Toot.Cat has been online since 2017-03-05.
It was founded by @polymerwitch and administrated by @cyrinsong and @wavebeem, with moderation help from @ashkitten. In May, they created their own fork of Mastodon 1.4.1, mainly to improve the layout somewhat and create a special English variant called "Catspeak" (code: en-TC) which replaced "boost" (reblog), "favorite", and "mention" with "bap", "boop", and "meow at".
The team soon found itself overwhelmed with IRL responsibilities, however, and site maintenance declined. This started to become a problem when Mastodon 2.0 was released and Toot.Cat (which was still running 1.x) could no longer DM (direct message) most other instances; it finally became critical on approximately December 30, 2017, when the SSL certificate failed to auto-renew and the site became unreachable for most users.
I (woozle) then offered to help with admin duties, to which @polymerwitch responded enthusiastically that she'd be happy to just have someone take over hosting and administration completely.
The transfer took place in early January, 2018. I requested the aid of @firstname.lastname@example.org in doing the upgrade to the then-current Mastodon version, as well as fixing the SSL issue, both of which she accomplished smoothly and quickly.
Recognizing the need for some more easily-referenced online presence, I set up a companion wiki (mew.toot.cat, what you're reading now) on 2018-03-30.
Xenon Fiber joined the op team in 2020, replacing others who needed a break.
- toot.cat: Mastodon entry page
- 2017-06-21 Federating With The Trouble - Running Decentralized Communities (archive.org) "As moderators and admins of a mastodon/gnu social instance called Toot.Cat we were quickly propelled into navigating the strange new world of decentralized community stewardship." at Open Source Bridge (in Portland, OR), 2017 edition (#osb17)
We also operate a Hubzilla instance at hub.toot.cat.as of January 2021, this is having issues and is unusable.
- @LottieVixen joined the admin team sometime in the early weeks of 2018, and did excellent work migrating (from the original server image set up by the founding team) to a new system. (Lottie is still an admin but is not currently active as a mod as of late 2020.)
- @kity (formerly @ashkitten) rejoined the team (this time as an admin, having been only a moderator previously) in mid-August, and performed a lot of upgrade-and-optimization work in a very short span of time. (ash is still a mod but is taking an extended hiatus from the fediverse as of late 2020.)