History of the Microsoft 'Ninja Cat on a Unicorn' (and how to get your own)

Last night, I posted on how to get a copy of the Microsoft 'Ninja cat riding a flame-breathing unicorn' sticker. Yes, you read that correctly. Just go with it.

Today, with my sober eyes a little bit more of the story is coming into focus, including some fan-created wallpapers, which I will give you the link to download directly.

However, first, some back story.

First up, it looks like the original image of a cat riding a unicorn goes back to a post on Deviant Art by an artist named Jason Heuser aka SharpWriter from late 2012. You can still download that, sans Microsoft Windows flag, from that site.

The image next made its way to a popular beer called 'Fantasy Factory' by Karben4 Brewing sometime in 2013. That beer garners a 92 rating on Beer Advocate, so evidently good stuff. Unfortunately, it is IPA, which means it might as well be dirt water (sorry I hate hoppy beers).

Sometime between then and now, someone over at Redmond modified the image further by adding the Windows Flag. For some odd reason, it is missing an Office and Bing logo. Regardless, the stickers were likely printed up by someone as an inside joke, probably starting over drinking that aforementioned beer. The stickers then began appearing online in various tweets.

In fact, I distinctly remember seeing Microsoft's Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President, Communications, tweet out the image back in December. Shaw is a rather prominent personality amongst media types, so someone so high up sporting one of these likely pushed the trend even further.

So what about the version on Redbubble? It is likely a copy (of a copy, of a reinvention, etc.). Rudy Huyn posted an image comparing both versions, and there are differences between the two. Still, for those outside of the US, shipping a few stickers from Microsoft's Campus Store was upwards of $70 (no joke).

Speaking of, the Microsoft Campus Store was selling two sizes of the stickers and a window decal (cling). However, they only had limited stock, and once we posted the link they quickly ran out. Due to the rising popularity we are sure they will somehow procure more.

Wallpapers of Ninja Cat

Not to be outdone, many in the community have taken to creating their own creations, which we will share here.

First up, Michael Gillett on Twitter shared some high-resolution wallpapers for your PC, laptop or Surface.

Download Ninja cat high-resolution wallpaper

Next, reader of the site Chris_Kez shared a Windows Phone Lockscreen version, now with Bing and Office logos to boot:

Download Ninja cat Windows Phone lockscreen wallpaper

Finally, Mike Hole on Twitter shared with us a smaller one for Microsoft Band owners. Using an app like Pimp My Band will let you set the image as your Me Tile, so you are covered.

Download Ninja cat for the Microsoft Band

Have you made a creation? Share it in comments with others! Don't forget to tweet out and share your devices to spread the word, because hey, it is almost Friday, right?

You can also still buy the knock-off sticker from Redbubble (opens in new tab). They take Amazon Pay and Paypal, making the transaction super easy.

