesen added, “Besides being our baby and a cherished member of the family, Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world — even when times were tough. Her spirit will continue to live on through her fans everywhere.” Bundesen said that she was holding Tardar Sauce when she passed away.
Grumpy Cat launched millions of memes after Bundesen’s brother posted a photo of the feline to Reddit in 2012. Her owners explained her memorable expression on an official website: “Her petite size and famous face is likely due to feline dwarfism and her rear end wobbles a bit when she walks due to this; otherwise she is a perfect little kitty! She is not a munchkin cat and was not bred purposefully from other munchkin cats. (We don’t breed kitty’s and her parents are normal sized domestic short hair cats.)”
Bundesen lives in Arizona and was working as a waitress when her cat became a worldwide sensation.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Tabatha Bundesen Quit Her Job as a Waitress Shortly After Grumpy Cat Went Viral
Tabatha Bundesen was working as a waitress at Red Lobster in Morristown, Arizona in 2012. An old Linkedin profile also suggests Bundesen used to work at a restaurant called Western Trails Ranch in Phoenix.
Her brother, Bryan Bundesen, posted the initial photo of Grumpy Cat to a sub-Reddit in September of 2012 when Tardar Sauce was just 4 months old. Bundesen told the Hollywood Reporter in 2014 that the cat’s instant success enabled her to quit her job as a server in order to focus on expanding her pet’s brand full-time.
2. Tabatha Bundesen Runs Grumpy Cat Limited, Which Sells Merchandise Depicting Her Beloved Pet
Tabatha Bundesen formed a company to further expand on Grumpy Cat’s instant fame. She launched Grumpy Cat Limited in 2013. The company was registered in Ohio in February of 2013, according to public records available on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
On Grumpy Cat’s website, Bundesen sells hundreds of products including T-shirts, coffee mugs, pillows, coasters, bags, pens, and books. The book “Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book” reportedly sold more than 500,000 copies in 15 different languages shortly after it was released, the Hollywood Reporter wrote in 2014. Her manager, Ben Lashes told the publication that Grump Cat had generated as much as $100 million in revenue at that time and shared that the cat was insured.
3. Bundesen’s Company Won a Copyright Lawsuit in 2018 Against a Beverage Company & Was Awarded $710,000 in Damages
Tabatha Bundesen and her company Grumpy Cat Limited were involved in a copyright lawsuit that took three years to play out in federal court. According to the complaint, embedded above, Grumpy Cat Limited signed a deal with Grenade in 2013 to sell iced coffees called “Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino.”
But in 2015, she alleged that Grenade created a second product called “Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee.” This product was not part of the original contract and Bundesen sued for copyright infringement. She also accused Grenade of selling T-shirts and not sharing the profits.
The court document begins with the following explanation: “Ironically, while the world-famous feline Grumpy Cat and her valuable brand are most often invoked in a tongue-and-cheek fashion, Defendants’ despicable misconduct here has actually given Grumpy Cat and her owners something to be grumpy about.”
The jury agreed with Bundesen and awarded Grumpy Cat Limited $710,000 in damages from Grenade Beverage LLC. The redacted court document explaining the verdict is embedded below.
4. Tabatha Bundesen Has a Teenage Daughter Named Chyrstal Who Takes the Credit For Grumpy Cat’s Real Name, Tardar Sauce
Tabatha Bundesen’s daughter, Chrystal, is now a teenager. They explained to New York Magazine in 2013, when Chrystal was 11, that Chrystal was the one who gave Grumpy Cat her real name: Tardar Sauce.
They told the publication that Chrystal chose the name because of the cat’s coloring at birth. Chrystal said, “She started off a whitish-orange color and then turned black. And I don’t think I knew how to spell tartar.”
Chrystal appeared alongside her mother and the cat at various public events. In 2015, they made an appearance at an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game in Phoenix.
5. Tabatha Bundesen Raised Grumpy Cat From the Time She Was a Kitten & Described the Cat as a Sweetheart
Tabatha Bundesen told the Phoenix Business Journal in 2013 that Tardar Sauce was born in the Bundesen home. She had a brother named Pokey, who was also part of the Bundesen family.
Bundesen explained at the time that her cat, despite the Grumpy nickname, was actually not grumpy at all. She said her pet as having a very sweet personality. She added, “it’s really awesome that Grumpy Cat can spread joy to so many people and she’s a cat.”
Bundesen said that Grumpy Cat’s success dramatically changed her life. She explained that the family was able to spend more time together, and she was able to travel to visit relatives in other states more often thanks to Grumpy Cat.