As law enforcement authorities in Brussels tracked down suspected terrorists, they asked locals to refrain from using social media to post about police whereabouts.
The internet responded in the best way possible: cat memes.
According to NBC News and USA Today, Belgian authorities placed the nation’s capital on lockdown on Saturday, Nov. 21. They believed there was a “serious and imminent” threat of an attack, similar to the attacks that occurred in Paris a week earlier.
As Belgian police began scouring the city for individuals suspected of having connections to ISIS, the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown started trending on Twitter.
Belgian police began asking residents in Brussels for an incredibly difficult favor: If you see us out on the street, don’t tweet about it.
When the lockdown grabbed headlines of every major news outlet across the world, who could let a trending hashtag like #BrusselsLockdown go to waste?
Since Brussels residents decided to help law enforcement officials and not tweet about police movements, they began to post pictures of cats under the hashtag.
The exact connection between furry felines and Brussels is still not clear, but once it caught on, there was no point in questioning it.
“This, dear, outsiders, is how we fight terrorism here. They haven’t got a chance! We haz kittens!” tweeted @Gilles_PPDE.
“Don’t worry super cat is here,” tweeted @amitbhatr, along with a picture of a cat in a Superman costume.
While the cat tweets may have been more for entertainment purrrposes (pun intended), the online silence likely helped police forces quite a bit.
By Sunday evening, 16 people were arrested in a series of raids. As the Associated Press reported, several attackers in Paris had lived in Brussels, so officials weren’t surprised to hear that one alleged attacker had sneaked back in.
ISIS might have mustard gas.
It might have 22-ton vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.
But when it’s up against cat memes, terrorism doesn’t stand a chance.