While it may seem straightforward, there is more to our obsession with cat videos than their comedic value. In the Journal of Media and Culture, Radha O’Meara explains that domestic cats are the most popular pets in the world. Unlike their canine counterparts, cats have essentially domesticated themselves and show no noticeable difference from their wild ancestors. Due to this, cats are much harder to read and continue to rely on their natural instincts to navigate their surroundings. Watching these tiny predators interact with human modernization is comical and refreshing.
Here are some of the main reasons we love cat videos:
1. It makes you feel good!
Good news media is hard to come by these days. This leads people to seek out universally comedic past times: watching cats do funny stuff. Although it may seem like a waste of time, in her book Computers in Human Behavior, Jessica Myrick states that “viewing Internet cats can moderate the relationship between procrastination motives, guilt, and enjoyment.”
2. You’re in control
Whenever you are feeling down, these videos are at the tip of your fingers. Cats are specifically symbolic of the struggle that stems from lack of privacy and external intrusion into the home. These introverted animals give a visual representation of our inability to cope with the ever-changing world around us and brings humor to our anxiety. “It first allows viewers to imagine the possibility of freedom from surveillance and also to experience the power of using surveillance without it causing problems for those being watched,” says O’Meara.
3. Cats are oblivious
They’re honest in their actions. Unlike man’s best friend, cats rarely feel the need to put on a show or please their owners. The ability to watch animals that are seemingly unaware of surveillance gives us a peek into a life unaffected by the constraints of our “big brother” society. Honest reactions are hard to come by, but plentiful in the lives of felines.
4. Icons are brought to our level
Historically cats have been worshiped and idealized as a symbol of femininity and seen as sources of mystical strength. Seeing them in a vulnerable or comical state never ceases to amaze us. In other words, we are seeing something that has been “stamped” as intimidating and unshakeable being brought down to size by a cucumber.
5. Communication error
Cats think we are cats. Although they recognize us as the “alpha cat,” they do not understand why our actions don’t correspond to their instincts. Gary Weitzman, a veterinarian and author of the book ”How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language,” says that cats have developed a large array of meows to attempt to communicate with humans. As they are introduced to new spaces, objects and actions, they attempt to communicate with us and are always surprised when our words give no guidance, which often leads to hilarious outcomes.