In the year 1906, people might have had no idea what the word “meme” meant, but they sure did know very well that cats and dogs could be put into funny settings. These hilarious images by American photographer Harry Whittier Frees are probably one of the earliest known examples of cat memes in history. It all started in 1906, when during a Birthday party a cat managed to get a paper hat on its head, causing laughter among the gathered. Harry picked up the idea and decided to follow through with photographs.
For these photographs, Harry dressed the cats (and sometimes dogs) in tiny outfits sewed by his mother. Harry himself stayed behind the lens, waiting patiently for the right moment to capture the photograph. The images were a big hit, showing up in several publications, calendars, post cards and magazines around the world.