This Missing Cat Poster Optical Illusion Is Perfectly Sinister


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockJun 13 2018, 15:13 UTC

Creepy, but not complicated. Max Tiseyko via YouTube

With the exception of that now-legendary skyscraper-topping raccoon, the world is a nightmare, full of deadly volcanic eruptions and weird-as-hell authoritarian-flavored photo ops. Thankfully, Mashable has got you covered: they’ve spotted a rather marvelous optical illusion uploaded by Max Tiseyko to YouTube, and shared by a Reddit user, that will – for the briefest of moments – distract you from all the literal and metaphorical flames around you.


We’re not entirely sure if a description is necessary, but for those of you who are not in wifi range to click on the video, here it is: as you move left and right, the face and eyes of the cat look like they’re turning to watch you.

Sadly, this particular illusory effect isn’t anything particularly complex.

This is no “Yanny of Laurel,” a now-infamous auditory illusion that generated furious debate and plenty of possible explanations, which mainly focused on whether you are more attuned to the higher or lower frequencies of the audio clip. The best of these, by the way, was by Vox, who essentially used this viral clip to form a strangely melancholy thesis on how our individual interpretations of reality are fairly arbitrary. With this in mind, we all die alone.

This is also no “Brainstorm or Green Needle” – a short audio clip whose words changed depending on which ones you had just thought about or read. This has been attributed to the McGurk Effect, wherein your brain can be fooled into hearing different things depending on any visual stimuli you’re engaged with at the time.


This isn’t even close to the optical wizardry that’s tumbled out of the mind of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a professor of psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan who frequently produces images that’ll break your mind a little. One of these featured a series of concentric circles that, if you stare at them, appear to be a spiral.

Thanks to the wiggly forms of the lines, and the alternating black-white pattern, it appears that we aren’t staring at a collection of circles, but a monochrome, vibrating staircase into the deepest, darkest pits of the underworld.

No. We aren’t sure that this illusion will join the pantheon of legends in this sense, probably because its explanation isn’t actually down to anything particularly baffling. The poster of the cat has been stuck onto a concave section of the metal fence. The angle of the surface is therefore ever-changing, so when you move around, you’re seeing the face from another flat surface from your perspective.


That’s all. Now, feast your eyes on these trippy illusions and then let’s get back to all that fire and fury, shall we?

[H/T: Mashable]

  • cat,

  • optical illusion,

  • missing,

  • poster,

  • concave,

  • simple explanation,

  • not exactly the best