Millions of us aren’t ashamed to list ‘watching cat videos’ among our list of guilty pleasures. In fact, Internet 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!
But, thanks to a new study by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University, we don’t have to feel guilty at all!
The study surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods.
From the IU Bloomington Newsroom:
“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.”
Through her study, Myrick wanted to explore if viewing cat videos online has the same kind of positive impact as pet therapy. And if some viewers actually feel worse after watching cat videos because they feel guilty for putting off tasks they need to tackle.
Overall, the response to watching cat videos was largely positive – 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.
“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.
So, to help you take on a tough task today, here is the very first cat video that was ever posted to YouTube, way back in 2005 (posted by one of YouTube’s co-founders):