The Toby brand began in 2006 based on two observations:

1. My cat Toby was awesome. Toby had a fan group on Flickr and had been in a popular lolcat. Toby had appeal that leapt from the screen.

2. In caps the word TOBY looks similar to the word OBEY.

I was taking regular pics of Queen Street West so was very aware of Obey Giant stickers. If I didn’t notice a sticker on the street I’d see it reviewing the day’s shots.

My photo above was used in Exit Through The Gift Shop, the 2010 street art doc by Banksy, in a sequence showing Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant stickers all around the world.

I had to take the picture because there was an actual giant in the Le Chateau window! Posters for Reg Hartt screenings brand the scene as specifically Toronto.

A few Toby t-shirts and mugs were sold, even a few stickers, but it was still early times for digital printing services and quality was uneven. These services have improved greatly so maybe there will be new gear and designs in the future.

Toby lived an enthusiastic life from 2004 to 2015. Toby lived much of his life on-line, with 10,000 followers on Twitter when cats ruled the Internet. (twitter icon @toby_cat)

Toby was loved by admirers around the world. Here is his most successful lolcat, and more classic Toby moments:

Toby’s joyful lolcat performance was a hit on I Can Has Cheezburger.

Toby checking his mentions.

Dare to be happy.

Toby, Tobi, Tobé


Toby loves this sink.

Self-portrait with Toby, April 2008.

©Kevin Steele. More to come.

instagram icon Toby Cat Has a Posse