Thanks, everyone, for helping contribute to this story in comments and on Twitter!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Hands down, this was the most ridiculous article I have written yet. Even I am surprised by my knowledge of something so trivial. So enjoy! :P (And to the haters who can't see how we are having fun with this, grab a Fantasy Factory beer and relax. Life is too short to ponder the whys about this craze).
  • So, are you saying that "haters" aren't allowed to express their opinions on WC❓
    Just asking.
  • I did interpret that. They will anyway tho
  • How else could you❓
  • Umm.... he is saying, say what you want. But...why would you even bother with it. It is a fun article and there is no reason to get worked up over something so silly.     Sorry if I spoke out of turn for you, Daniel.
  • We know what he's saying..... Basically.
    Don't ruin my fun, or I'll delete your comment.
  • He didn't imply that in any way. He is saying why bother with exactly what you are doing.   I don't even know why I am bothering with you. Does everything else in your life become the big deal for you like it does here? ugh, the drama in your life has to be insane.
  • No.. That's what I'm implying... Well, has been confirmed.
  • So... I found this...
  • The most epic pic I've seen in a while. God, I love the Internet!
  • http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/313/751/8c0.jpg   Still my Favorite
  • Yes, I'm ordering a few of these stickers :) I've been wanting them since I saw them popping up all over Twitter and in an article from The Verge.  Thanks Daniel!
  • LOVE IT!  Funny and goofy as hell.  I'm really digging this new MS. 
  • I once had Fantasy Factory at The Horseshoe. It's an okay IPA. Not a huge fan either. Bigger fan of Nyan cat and gold guns. The swag is on it's way.
  • So im confused... Is this just a thing that Microsoft is doing just cause or I there a joke or origin behind this?
  • Maybe for you it was ridiculous article but honestly , I really enjoyed it. Btw , I want that sticker so bad.
  • Thanks Daniel, this was fun. :)
  • very unfortunate you don't appreciate IPA's. I'm assuming DIPA's or Imperial IPA's are also out of the question. I'm very curious as to where you can get this beer now. Definitely not in Massachusetts.
  • This is the most important article I've ever seen, thanks Daniel :D
  • Thank You very much. Ninja Cat is on my Wife's Band and her Lumia 1020. Heeheeeheeee She is not happy, but made her laugh:D. Ninja cat, looks like our cat, but ours is a big chicken. I hope he never Rome around KFC, we might get Chicken Ninja Fried Cat :D
  • Apart from that I am really impatient for launch of dungeon hunter 5 its already march 13 in india and there is no news about its requirements so at least I can not have some false hopes. It's already out in android!!!
  • Do you have the sources of these images in psd?   Regards, Nicholls 
  • IPAs, my favorite beers among several others, like Imperial IPAs even hoppier or Stouts and Porters. Yummi!!
  • No IPA? Shame on you Daniel...it is an acquired taste though, so I understand.
  • Can't get into it. I like quads, barley wines, etc :/
  • Take a stab at the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA. One of the better cross-overs with IPA and Belgium hops. http://www.stonebrewing.com/cali/  
  • I can vouch for that. It's kind of similar to Chimay but slightly less stronger. To me both are super amazing brews. Definitely give the Stone a try. They make a (literal) ton of great beers.
  • Excellent recommendation. I almost spit my Brew Free or Die IPA all over the screen when I read that part of the article! Barley wines aren't really that good either..... I'd also like to recommend a fantastic black rye ipa called Wookie Jack by Firestone Walker.
  • Natty Light FTW
  • Earth to Echo...
  • Now we need a celebrity to wrap his/her car in this like DeadMau5.
  • Don't forget Jessica Alba ;)
  • IPA4life. Come on Daniel. :p
  • Daniel, Next time you are in Connecticut you have to let me buy you a Belgian ale from one of my favorite breweries. In fact, brews for anyone who can find me in CT.
  • Nice, I'm down with Belgian Ales big time!
  • I'll be in CT in May!!
  • Hooker, City Steam and Top Shelf are good CT beers. Top Shelf is tasty fresh.
  • There is a liqueur store by the Danbury Mall that I always go to.
  • I can imagine we will see an easter egg in Windows 10 RTM with this... 
  • That'd be amazing.
  • Ha! What a great idea. That would be cool. Shit. Think if they made it an actual background for the desktop. I'd put it on.
  • Will be great, really :D !!
