Optical Illusion of 'Floating Cat' Stuns Internet: 'Puss-essed'

A picture of a cat apparently "floating" over a sofa has gone viral on the internet, leaving people stunned and wondering if what they're seeing is true.

The picture was first shared on the sub-Reddit r/confusing_perspective on Sunday, by a Redditor who goes by the username Flamind666 and has so far reached over 18.7k upvotes and almost 100 comments.

The post features the picture of a cat lying on a sofa in a way that makes it look like it's floating, a shadow nearby and a caption that says: "Floating cat?"

To clear the air, the poster explained in a further comment that the shadow doesn't belong to the cat: "[it] is from a phone of someone taking the picture."

According to eye care blog Clear Eyes, optical illusions and the theories behind them can be traced back to Greek philosophers in the 5th century BC. It was Plato who surmised optical illusions work because they rely on the senses and the mind.

The blog explains that optical illusions work because "our brain needs a little rest, so it devised a few shortcuts along the way."

Things like colors, shadows and perspectives help the brain understand what it's seeing, so your brain starts to form an opinion based on these clues, and if the clues are optical illusions designed to induce things like lateral inhibition pareidolia (seeing faces in inanimate objects) or Troxler's effect (things in peripheral vision to fade), then the brain ends up fooled and confused.

Most Redditors joked that the cat, like any other cat, has superpowers and is indeed capable of floating, among all its magic skills. Simply2Basic commented: "It's black (cat) magic!!!" ILikeSpaghetti64 added: "This cat is obviously into the dark arts. No other explanation." AshTriton wrote: "Cats are divine beings - Ancient Egyptians."

Referring to the poster comment explaining the shadow question, HashBrown2231 answered: "nah that's catto being retrieved by the catto gods." LeaveThatCatAlone said: "I could be wrong, but I think they said that because they believe it's a stain and not a shadow."

MrInopportune added: "I think they said that because they know the cat is floating, is magic, and is creating that shadow," while Jombica said: "Possessed or puss-essed."

IncarnationHero joked: "That is what your cat tell you to say." And amusedBrownie404 answered: "Don't believe his lies."

Irjakr said: "Cover the shadow with your hand and look at the rest of the picture." CleoFinn answered: "You can explain it to me all you want, my eyes still refuse to believe you." And ALiteralRaccoon answered: "okay this one legitimately hurts my brain."

Other users suggested the picture had been altered. Seashard5602 said: "The cat still looks photoshopped in lol." KriisJ added: "I agree. I'm by no means an expert but this image looks photoshopped."

YourMama commented: "If you cover up the shadow and just look at the cat on the couch, the cat looks more normal. Like it's just a kitty lying on a couch and not a cat floating away into oblivion getting pulled by a UFO lol." Suchap1e added: "No it's floating."

I_hav_gum_on_my_shoe joked: "When the kitty gets into Your personal catnip stash..." And PussSlurpee added: "He has ascended, Meow-allelujah."

Newsweek has reached out to Flamind666 for comment.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? We want to see the best ones! Send them in to life@newsweek.com and they could appear on our site.

cat on the sofa
A picture of a cat, apparently floating, went viral leaving the internet stunned. A stock image shows a cat sleeping on a sofa. Getty Images