Gentle(wo)men!!!! I have done it. HAHAHA! They said it couldn't be done! They said I was a fool for dropping out of Yale! They said that lolcats were the epitome of an inane banality, devoid of wit and sophistication!! They said that I would die penniless and alone, all my dreams unfulfilled, nothing but a crushing disappointment to my parents and society at large...

OMFG, they were so wrong! My life's work is complete: I have tracked down the original lolcat.

Stay with me here. The first likely candidate proved to be a tantalizing dead end. At first, I was sure I had found it with this advertisement from the March 1929 issue of Parents' magazine:

(Jason "Textile" Scott's Flickr via Mental Floss)

A genuine photograph of the THE LAUGHING CAT! "Ha, Ha, Ha, It must be so" indeed! But this incredible archival find was soon surpassed in my research: incredibly, there were even earlier lolcats to be had. Oh the glorious day that I stumbled upon the work of Harry Whittier Frees, the progenitor of lolcats! Here is Frees' wonderful photo of kittens in an airship:

(Pronto's Flickr via Brass Goggles)

Major LOLs for sure! But dear colleagues, there was an even more thrilling discovery to be made: Frees' 1905 photo of a cat demanding dinner:

(My Cat Wears Clothes via I Can Has Cheezburger?)

Truly, the earliest extant lolcat. Admire its beauty, laugh at its humor, appreciate the weight of history on your computer screen. Of course, there are even earlier lolcat examples, but (as an accredited expert!) I can say definitively that these are ancestors rather than the genuine article. Check out this ad from a Boston-based company in the 1800s:

(via Daily Kos)

Unfortunately, my life's astounding work has been co-opted by organizations such as G4tv, who have adapted my dissertation for the silver screen:

:sigh: I can still rest well knowing that I have immeasurably added to the fount of human knowledge. Thank you...thank you...