Heavy breathing refers to a popular reaction image macro format, depicting an overweight cat paired with the titular captions.
It is primarily used to express excitement and a deep desire, or a great distress.
While the exact origin of the “Heavy breathing” meme is not known, it started appearing as a derivative of the Intensifies meme during the summer of 2013, predominantly on sites like 4chan, Reddit and Tumblr.
Its popularity rose rapidly in that period and by early 2014, it was already a common sight on numerous websites.
By March 2014, the “Heavy breathing” meme became one of the most recognizable descriptive noise memes, appearing on sites ranging from Reddit, Tumblr and 4chan to Twitter, Imgur, iFunny and 9GAG.
While the captions were mostly paired with the well-known image of the Chonky cat, it also spawned countless derivatives, with image macros of Darth Vader from Star Wars or Heavy from Team Fortress 2.
Although the meme is not nearly as popular as it used to be, it remains one of the iconic evergreens of internet humor.