Watching Cat Videos Boosts Energy and Positive Emotions

According to a recent study by Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor and researcher in Indiana University’s media school, watching cat videos can boost energy and positive emotions while at the same time decreasing negative feelings.

The study surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods.

 Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet.

Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet.

“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,” said Myrick. “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.”

Maru the cat videos have been viewed over 200 million times

Maru the cat videos have been viewed over 200 million times

“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,” she added. “As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.”

"Grumpy Cat" is an Internet celebrity known for her grumpy facial expression

“Grumpy Cat” is an Internet celebrity known for her grumpy facial expression

Data shows 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. The most popular sites for viewing cat videos are Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger.

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.

Overall, the response to watching cat videos was largely positive. Future studies will likely investigate how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy.

Well I knew we were all watching these videos for a good reason!

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