The internet has long held a theory that the world we live in is a simulation. A staple of science fiction, the theory was detailed in a 2003 paper by philosopher Nick Bostrom and was the central premise of the 1999 movie The Matrix.
While scientists in 2017 debunked the simulation theory, the amusing idea of a “glitch in the Matrix” continues to intrigue people around the world.
One Redditor’s simulation-theory moment has amused the internet this week when they shared a picture of four identical cats from their neighborhood.
Shared on Thursday on Reddit, user ArtfulPandora posted the picture of three cats with the caption: “For weeks [I] kept seeing what I thought was the same white cat everyday, but like a ‘glitch in the Matrix’ it was impossibly everywhere. I thought maybe it was two cats just never spied at the same time. Then that seemed impossible. Then today my questions were answered…”
The post on the popular Reddit forum r/Cats has delighted internet users, gaining over 52,000 upvotes and hundreds of comments.
“This is one of the best cat posts I’ve seen in a while. Thanks for the laughs,” said one Redditor. Another wrote: “Mind games, presented by the white cat crew.”
“Mystery solved!” wrote another Redditor, which prompted the original poster to reply: “I thought I was going mad! I’d see one cat cross the road, the same cat cross the road a moment later, then step outside and have the apparent same cat be sitting on the sidewalk.”
Other users were shocked to learn that there were, in fact, four cats in the image. With one white cat in the foreground, the background features three identical cats bunched closely together—easily mistaken for two cats.
ArtfulPandora said: “[I] didn’t even realize there were four until I looked at the picture and saw it peaking out,” while another commenter wrote: “Didn’t even notice the fourth one until I looked closer.”
In fact, all four of these cats are pretty special thanks to their distinctive white appearance. White colored cats are actually quite uncommon and very unique. There are two main genes that can cause cats to have a white coat—the DW or dominant white gene and the W or white spotting gene which actually masks the real color of the coat creating a white appearance. These genes are also known to cause hearing impairments in many cats, meaning white kittens are more likely to suffer some hearing loss or deafness.
Another Reddit user delighted over the image, writing: “This gave me a good hearty chuckle. Excellent post (and beautiful cats!). Also, finding the fourth cat was like playing Where’s Waldo.”
Another user wrote: “When meow-quadruplets decide to mess with your sanity.”
Newsweek has reached out to ArtfulPandora for comment.