The Science of Cats: Studies Show How Cat Videos Boost Our Energy & Emotional State

Cats are a monumental part of the internet. If something was to represent the internet, it would probably be a picture of a cat surfing on pizza through the universe.

In 2014 alone, over 2 million cat videos were posted on youtube with a growing reach of 26 billion views collectively. People love the cute, cuddly and hilarious energy of felines; and for good reason.

lil-bubA new study at an Indiana University shows that watching uplifting cat videos boosts your energy and decreases negative feelings.

Lead by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, the study consisted of almost 7,000 people being surveyed about their cat viewing experience 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.”

In Myrick’s study, the most popular sites for viewing cat videos were Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger! Of course.

Myrick was looking to see if viewing cat videos could have the same positive effects as pet therapy. She also explored if the Most-Famous-Felines-007viewers felt guilty for putting off tasks while watching the videos.

This is something a lot of us seem to feel; there’s always something more important we should be doing, but is this really true?

About 36% of the participants in the study described themselves as a “cat person,” while about 60 percent said they liked both cats and dogs.

Participants in Myrick’s study reported:

– Having more energy and feeling more positive after watching cat-related online media.

– They had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat videos.

— A lot of them often view Internet cats at work or during studying time.

– The pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed the guilt they felt about procrastinating in the first place.

– Cat owners and people with specific personality traits like agreeableness and shyness, were more likely to watch the cat videos.

– About 25 percent of the cat videos they watched were ones they sought out; the rest were ones they just happened upon.

– They were familiar with many so-called “celebrity cats,” like Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat and even more obscure ones.

The overall response to watching cat videos was largely positive.

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“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.

From these results, the use of cat videos and pet media online can be used as a sort of pet therapy for people who need that kind of emotional support!

We created our own cat page that does exactly this! Uplifts the viewers, brings positivity to their day and acts as a positive support for those who need it; check it out!

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