Dorchester — Senior citizen Phyllis Milner has, to the surprise of herself and her family, become the proud owner of a successful Internet meme site just months after her grandson Liam taught her how to use a computer. The creation of the site is best described in Milner’s own words:
“I saw on my emails that someone had sent me a link to a website called ‘Cheeseburgers.’ It had all these darling pictures of cats, and the writing on the pictures showed what they were thinking. Most of them were thinking about food of course, cheeseburgers or whatnot. So I thought to myself, ‘Well, Phyl, you have enough time on your hands, and more than enough cats, so why don’t you go and make your own cat website?’”
And that she did. Milner used the more than 25 feral cats that she regularly feeds in her barn as models and created the Internet’s first feral cat meme website. The process was slightly more difficult than she expected.
“I made the website easy enough; anyone with 2 brain cells in their head can make a WordPress site,” said Milner. “But getting a good picture of my kitties, that was harder. I fell over and nearly broke my hip trying to get a picture of Old Tuna Fish Steve.”
Eventually she managed to lure Steve out using — you guessed it — tuna fish, but taking the snap is just the first step in the process of crafting a certified Milner feral cat meme. Once she’s taken the picture, Milner likes to conduct an in-depth interview with the homeless feline.
“See, these cats have a harder life than the cats on that other website. They’re not thinking about cheeseburgers, they’re thinking about whether they’re going to have a next meal at all. You can see just by looking in their eyes the pain and hardship they’ve gone through.”
For this reason, some of Milner’s memes have been described by Internet commenters as “dark” and sometimes even “deeply depressing,” especially when she forgoes the usual cute animal-speak for plain English. Milner doesn’t agree with this assessment.
“That’s just the way life is, you know. These little guys live day to day. They don’t know if they’ll wake up the next morning or not. I think that’s kind of liberating in a way. So I don’t take those kinds of comments too seriously. Besides, Liam said ‘don’t listen to the haters, Gram,’ so I’m not.”
Rather than listening to the haters, Milner is enjoying the ad revenue coming in from her well-trafficked site, which she says allows her to upgrade the cat food she buys for Old Tuna Fish Steve and the gang to Premium Fancy Feast.
“Who knows?” said the Internet-conquering senior, “Maybe I’ll even make cheeseburgers for them sometime.”
Then she shook her head and laughed.
“Probably not. They all have intestinal worms so that’d be a waste of good meat.”