‘Shopped or Not? A Handy Guide

From time to time, readers claim that some photos on our site are digitally altered, or ” ‘shopped,” in the common vernacular. What they may not know is that all photos featured in this blog undergo a rigorous screening process designed to weed out such deceit, and assure the viewer of genuine cuteness.

For a glimpse into this process, let us consider the image below. The casual viewer may be quick to declare this a forgery, pointing to the curious lack of shadows beneath the squirrel’s paws. However, this can be easily explained by the clouds in the background diffusing the sunlight. Verdict: Not ‘shopped.

In this comical scene, the meerkat on the left appears to have been stretched to a height taller than the others, and it’s tempting to believe that it has been cloned from the similar meerkat on the right.  However, a closer inspection of their faces and hand positions reveals that they are unique. Verdict: Not ‘shopped.

Finally, let us turn our attention to this scene of urban chaos. Sharp-eyed viewers will note that an overturned vehicle in front of the cat has been duplicated in reverse just to its right. In addition, the cat’s front paws are too far apart to hold the taxicab, which has obviously been substituted for a much larger vehicle, such as an ambulance or FedEx truck. Verdict: This looks ‘shopped.

Credit: Squirrelzilla by Genista. Meerkats submitted by Victoria M.



  1. Not shopped 🙂

  2. Thank you for making my day (night – its 2 AM here). Including the header made just for today!

  3. O NO (he/she/or it) DI'UNT!!!!! says:


    NONE, I tells ya!!!!!

  4. O NO (he/she/or it) DI'UNT!!!!! says:

    (woe is me)


    (playing a somber Blues riff….)

  5. So this is how the world will end? By fur? What a way to go! Yay!

  6. Shoop-de-whoop!

  7. 260Oakley says:

    Loving the meercat in the second photo. And I want to know who’s responsible for scooping Pawzilla’s box?

  8. Thank you for this handy, long-overdue guide. More examples, please?!

  9. Michelle says:

    Thanks for bringing tears (of laughter) to my eyes this morning. Too, too clever 🙂

  10. earlybird1 says:

    Pawzilla is looking mighty concerned. “How does I open it??”

  11. Rachael says:

    I seriously doubt any of them are ‘shopped, even the last one. They all look legit to me. 😀

  12. tee hee i just saw the April Fool & found hidden cuteness

  13. So … is the April Fool the reverse of rick-rolling? I never knew about rick-rolling… am I the only one? Rick Astley is kind of cute, but not as cute as a bunny

  14. Andi from NC says:

    Must say although Pawzilla is better from a technical point of view, the squirrel pic took me out. All of then are good – thanks for the laugh!

    By the way – LOVE the April Fool’s theme! When I first pulled up the website and not 1 or 2 but amazing FOUR shots of Rick Astley I was like “wuh???” – wonderful!! Excuse me while I go put on my leg warmers and get a fresh perm….

  15. Argyle Donkeypants says:

    I think this one makes the short list of my favorite posts ever. I wonder what crime the meer[cat]s are lining up for. Maybe excessive use of Sean Astin’s narration. Turn to the right!

  16. I wish I could recapture my reaction when I saw the header. My brain just couldn’t take it in. My world was upside down, inside out. All I could think was “But… but…”

    Then I saw the April Fool’s caption and nearly died laughing. And then saw the Shopped post and died some more.

    This April Fool’s entry needs to win an award!!!

  17. Seven Paws says:

    Hey, I think Pawzilla is on Third Avenue in the 50s! My office used to be right around the corner. Unfortunately nothing this cute ever happened there.

  18. Ah ha ha ha – can’t stop laughing. NOM-TOM you are the best kind of crazy!


  20. Brandi7920 says:

    ROFL I busted out laughing when I saw the hiding kitteh in the meerkat line up! Witness protection, indeed! And thanks a latte guys, now my co-workers know how I really spend the first 20 minutes of my work day. >.<

  21. Catzilla is the cutest monster I ever saw. I wanna be squashed by its furry paws.

  22. Pawzilla pic is clearly altered…the hairball he barfed out 3 blocks back has been ‘shopped out of the picture.

  23. I wouldn’t put it past a marmie kitten to adopt himself into a family of meerkats.

  24. Picture #2 looks like a police line up I immediately tough of The usual suspects but where is Keyser Soze?

  25. Hehe. I love these pics. Pure class. 😀

  26. Jess&Friends says:

    What? No one else regularly encounters giant monster cats?

  27. @Jess&Friends – I wish I had my old photo albums. I used to have pictures of my dear departed Toby climbing on top of, and wrecking, my childhood dollhouse. It looked like The Tabby That Ate Tokyo.

  28. How bad is it that it took me 5 minutes to SEE the kitty in the meerkat photo???

  29. Happy April Fool’s Day!

    But these are really adorable photos – keepers in my private collection

  30. But what about ottershops? THOSE ARE REAL, RIGHT?

  31. Theo…. You’re allowed to say “Fur” here…

  32. LOL Not Shopped! Snicker I love the squirrel ala kingkong in the first picture.

  33. -UUUUUUUUR!! 😈

  34. Hon Glad says:

    Catzilla is definately not shopped, I’ve stopped going home that way, cos of the havoc
    he reeks.

  35. I think Roger Corman should do a Catzilla feature.

    [I’ll call Crow and Tom and Mike and that other dude. – Ed.]

  36. Dude, you don’t know. That last pic is REAL. I was totally there and saw it!!!!1!

  37. It took me a while to see the second meerkat from the right was meerley a kat.

    And the rickroll really made me giggle.
    Am I the only person on the internet who thinks rickrolling is actually funny?

  38. Mousey Rick Rolling Rocks… Especially when you are the doer and someone else is the receiver!

  39. I love the godzilla kitteh!

  40. DINSDALE!!!!

  41. Luv Luv Luv this site especially today!!!!!!!!!!!! EXCEPT FOR the pics from National Geographic Ick!!
    Keep up the great work.

  42. 😆 Get those cars, kitty 😆

  43. i like them

  44. The last one’s a really good shop! Got the reflection and everything.

  45. Love Catzilla! Doesnt every one turn into one during Rush Hour!? Squirrel cute 2nd photo love kitties eyes but rest is kinda creepy.

  46. My mistake I thought they put kitty head on Tamones body.

  47. Designwench says:

    I have been checking out CO for a while now — and I do believe this has to be best post EVAR!!

  48. The meerkats are the cutest! I am catching up on the April Tom-foolery this morning.

    . . . and if that last pic is photoshopped, it’s by someone who is REALLY GOOD at it . . . I would never have guessed.

  49. chanpon says:

    You didn’t include an example on how to examine the pixels…

  50. Not That Mike The Other Mike says:

    Chanpon: To examine the pixels, you need to roll up your sleeves and point at the screen, as in this demonstration.

  51. Designwench says:

    Hey NTMTOM — do you have to wear a buttoned shirt with a collar, or will any long sleeved shirt do? Also, what if you are left-handed?

  52. Not shopped yes stopped 🙂

  53. am i right that the last one actually isn’t shopped, all joking aside? Like, isn’t that just a model of a city street, with a kitten let loose to play in it? I’m pretty sure it is…that there’s someone out there who specializes in those kinds of photos…

    [Nope, it’s just a really well-done composite. – Ed.]

  54. cute, funny, and at times, just plain weird!

  55. If kittens were this size, it is precisely what they would do.

  56. this is so cute
    i really like catzilla!

  57. LOL! Why do you think the last one is shopped? I wouldn’t be so sure.