Even if you don't hang around on chat boards or other dark corners of the internet, you've probably seen a "LOLcat" or two. The "LOL" is parlance for "laugh out loud", of course, and "cat" is for... um... "cat". Over the past few years, it's been terribly popular to take pictures of kittens, walruses, or other animals and caption their thoughts ignoring all manner of grammar and syntax. Like other classic one-panel comics, LOLcats can be hysterical or deeply obscure. They are also insanely popular. It is with a somewhat envious finger I point you toward the traffic that sites like icanhazcheeseburger.com get these days, but LOLcats aren't really a new phenomenon at all.
I found a postcard from the 1950's that also puts words in kittens' mouths. In this case, there are no odd misspellings, nor does the viewer need to have any foreknowledge of World of Warcraft or sea lion buckets. We can travel back in time even further that that. How about an old sepia toned postcard from 1905 featuring a dressed up (also hungry) kitten? When you think about it, this whole LOLcat thing is just a new name for an idea that's been around for a long time. Before someone brings it up in the comments section, I think that it's debatable whether the "Hang in there!" suspended kitty poster would count as a LOLcat since the caption isn't an internal dialog.
It's safe to say that a lot of us speak to our pets, and they may sometimes "talk" back to us... c'mon, don't be ashamed - we all do it! My ferret speaks to me in a Russian accent about wanting more pizza sauce, and I know I'm not the only one. With the ubiquity of digital cameras, the ease of uploading modified pictures onto the internet, and the irresistible urge to try to figure out what our pets are thinking, it's easy to see why this LOLcat thing is so popular. After all, they've been around for more than a century.