From cats with "earplane ears" to cats with "powerful auras," so-called tag groups organized around offbeat frames have breathed new life into the cute side of Facebook.
Joining this illustrious company is a new click fave, This cat is assembled I N C O R R E C T L Y, which reimagines contorted kittehs as hopelessly jumbled furniture — and their humans as flummoxed consumers unable to follow IKEA's illustrated instruction manuals, which themselves are iconic and endlessly parodied.
Like the "earplane ears" group, what has really elevated TCIAI are its ridiculous and creative captions filtered through a shared and ever-mutating glossary of jargon lifted from e-commerce startups and customer service scripts.
Exactly like such: "I seemed to have assembled my cat upside down, unsure how to correct." "Poke the belly. Sometimes this triggers a full reset."
In an interview conducted over Facebook Messenger, the group's founder, Christine Lawrence, explained its accidental genesis and growing popularity.
"I started the group in July of 2019, sort of as a joke. I can't remember which of the many Facebook cat groups I was in at the time, but I had commented 'this cat is assembled I N C O R R E C T L Y' on someone's post, and then decided I wanted to make it a tag group.
So I just kinda threw something together real quick, not thinking anyone was going to join it or use IG other than me."
"I had the assembly diagram turned sideways."
Fast forward to today and the group is poised to blast past the 10,000 follower mark, largely due to word of mouth and the power of the tagging tool.
"Whenever I see an incorrectly assembled cat somewhere, I get ready to tag it - but lately I see that it's already been tagged," Lawrence writes.
To keep the group from straying from its focus, she has established some ground rules and carefully curates the feed by approving all posts. She views TCIAI as an outlet for creativity and a reprieve from toxic headlines and naturally, she hopes to keep the group that way even as it outgrows its humble origins.
But enough of the chitter chatter, LET'S TURN TO THE CATS.
1. "I've been on hold with tech support for an hour - the murder module is stuck in overdrive and I can't reach the reset button without losing an arm. Troubleshooting has reached a dead end."
2. "It is not advisable to try to assemble a cat from mismatched, leftover parts. Please contact support."
""It is not advisable to try to assemble a cat from mismatched, leftover parts. Please contact support."
3. "Is your download still in progress?"
4. "I seem to be missing some parts. I contacted customer service and they told me they'll have them shipped out today!"
5. "Oh, good! You already have it in the sink. Sometimes they vacuum seal for shipping weight and it can leave the unit kinda floppy. Just turn on the tap and a simple splash of water should rehydrate and set your unit straight!"
6. "Oh, dear...I definitely seem to have done something wrong here..."
7. "Did you receive the base unit? Looks like you received all attachment pieces and nothing to plug them into!"
8. "I think I put the legs on backwards!" "Common mistake. There’s a thumb-sized button at the base of the floof rope, just tickle it and the unit will revert to default leggie positioning."
9. "Ordered cat, got bat. Waiting for refund"
10. "Fix is simple: Drop. Will land on feet and be fine. That’ll be $438.93."
11. "I think she came with the wrong size tail." "Nope. You got upgraded to the super squirrel tail model. All the best cats have it."
12. "Uncertain why back leg is up there with front leg. Please advise." "You need to take it to the mechanic for a rear-end alignment and peet rotation."
13. "I’m loving my new Oscar unit but today I discovered he was shipped with extra neck. Standard and deployed neck photos provided for comparison."
14. "I got a new cat for Christmas but I think I accidentally threw away the box with the leggies, good thing I had some prosthetics available until the new ones come in"
15. "This cat is a ⚽️? I am so confused. Waiting to hear back from customer service."
16. "The transdimensional models have a known issue. Gotta really tighten those midsection bolts on panel C REAL good next time!"
17. "We order the LONG BOI unit and manufacturer included the toebean expansion pack for free! Those usually run about $100 a bean on eBay."
18. "Have you tried upgrading the firmware?"
19. "A bit fell off, do I just glue it back on?"
20. "This was a foster kitty. The family agreed to take her 'as is.' I guess they had the correct tools at home."