Smile Cat is a creepypasta that resembles a cat with a scary gaping smile.
It has round black eyes like dark pits on its forehead and a thick, long, and rubbery neck. The creepypasta also has triangular upright ears, whitish-grey skin, and thin vertical stripes of a darker shade of grey.
[Note: A creepypasta is user-generated horror genre content created and shared on internet forums and social media.]
Horror animator lights.are.off created the Smile Cat
Multiple sources identify the 3D horror animator lights.are.off as the creator of the creepypasta character.
Lights.are.off has a large following on Instagram (1.8M), TikTok (20.8M), and YouTube (1.71M). The TikToker, known for creating animated horror shorts, describes their mission as bringing “nightmares to life with 3D Animation!”
Smile Cat horror content is an online viral phenomenon
Lights.are.off first published content featuring the Smile Cat creepypasta on TikTok on September 14, 2021 (see YouTube below).
The animation, which received millions of views on social media platforms, shows the ghastly feline creature with stubby legs walking across the road in front of a car on a dark, foggy night.
Although Smile Cat looks like a cat, the creature moves with a strange equine gallop, accompanied by a clattering sound resembling hoofs on a hard surface.
As it walks across the road, it looks directly through pit-like eyes at the driver, with a macabre smile on its roughly circular face.
Moments after the horrific figure melts into the foggy background on the other side of the road, it re-emerges directly ahead of the driver. This time it gallops on pattering feet toward the car.
Its face splits into multiple ghastly visages as it closes in.
Another scene shows a person attempting to lure the horror cat with pet food. It is coy at first, but suddenly, its stubby legs elongate, and it charges forward to attack the person.
Smile Cat has featured regularly in the animator’s work since it first appeared in 2021.
The creation often features alongside the popular Smile Dog creepypasta in online content borrowing inspiration from the creator.
The Cheshire Cat
The Cheshire Cat motif likely inspired lights.are.off to create the Smile Cat.
Lewis Carroll popularized the mischievously grinning Chesire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).
However, historians report that Carroll borrowed the motif from popular cultural representations in mass media cartoons dating back to the 1700s.
The expression “grinning like a Cheshire Cat,” was widely used long before Carroll wrote and published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
However, Carroll’s version had distinctive features, such as the unnerving tendency to fade from view, leaving only its wide grin.
We find the wide grin unsettling because we interpret it as indicative of hidden malevolent intentions.
The gleeful smirk that lights up the face of the deranged schemer, the unhinged trickster, or the homicidal maniac contemplating evil world domination schemes, is a recurring TV and movie trope.