Cat Videos may Actually be Useful to us

Cats rule the Internet, which, by now, is common knowledge. Many people look at cat pictures online, and watch cat videos, even if they’re not cat people. It’s such an interesting phenomenon that Tim Berners-Lee, the Internet’s (real) inventor, found himself surprised by how prevalent cats are. Why do people love LOLcats, and cat videos, so much?

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Cat videos are my own personal haven

I personally love cat videos, and I honestly wish I was able to catch more of my own cats’ silly antics on video. I am pretty good at getting funny pictures of them, and I’ve gotten decent at turning them into LOLcats. Videos, though? It’s a little harder; by the time I actually get set up, they’re done doing whatever it is I wanted to catch.

I’m like millions of other Internet users, though; I can get my video fix by watching other cats. An article in The Huffington Post describes a study that shows watching cat videos helps to elevate people’s moods. The study was based on questionnaires, in which people described their moods both before and after watching the videos.

Cat videos may be therapeutic

The people who participated reported fewer instances of sadness, guilt, or anxiety, after watching cat videos. Because the study was based on self-reporting, there’s a large degree of subjectivity. However, it does suggest that cat videos are actually useful in real life.

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The concept is called “mood management,” and this supports a larger idea that people consume media to help regulate their moods. The people in the study reported results similar to what happens after playing with a therapy animal. Even cats that aren’t specifically meant to be therapy animals are often therapeutic for us.

Researchers speculated about the possible reasons why cats are the Internet’s “anointed ones,” as HuffPo put it. It’s because introverts both tend to prefer cats more, and tend to spend more time online, than extroverts. However, it may also be because cats’ can appear so human-like that they’re impossible to resist.

Whatever the reason, if you love watching cat videos, then keep watching. There’s some budding science to explain your fascination (and mine), and they can help you when you’re feeling stressed and unhappy.

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