M. Chat (also known as Monsieur Chat, Mr Chat or Thoma Vuille) is the name of a graffiti grinning cat that appeared in Orléans, France in 1997 and then in Paris and other European cities around 1997 and 2001. The graffiti appeared most frequently on chimneys, but has been sighted in other places such as train platforms as well. It has also made appearances at political rallies. The yellow cartoon cat is characterized by its large Cheshire Cat grin. The cat is most often portrayed in a running pose, but has also been variously depicted waving signal flags, bouncing on a ball, sporting angel wings, and waving in greeting at the entrance to a train station.
A 2004 documentary by filmmaker Chris Marker, Chats Perchés (titled The Case of the Grinning Cat in English), used the phenomenon of M. Chat’s appearance across France as a springboard for a reflection on the state of the country post-9/11. When the film was shown at the Pompidou Center, an enormous version of the cat (50x30m) was temporarily painted at the plaza outside.
Following this big event the author of the yellow cat is regularly invited to travel all around the world to participate to different art events.
Since the beginning, Thoma VUILLE wanted to remain anonymous. But in March 2007 at the age of 30 year old he decide to officialize his status of international street artist. During painting he let the local police capture him and asked the mayor of the city to either recognize or destroy his paintings. The city of Orleans help him to manage the celebration of the ten years old of his grinning cat and to close underground activities.