  • So proud of this community. I think I'm going full fanboi
  • Be careful. Things get dangerous when you go full fanboy.
  • It is a slippery slope, but I think this sticker might've been the catalyst
  • You mean the cat-alyst?
  • I saw what you did there.
  • I already went full fanboy :) It's fun.
  • Someone could use Office Lens on WP, take a picture of the original one, and then we would have a true version of it!
  • They actually canceled my order and sent an email stating: ​"We are writing to inform you that Microsoft Corp. has decided, at this time, that only Microsoft employees will be allowed to purchase Windows NinjaCat merchandise.  As a result, the NinjaCat merchandise has been removed from your order.  You have not been charged for this merchandise."
  • Huh, that's lame. Mine seems to have gone through. Sorry to hear. Update: Nope, you're right. My orders have been "deleted". Lame.
  • They should give out free ones with every Lumia/Surface.
  • I'm curious why Microsoft made this decision. I think it's a unique product for their fans.
  • I smell a lawyer's involvement. Rather shocking, considering they can't figure out their store is not supposed to charge me sales tax.
  • Good thing I already saved those hi Rez images... ;)
  • Huh, didn't even want one until I read your comment. Now I do...
  • I can only assume the brewery got in contact with them about selling the image without any royalties or something.
  • Strange. I ordered last night from redbubble and it says it's in manufacturing currently.
  • Bought one today :))) can't wait. Although a lot of news out there today and WC seems demotivated :/
  • They need to make a Windows 10 cross platform game for this Cat yesterday
  • hello
  • Thank you! Was looking for hi res for TileArt
  • I feel like this is one of those things that is only cool when not very many people have them.  Once everyone has them, then they're not as special anymore.
  • Kind of like the internet, once it caught on, i'm so sick of it.
  • I have a feeling that this unicorn cat thing was manufactured by WPCentral as some sort of "high-demand" thing but it's really just a bunch of BS.
  • Except Microsoft employees have been tweeting and sharing about it for months now, which I've cited here. Also, the Verge did a story last week about it before we did, so nice theory, but... No.
  • I know right. Some people just don't put much thought into thinking.
  • I can't think about thinking, that requires thinking and I don't do that ish. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Mixed pickle in a glass bottle
  • I have it on my my lockscreen of my Samsung Galaxy S4, Looks really nice on it :)
  • Daniel, can you post a link for one of these wall papers that would work for my Icon. Im having a tough time finding one of the links, kinda ignorant to how to work this app. I only know how to get to the links when they are posted in the comments on mobile.
  • --> http://1drv.ms/1Dcel2e
  • Thanks Daniel. I really appreciate it!
  • Here I edited for smoother office & bing logo 1drv.ms/1Egm4Kk  Also come in white, but that's the best I can do
  • Daniel should put your link in the main article. The phone lockscreen version in the article is a real hackjob, but yours are great. Thanks.
  • thank you very much. yours are way better
  • Where to get the lock screen wallpaper?
  • New Windows 10 logo?
  • Glance screen and glance back ground app doesn't even work anymore. At least on Lumia 620.
  • It does, but these images are too large to use. You'll have to reduce the image size (in kilobytes) to use with glance. 
  • Exactly. . I have been trying to get their attention to this problem since a week now ... Its lame that it has affected so many phones like the 625 and the 820
  • This wallpaper looks awesome on W10 for phone background.. :D
  • Set it as lockscreen on my Icon. And I just ordered 6 stickers from Redbubble for like $8. Thanks for the links!
  • I'm not a fan of this kind of stuff yet... IMO, MS needs to get their act together besides showing us how they goof off at work all day long... We can see why they are in the position they are in..
    Just my opinion about the sticker, like it or not, and it's on topic..... So, if anyone has anything to say make it serious, no hateful, unnecessary comments.... That is if it's ok to express your opinion here in the US, on a US based site.
  • (-_-")???
  • Thanks for your opinion.
  • Oh now u want a serious, non hateful unnecessary comment. Smh. maybe start to do that for yourself, people would respond to u more in a decent way. "That is if it's ok to express your opinion here in US, on a US based site" Really? Who are u trying to Fool?
