A. Because we’ve been brainwashed by our secret feline overlords (duh).
In all seriousness, though, we’ve decided to pursue the answers to some of life’s important questions, like: Why are cat videos so popular? Why are we willing to waste** hours of our lives watching them? And why is Grumpy Cat so grumpy?
Thankfully, some of our favorite writers (Carl Wilson, Elena Passarello, Alexis Madigral, Jillian Steinhauer, Stephen Burt, Matthea Harvey, Kevin Nguyen, and more) have agreed to answer these questions and more in a book called Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, which we’re funding right now through our Catstarter.
A $20 pre-order gets you a copy of the book (with your name inside, disguised in a cat). There are also posters, a kitty totebag, and the opportunity to host the entire Internet Cat Video Festival in your backyard.
Plus, y'know, you’ll be helping make sure the writers are paid well for their work. Kick in for your very own copy today and spread the word by reblogging and sharing the news with your friends!
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think.
The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new study by an Indiana University Media School researcher.
The study, by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods. It was published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior. Lil Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, who lives in Bloomington, helped distribute the survey via social media.
“Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it’s one of the most popular uses of the Internet today,” Myrick said. “If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore.
"We all have watched a cat video online, but there is really little empirical work done on why so many of us do this, or what effects it might have on us,” added Myrick, who owns a pug but no cats. “As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.”
Internet data show there were more than 2 million cat videos posted on YouTube in 2014, with almost 26 billion views. Cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content.
In Myrick’s study, the most popular sites for viewing cat videos were Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger.
Among the possible effects Myrick hoped to explore: Does viewing cat videos online have the same kind of positive impact as pet therapy? And do some viewers actually feel worse after watching cat videos because they feel guilty for putting off tasks they need to tackle?
Of the participants in the study, about 36 percent described themselves as a “cat person,” while about 60 percent said they liked both cats and dogs.
Participants in Myrick’s study reported:
They were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media than before.
They had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before.
They often view Internet cats at work or during studying.
The pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.
Cat owners and people with certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and shyness, were more likely to watch cat videos.
About 25 percent of the cat videos they watched were ones they sought out; the rest were ones they happened upon.
They were familiar with many so-called “celebrity cats,” such as Nala Cat and Henri, Le Chat Noir.
Overall, the response to watching cat videos was largely positive.
“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” Myrick said.
The results also suggest that future work could explore how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy, she said.
For each participant who took the survey, Myrick donated 10 cents to Lil Bub’s foundation, raising almost $700. The foundation, Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, has raised more than $100,000 for needy animals.
You probably already know Lil Bub from being a human being with the internet. In almost every conceivable way, we wish Lil Bub was the earth’s spirit animal. Or at least its mascot. (Earth is the Earth’s spirit animal, probably.)
Well, at Can Con LA, Lil Bub stayed in a room at our DTLA hang session spot, where she knocked the phone off the hook and called the front desk. They’re pros at the front desk, and can speak cat, so: happy ending. We’ve been in touch with her for quite some time — she’s stayed at our spots in NY and PDX, too — and finally got to catch up with her for a little Q/A.
Interviewer: Favorite city? Lil Bub: Grumble Stomp — a thriving metropolis on my home planet.
One thing you never travel with out? My dude.
Are you much of a costume cat? Would you consider being Gene Simmons this Halloween? I don’t do costumes. I’m always naked, and in a way, I’m always impersonating a naked Gene Simmons.
When it comes to brainstorming with Mike, are you more the brain or the storm? Suggestions for teams brainstorming in general? I’m
both the brain and the storm. He’s just the meteorologist. My
suggestion to other brainstorming teams is to get a really good
Best piece of advice for cats or humans who are trying to connect and give back to their community? While
money is certainly a necessity, the most useful form of help would be
your own time and talents. Volunteering and action are much more useful
than money, and it’s free (for you). So if you can’t help out
financially, help out with your mad skills. If you can help out
financially, do both.
How many lives have you lived up? Ever heard of infinity?