What kind of cat is Big Floppa?

‘Big Floppa’ or just ‘Floppa’ is the name given to a domesticated caracal – a medium-sized wild cat. The name ‘Floppa’ is a reference to the ear tufts sticking out of the ear flaps which for the caracal they flop ver due to their length.

The caracal has the ability to jump higher than any other cat in my estimation. They are sometimes domesticated as their character lends itself to domestication. The species has been used to go hunting with people for centuries in Asia. The phrase ‘cat among the pigeons’ comes from caracals chasing pigeons on hunting trips in years gone by.

Note: there is no sexual context in this article. I understand that there may be some sexual connotations in the word ‘floppa’ but this is coincidental. I am writing about a cat called ‘Big Floppa’. I have to mention the name!

Big Floppa’s real name is ‘Gregory’. Big Floppa is a meme. It guess it comes from the floppy, tufts of black hair sticking out of the top of a caracal’s ears. In cat fancy language they are ‘lynx tipped’ ears (after another wild cat called the lynx). In the real world it is believed that these hair tufts are used for communication between caracals or they enhance the hearing by enlarging the ear flap (pinnae).

Gregory the tame caracal pet cat aka Big Floppa with his domestic cat friend probably a Maine Coon
Gregory the tame caracal pet cat aka Big Floppa with his domestic cat friend probably a Maine Coon. Photo: Instagram.
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That’s the boring technical stuff out of the way. So Big Floppa is a meme. What’s a meme? Well to me it is a trending idea, something which catches on and which internet surfers use as a basis for modified versions of it to entertain themselves.

As a meme Big Floppa was started on Instagram on 23rd December 2019 by user ‘prozhony’ when they posted a photo (see above) on the social media site of their caracal Gregory lying on a window sill next to a true domestic cat that looks like a grey tabby Maine Coon. Maine Coons also have tufts of hair coming out of the tips of their ears. So, the owner likes that feature.

The original posting kicked off a ‘collective of Instagram ironic meme accounts’ (knowyourmeme.com). And so, this meme commenced. One Instagram user used the word ‘sahr’ and the phrase ‘big sahr’. A made-up word and phrase, I guess. That is the way memes develop.

This evolved to the point where another Instagram user named ‘young.taxi’ coined the description ‘Floppa’ or ‘Big Floppa’. The name caught on and the rest is history. It caught on because it was a good and cute description of a caracal’s ears.

Meme version of Big Floppa
Meme version of Big Floppa. Image in public domain.

Subsequently the modified name of ‘FLOP Exclusive’ was posted by user ‘tfosing’. They photo-edited the photo of Gregory by removing the ears. Big deal. It looks horrible to me.

The meme spread from about April 2020. The meme was extended to refer to other medium-sized wild cats with floppy ears: the lynx. It also referred to servals but they don’t have lynx tipped ears. They do have big ears though!

Then from May 2020 the meme journey through YouTube, Reddit and iFunny as well as Instagram. A subreddit was created ‘r/bigfloppa’ on June 4th 2020.

That’s it really. Big Floppa is a caracal. Note: In my honest opinion (no one cares) caracals or any other wild cat make bad pets. They are not true domestic cats. You can’t make them into true domestic cats because it has taken 10,000 years for domestic cats to evolve into what they are today. It takes time. Just taming a caracal does not make the animal a good pet. Exotic? Yes. Good companion animal? No.

PS: one last thing. The picture of Big Floppa on Wikipedia shows the cat to be overweight. Not surprising because once you make a caracal captive you force them to be massive unactive for the species. And their feeds them too much.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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