  • Prove your point.
  • I dont have to prove anything to u rod. I just made point, so read it again, at least try if u can.
  • Then why speak in the first place.... Next❗
  • What's the position they're in? Please elaborate. Or is this just a drive by never to see you again?
  • Are you serious❓ really.
  • Yes. I'm serious. Elaborate on what you mean by "We can see why they are in the position they are in".
  • Not going off subject like that.. Just accept it, think for yourself, or visit on of the many articles where I do elaborate... Do some research.. But, right now im just voicing my opinion about the sticker.... Do you not agree with it? Then just state why like dude did below.. Really simple
    Other than that it sounds like you're trying to start an argument... Not interested.
  • Read what you said. It was completely vague and it sounded like "I don't like this sticker just 'cause!!!". You're the one that has to better explain why you made the comment you made. You are asked to elaborate and the best you got is for me to "Just accept it". Accept what?? It's obvious you have nothing and are backtracking by having people "Just accept" your vague comment.
  • "Not a fan of this kind of stuff yet" "the position MS is in"....... Nobody else is having a problem perceiving that.... Come on, dude.. I know you're EXTREMELY smart. Quit playing dumb....
  • I think you are the one that needs to "Quit playing dumb". But then again you might not be playing. It's obvious you got nothing and talking you further would be like listening to a broken record. Good night rody.
  • SMDH....... Anyways.
    Perception issues. Wow❗
  • No one can fault you for your opinion. I had fun with it, though, and I'm glad to see lots of other people have too. We don't get a ton of silly feel-good stuff as WP fans. And you rarely associate Microsoft with things that are fun, and this one of those times. So let's enjoy it for the nice little distraction it is. If a few hundred Windows users have their heads a little higher or even just get an extra smile because they've got a sticker or wallpaper they like, then I think it was worth the few minutes.
  • Very, very nice❗ .... Thanks for the mature reply.. Rare around these parts..
  • lol you do really know how to piss off some users haha good job rodney.
  • Not trying.... This is how people in TheNile will always act... Not my fault. They should humble themselves.
  • Dude...you jst blamed MS's performance on a sticker...c'mon you're better than that and I like your opinions normally...but this time you sounded like one of those haters we usually find here looking for an excuse to put MS down...
    Would irk any MS fan don't you think?
  • Blame MS performance on a sticker❓........
    Wow, dude
  • "...goof off at work all day long. We can see why they are in the position they are in now."
    Umm...how else is it interpreted mate...? -_-
  • Okay, Rodney, I'm going to give you some constructive information here. As someone who has worked the corporate sector in upper management, one thing I learned is that the employees are more productive when they are allowed to have a little fun at work. We aren't talking all fun and games here, but when they can mix a bit of fun into their workday, they become happier people and happier people are more productive than discontent people.  In my opinion, Microsoft IS finally getting their act together. Before they can make US feel good about what they do, THEY have to feel good about what they do. That's why this pleases so many people, myself included. BTW, it takes no time at all to slap a sticker on a laptop. That doesn't constitute goofing off all day long at work. As far as someone creating that sticker, I'll bet it was done in spare time, like I made several styles of wallpaper with it today myself. Took me about 20 minutes of my own personal time to do it.  Why they are in the position they are in? What postion is that, Rodney? Microsoft is one of the largest, most successful companies in the world. IN THE WORLD! They are not losing money, either, like many other tech companies right now. They are making money. Lots of money. Yeah, I'd hate to be in that position...
  • You got some good points. Thanks for your opinion, and your efforts.
  • Well put! BTW, Microsoft has even better investment grade than Apple!
  • 'Bout time somebody else shut his ignorant BS down. 
    Great post. 
  • Someone needs to put a HoloLens on the unicorn! Now THAT would be epic.
  • Great idea :D
