It was just another day for Muffles, an area cat who enjoys squirrel watching, scratching his favorite armchair, and CrossFit.
That idyllic life ground to a halt when he discovered a new website.
“He stepped on the keyboard by accident,” says Walter Kratt, a source close to the situation. “It must have loaded a bookmark.”
The site in question is called This Cat Does Not Exist, and it uses artificial intelligence (specifically a generative adversarial network, or “GAN”) to create incredibly realistic images of cats that don’t exist in real life.
“Muffles refreshed the site a few times and … there he was,” Kratt explained, holding back some emotions.
Looking back from the Web browser was a picture of Muffles himself, down to every fine whisker.
“He’s freaking out right now,” says Kratt, who stepped in to support Muffles at this difficult time. “I mean, I’m pretty sure he’s real. He’s right here next to me. But being generated by AI puts a lot in doubt.”
Muffles himself could not be reached for comment, but his family says he’s taking the time he needs to come to grips with a new phase of his life.