Bento, an alleged “distant relative” of the 1980s video artist and woman cat pianist Fatso, whose performance persona became popularized in the late-aughts as “Keyboard Cat,” has died. (Surprise!! Keyboard Cat has been dead this whole time. SURPRISE!! Keyboard Cat was a woman).
The ancestry (from Know Your Meme) is likely lore, since in his in memoriam, Bento’s (and Fatso’s) owner Charlie Schmidt says that Bento was adopted in 2010 from a shelter. Bento’s schtick piggybacked on the piano stylings of Fatso, though he used the tools God gave him and branched out into many performance arts, eventually finding commercial success of his own. He was in a pistachio ad, spoofed Banksy’s documentary, and made the Guardian’s 2013 “Best 10 Cats on the Internet” list.
With great success came litigation, as it does, and owner Charlie Schmidt copyrighted the character and sued both a T-shirt company and Warner Bros over use of the Keyboard Cat image. Bento was represented by the manager of Grumpy Cat and others, according to Wikipedia, which is as good a source as any for a legend who loomed large in the Internet’s imagination.
It was a wild ride. And for what? Humans bore witness to their brief lives. It’s Keyboard Cats’ world, and we’re just living in it.
The creature also gave a name for what cats do when they walk all over the GOD DAMN keyboard.
Keyboard Cat I and II are survived by all other cats which are all lovable and more or less interchangeable.