  • Challenge Accepted! https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=b32383e2cfe58a60!84828&authkey=!APE5iChLH9NBOZw&v=3&ithint=photo%2cpng Done with a transparent background so you can add it to any wallpaper, etc.
  • Nice!
  • Haha. I will be honest here. This thing singularly has pushed me over the edge to become a fanboy. No seriously. :D
  • Downloaded to laptop and phone. So happy right now
  • Can't we have soe of the wallpapers in that screengrab of OneDrive? I like those.
  • Daniel, a bunch of links are redirecting to the same page.
  • I noticed that as well.. But I do have the one hi res image, so now I can make my own wall paper designs with it... And have my own stickers made, if I were so inclined. 
  • Can you share the high res image please?
  • Sure... here you go.   http://1drv.ms/1wC6mcn    
  • Love it. :)
  • LOL! I love this story. Ninja-cat-riding-a-fire-breathing-unicorn FTW!!!
  • This is the ugliest thing I ever saw.
  • Just like marmite, you either love it or hate it :P.
  • Why is this a thing? Where did it come from? How can we kill it?
  • I might have to fire up Photoshop and fix the Office and Bing logos on the flag... They look like they were drawn freehand and in a hurry. :/
  • I've created a "cleaner" version of the all four logos. I have a clean, transparent hi-res PNG and a clean hi-res wallpaper with dark background. Check the post at: http://forums.windowscentral.com/off-topic-lounge/345668-ninja-cat-unicorn-wallpaper.html Feel free to use the images to make your own. Just be sure to download from the links with the cleaner PNG files, as the attached picture was converted to JPG and is compressed and ugly. Posted that about 10-1/2 hours ago. 
  • Nice work! Thanks!
  • They should make a game out of this.
  • lol.. they sold pretty darn quickly too. Abit surprised at the lack of the office or bing logo, however rhapdog has that already covered in the above link :D :D.
  • Awesome stuff!!!
  • Please, someone add Office and Bing logos to make the picture geeky perfect.
  • Check out rhapdog's post above^^^
  • Could we have a Ninja Dog on an Acorn now
  • 1. It's really weird that the internally developed Microsoft version omitted Office and Bing from the flag, all the more weird that Frank Shaw was rocking the sticker and didn't think it was weird. 2. I downloaded the fan-made one above that corrects the abovementioned omissions, and it looks better. 3. I agree that IPAs are way overrated. No gracias.
  • i feel i need the authentic one.
  • Now I can have it "in India" :P, set wallpaper, set lockscreen and print it paste it on my wall.
  • The "high-resolution" link and the "windows phone lockscreen" link are both pointing at the windows phone lockscreen image. Please fix the link for the high-res wallpaper.
  • Still unchanged. :'(
  • Why are the download links not links on my phone but they are on my PC?
  • Again, WHY is this even a thing?  I'd slap anyone I saw who had this on their device.
  • Why do you care if its a thing?  If you don't like it, ignore it and move along.  However you seem to feel a need to post in all the threads about this and say the same thing.  Also if you decided to slap me for having one on my device I'd be more than happy to call the cops and file assault charges on you.  Everybody is different and has different interests.  I happen to think the design is a nice distraction from what is usually all doom and gloom around here.  Many othere people are enjoying it as well.  Nobody is forcing you to like it, to download it, or to buy a sticker.  If you don't like it just ignore it.
  • long live ninja cat on a fire-breathing unicorn
  • By the way seriously you guys need to fix these layout and typography stuff, reading at here (and other mobile nation sites) is really unamusing
  • Here is my take on it , enjoy :) https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=725985f9a7a49265&id=725985F9A7A49265%21574099&sff=1&authkey=%21ALL2cTPEESJPasU&v=3
  • Ninja and cat don't go together. Cat and LAME do.   I so love it when dweebs try to align themselves with something hardcore. I got a Ninja sticker. Its on my f@$%in motorcycle. Kawasaki Ninja for the dweebs that don't have a clue!    
  • Cool! I wanted to set it as my glance background but the app doesn't seem to be working - anyone kno what's goin in with that app now?
  • I already ordered 20 stickers. (no kidding)
  • This is fun diversion from the serious of the day, the hand-wringing over ever Microsoft move and decision.  It reminds of the fun of this tech.  Ordered my 2 stickers from Redbubble.  Saw that they also sell a variety of t-shirts, v-necks, hoodies, etc with the logo.  Tempting.