For The Love of Kitties

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of cats. That meow-meow mislike may well spring from long-ago when I worked on a farm one summer and was rudely awoken each morning by a horrisonant housecat howling in heat. (See, even the memory of that teeth-gnashing, sleepy eyed event makes me fly into alliteration.)

I am, however, more the exception than the rule.

Most people, it turns out, just love cute kitties. They love watching them do silly things and make their silly mewling noises. In fact, people love cats so much that they pack their social media sites with videos and pictures of them. According to the video marketing website, around two million cat videos have been posted on YouTube. And the site claims that cat-loving sorts have watched those videos almost 26 billion times—which just happens to equate to, oh, somewhere north of … way too many times.

Hey, cat videos are so cat-gone popular that there are even cat video festivals popping up all over, like the one at the Minnesota State Fair last August. And we’re not talking about a handful of far-northerners who have been through one too many frigid winters and in need of a bit of warm snuggle either. This gathering packed some 13,000 cat-fanciers into the fair’s grandstand to watch the kitty superstars.

Now if that just makes you want to spit up a hairball like it does me, here’s another little nugget of catnip, it turns out that watching those “LOLcat” videos is actually good for you. That’s right: Watching the online antics of kitties like Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow and all their other fiendishly fluffy feline friends (er, sorry) can actually boost your energy levels, heighten your positive emotions and decrease your negative feelings. That’s according to media researcher Jessica Gall Myrick at Indiana University in Bloomington who published her recent study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Well, if researchers can’t ignore one of the “most popular uses of the Internet,” then I guess I shouldn’t either. So here’s a trio of kitty vids to make your day more productive and positive feeling. I’ll just sit here scratching my chair.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

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