Felines: The Internet’s Obsession With Cat Videos

If there is one thing to love about the vast internet, it is the abundance of cat videos. Not only are cats one of the most loved animal species worldwide, but they are also the most recorded ones. From YouTube videos and channels to Instagram pages, to Facebook groups dedicated entirely to cats, the lovable felines have taken the world by storm, and have no desire to let go. People even have blogs and vlogs dedicated entirely to their pet cats.

Of course, it would be wrongful of us to assume that the cats are our pets when in reality we are slaves to the furry monsters that according to scientific research may or may not have tamed themselves to fully benefit from human servitude. We ought to take a hint from the Egyptians who loved, revered, and worshipped cats as Gods and Goddesses, and thought them to be the guardians of the Underworld. It also makes sense that the oldest cat breed found is the Egyptian Mau, literally translating to Cat. Somebody probably heard a cat meow, and decided not to complicate things.

As of 2015, there were over 2 million videos, with about 25 Billion views. The most popular cat video on YouTube happens to be Nyan cat, whereas the most popular cat is box-obsessed Maru But what is it, that has influenced the media to be taken over entirely by the fuzzy felines?

There was an actual study conducted on cat video viewership, which revealed that these videos did have a positive effect on viewers. People who owned pets, or previously owned them were more likely to watch cat videos. People reported higher energy levels and increased feelings of positivity after watching cats online. Here’s what the study suggests:

“You might wonder: So what? Why does this study matter beyond its momentary entertainment value?

Well, we now spend more time with media than ever before. If – as my study suggests – part of that media diet includes cute pet videos, then it’s important to know how that specific genre impacts us psychologically if we want to truly understand the role of media use in shaping who we are.

Second, media is often criticized (sometimes rightfully so) for harming society – for making us violent, confused about science or even narcissistic. This study, though, indicates that media use can have a beneficial impact. Even a short-lived boost in one’s mood may help someone make it through a day or charge through an unpleasant task.”

According to Wikipedia, Jason Eppink, curator of the “How Cats Took Over the Internet” exhibition, explained: “People on the web are more likely to post a cat than another animal because it sort of perpetuates itself. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Jason Kottke considers cats to be “easier to objectify” and therefore “easier to make fun of”. Journalist Jack Shepherd suggested that cats were more popular than dogs because dogs were “trying too hard” and humorous behavior in a dog would be seen as a bid for validation. Shepherd sees cats’ behavior as being “cool, and effortless, and devoid of any concern about what you might think about it. It is art for art’s sake”

So it isn’t just because cats are simply adorable, and use their cuteness to get away with everything, but because they make us happy; I know I would prefer to giggle over cat videos than finish my assignments. Apart from that, cats taking over the internet really has helped a lot of people gain help not just felines, but other abandoned and/or sick animals and animal shelters.

Just admit it, first the internet, then the world. Cats will one day rule humans.

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