Picture of a Raccoon Holding a Cat

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FW: Did You Lose a Cat?

Raccoon Holding Cat Picture
Netlore Archive: Viral image circulating via social media shows a raccoon standing upright and holding a kitten or cat in its paws. Unknown, circulating via email

Description: Viral image
Circulating since: Jan. 2011 (this version)
Status: Fake (details below)

Text example:
Email contributed by Kathie J., Feb. 2, 2011:

FW: Did you lose a cat?
This is probably the most amazing picture of 2011!

Analysis: The Internet love-love-loves its cute animal photos so this viral image of a raccoon cradling a kitten in its arms packs a double wallop of adorable.

If you guessed it was Photoshopped, you're correct. Versions of the image have been circulating online since 2007, or thereabouts—sometimes with the cat, sometimes not, sometimes with a fire extinguisher, sometimes not.

The earliest version known version with the cat—because, apparently, a photo of a raccoon begging on its hind legs in a doorway isn't cute enough by itself—was posted in January 2011.

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Raccoon Without Cat, Standing in Doorway

Raccoon standing in doorway
Viral image

In one non-feline version of the photo, the raccoon stands in the door, next to which, a fire extinguisher appears mounted to the wall.

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Raccoon Standing in Doorway

Cute raccoon standing
Viral image

In other versions of the photo, there's neither a cat nor a fire extinguisher.