Internet Cats: An Excuse to Procrastinate or Emotional First-Aid?
“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.” Doug Larson
Cats, cleverly deceptive and annoyingly witty fur-balls. Any cat lover knows that these affection lovers magnetize you with their charming ways and hypnotizing eyes. If falling under their spell on the streets is not enough, they now officially dominate the Internet.
Get ready to have your socks blown off because Carla Marshall from ReelSEO, the online media marketers guide, states that cat videos receive an average of 12,000 views per video on YouTube (based on 2014 analysis). Cute and funny cat videos are so captivating that there is even an Internet Cat Video Film Festival organized in their honor.
With so many paw-stamped events and cat celebrities like Lil Bub and The Grumpy Cat on the rise, scientists could no longer ignore the meows of social media. Indiana University researcher Jessica Gall Myrick is among those scientists who has eagerly taken on the mission of examining the Internet cat phenomenon. Plus, she has scientific data to show you that occasionally indulging in amusing kitty videos might be beneficial to your health even if it means you are putting off your work aside to watch the videos.
The purrfect study
Myrick who studies emotions and media process at IU surveyed nearly 7,000 people to analyze how viewing cat videos affects people’s moods. Participants, on average viewed cat videos and/or photos online 2-3 times a week with some indulging in them daily. Moreover, most described themselves to be lovers of both cats and dogs.
Here are highlights of the study
- Consuming cat videos on the Internet increases feelings of hope, happiness and contentment in viewers while reducing anxiety, sadness, annoyance and guilt
- Any guilt that is associated with procrastination while watching mama cat embrace her little one in furry love is offset by the happy feelings felt post-video
- People discover cat videos by happenstance nearly 75% of the time while they are using the Internet for some other purpose
- Cat videos can energize people if they feel like they have been depleted (perhaps due to work)
Cats may not admit to being man’s best friend but you will surely want them in your emotional first-aid kit as Gall’s research suggests that Internet cats have definitely got the power to ease your nerves (if not more than their counterparts on city streets). This is incredibly good news if you are currently not a cat owner or you are allergic to cats because with just a simple video click, you will have experienced all of the joys of being a cat owner without the burden of taking care of them. But do not stop there, share the fun with your social media friends and revel in the feeling of knowing that you have just made someone purr with joy!
Don’t forget August 8th is International Cat Day!
- 1. Myrick, J. G. (2015). Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect? Computers in Human Behavior, 52, 168-176.