Business Cat's real name is Emilio. He was adopted from Brooklyn's BARC shelter in May of 2010. He had been found on the streets of Greenpoint and brought into the shelter a few days earlier. His eyes are always that big.
On the Christmas of 2011, we got a very special present – a cat tie from the Whisker Kisses shop on Etsy. I immediately put the tie on Emilio and snapped a few quick photos. He hated it – I could get him to "pose" only by shining a laser pointer behind the camera. That night, while I slept, he found the tie and dropped it in his water dish – the closest thing to a direct act of revenge a cat has ever achieved.
This is the original photo (click to enlarge). I took it and posted it on my Facebook wall. My girlfriend posted it on The Something Awful Forums. From there, the photo went viral. Some anonymous person cut Emilio out of the background and made a "Business Cat" meme on memegenerator.net. Within a few weeks, I began hearing from multiple friends that they had been sent "Business Cat" images from their friends, family, or co-workers. The image had come full circle.
I hadn't been involved in the meme aspect of Business Cat, but I soon realized that it would be foolish to allow its popularity to go to waste when it could possibly achieve some greater good. So, if you love Business Cat and want to support a good cause, donate to the BARC animal shelter. Tell them Business Cat sent you!
Legalese: Business Cat is protected under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. Feel free to do whatever you want with the image or idea, but no profiteers selfishly lining their pockets! Despite the repeated calls for donation, Business Cat is in no way affiliated with BARC shelter.