A Persian cat waits to be examined by a referee during an international feline beauty competition in Bucharest, Romania, Sept. 29, 2012. More than 200 felines entered the contest which was significantly less enjoyed by the cats than by the many visitors. Vadim Ghirda/AP
Sphynx cats Rapheal (l.), 2, and 5-month-old Madeline are displayed during the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Meet the Breeds event in New York Oct. 21, 2012. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
A cat up for adoption reaches out to paw the camera Oct. 19, 2012, at the Johnson County Animal Shelter in Franklin, Ind. Thanks to the shelter's efforts, fewer cats and dogs have had to be euthanized in the past two years. Daily Journal Scott Roberson/AP
Robin Hendrickson stretches out her Maine coon cat, Stewie, outside her home in Reno, Nev., in 2009. Stewie was accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest cat at 48.5 inches. Andy Barron/Reno Gazette-Journal/AP
A Chinese man holds up his pet cat during a cat show in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province, Oct. 22, 2011. AP
A .44-pound runt kitten named Cheddar fit into a 16-ounce coffee mug in June 2011. He now weighs 7-plus pounds. Kristin Ramsdell/Black and White Orange Cat Foundation/AP
A boy and his cat, both dressed in pirate costumes, pose at a regional cat exhibition in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Oct. 14, 2012. Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters
A cat peers from behind a fence carrying a warning sign at dusk in Bucharest, Romania, Nov. 16, 2010. The sign reads 'Attention! Aggressive dog.' Vadim Ghirda/AP
Harry enjoys a catnap inside a fabric tunnel Dec. 8, 2002, in Sherborn, Mass. He was adopted from a cat shelter with his brother. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Ashley Freeman and Alex Calhoun cook dinner together at their apartment as their cat, Borg, watches in Somerville, Mass., on Jan. 29, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
Teens seem to understand best what turns images into internet sensations. As one mom grapples with the logic of how a Target clerk image has spread like wildfire, her young sons help explain: there is no logic involved.
Grumpy cats, kids making faces, and an unwitting guy named Alex who works at a Target store all share the unpredictable embarrassment of riches of having become famous overnight thanks to having their picture strike hashtag gold.