'Still Jerks': Rare Colorized Cat Film From 1897 Shows Nothing Has Changed

Peanut butter and jelly, Bert and Ernie, Fred and Ginger—some things are just meant to be together, but is there a more iconic duo than cats and the internet?

And it turns out, cats were making their mark on the screen long before Grumpy Cat had a movie and LOLCats was a dialect. Rare, colorized footage dating back from 1899 has gone viral online for proving that times might change but one thing stays the same—cats are jerks.

The short clip was shared to Reddit's r/interestingasf*** section (which can be viewed here) on Tuesday by user B-L-O-C-K-S, along with the caption: "The world's first cat clip ever from 1899. "Little girl and cat". Colorized and speed adjusted."

The footage is actually a colorized version of a film called La Petite Fille et Son Chat (The Little Girl and Her Cat) by the Lumière Brothers, early innovators in both cinema and color photography. The pair are best known for inventing the Cinématographe and as rivals of fellow film pioneer Thomas Edison. Along with producing the first-ever motion picture, their films included everything from the streets of Paris to a snowball fight in Lyon.

In the video, a little girl in a sunhat is seen trying to feed a large furry cat. But what starts out as a friendly encounter on a sunny day in the garden soon turns into another example of cats being, well, cats.

The little girl feeds treats to a cat that jumps onto her hair chair. All is going well, until the cat decides it's had enough and runs away. But, a key thing to remember about cats is that they're indecisive, and it's literally seconds before the hungry feline is back for more. Except this time, he's a little too excited for treats, attacking the little girl's hand in the process.

Cat owners of Reddit could certainly relate, with the post receiving more than 20,000 upvotes and over 350 comments.

Circleofblood commented: "Wow. How times haven't changed at all."

Different_Pudding507 agreed, saying: "True. Victorian era cats did not give AF either."

207nbrown added: "There is no point in history where cats have a f***."

While Jew_biscuits said: "Cats were still jerks back in the day."

The girl in the video is Madeleine Koehler, who was roughly 5 years old at the time. She also appeared in several other of the Lumière brothers' early films, including Repas en Famille (Family Dinner) and Départ en voiture (Departure by Car), both filmed in 1896. La Petite Fille et Son Chat was filmed at her family home, 29 Rue Guilloud in Lyon, France. Little is known about her adult life and she died in Lyon in 1970 at the age of 75.

Others noted the striking resemblance between Madeleine and the character Matilda, played by Mara Wilson in the 1996 movie of the same name.

173trujillo joked: "You ain't fooling me this is from the Matilda deleted scenes."

Dugfunne agreed, saying: "Op gets 10 mins in the chokey."

Clearly, plenty of other Redditors agreed, with the comment receiving 1,300 upvotes.

Still, it wasn't long before the thread turned from cat and movie jokes to Redditors philosophizing about the passage of time.

As the SilkyZ put it: "People are people, no matter the era."

Shavemycoinpurse said: "Weird to think that the girl and the cat aren't alive anymore, if this is truly from 1899.. Very cool to see old videos like this. When I was a kid I though that everything was black and white and until my grandpa told me that it all looks the same as it did."

WestCoastBestCoast01 commented: "I always think waaay back like 130,000 years ago. It's hard to even imagine there were people back then, but there'd be like...teenagers with crushes on each other and really funny people and great dancers and grandmas who always had the best cooking."

Although the poster suggested La Petite Fille et Son Chat was the first-ever cat video, a commenter revealed that the honor actually goes to Professor Welton's Boxing Cats, filmed in 1894 (watch it here on the Library of Congress website). The clip was filmed in Edison's Black Maria Studio in West Orange, New Jersey, and features two cats wearing boxing gloves and fighting in a miniature ring.

Newsweek has contacted B-L-O-C-K-S for comment.

Screenshot La Petite Fille Et Son Chat
The 123-year-old footage showed that cats have always been jerks. A screenshot from the original 'La Petite Fille Et Son Chat' of a 5-year-old Madeleine Koehler feeding her cat. YouTube