Why we like to watch cat videos revealed

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Why are cat videos so popular?

Researchers have tapped more deeply into the positive effects animals can have on our health. Indiana University scientists recently discovered watching cat videos can boost our mood, give us more energy and more. Interestingly, people with certain personality traits seem to enjoy watching cats on the internet more than others.

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Jessica Gall Myrick who is an Indiana University Media School researcher said in a press release that cats just can't be ignored anymore.

YouTube viewers regularly watch celebrity cats such as "Grumpy cat" and it appears there is good reason. Myrick found videos of cats can impact our mood in more profound ways than previously known.

Why study cat videos?

Myrick said in a press statement: "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. 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."

But then again, who would want to ignore adorable cats doing what they do best? - which in my opinion, is entertaining people by just being themselves. Myrick, who is not a cat owner, felt compelled to look into why viewing cat videos is so popular, noting that little work has been done to uncover why we watch videos like the one below.

Cat videos are the most widely viewed on YouTube, with 2 million posted in 2014 and nearly 26 billion views, making that kind of data an interesting topic for research. Myrick wanted to know if watching videos of kittens and cats could have the same positive effect as pet therapy.

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And if you watched the 60 minute video above, did you feel better, or guilty because you don't feel you were being productive?

The results

If watching cats in videos made you feel bad in any way, you're probably alone.

Participants in the study said they felt more energetic, less annoyed and anxious, happier and not guilty about procrastinating because it was so good.

The research also revealed people that enjoy watching cats on the internet appear to have certain personality traits that include agreeableness and shyness.

As an aside, ten cents was donated to Lil Bub's foundation for each person that participated in the study. Myrick raised $700 for the special needs kitties fund sponsored by the ASPCA.

The information could used to deliver low-cost pet therapy to people suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. Myrick hopes to explore why we like to watch videos of cats further.

Updated 12/6/2016

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