Everyone knows that cats run the internet, but have you ever stopped to ask why? Well, we had a think about it and here are our best theories (backed up by the thoughts of some cat and internet experts). So here we go… why is the internet obsessed with cats?
1. Because cats are so dang cute.
At first we thought, the answer is simple – cats are just so popular because of their inherent fluffy cuteness. Those big eyes, those long whiskers and cuddly paws. But, then why not dogs? Or squirrels? Or even hedgehogs? Why do cats rule? There’s got to be more to it.
2. Because sometimes cats aren’t cute
When you think about it, for every cute picture of a kitten you see going viral, there’s probably another one of an ugly (ok, maybe ugly is too strong, let’s say less cute), grumpy, or fat cat. It’s like the yin and yang of the feline world; the balance in the catty force.
So it’s not just cute cats we like clicking and sharing, we like the other end of the spectrum too. We’re just as likely to go crazy for them when they are grumpy, wet and fat.
3. Because we see ourselves in them
The grumpy cat in reason 2 is an example of this. It’s probably not actually grumpy, it is probably perfectly content, but just happens to have the grumpiest face known to man. The thing is cats have faces that seem to perfectly express human emotions – they can be happy, sad, grumpy, disappointed, disgusted. Whatever the emotion, we see it in our cats and so does the internet. Sam Ford, research affiliate with the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium explained that we have been doing this long before the internet…
Juxtaposing surprising meanings over cat images, a la the LOLcats phenomenon, allows us to engage in an activity humans have long been doing: projecting our thoughts onto the mysterious countenance of felines.
4. Because cats are jerks
We all love our cats, but let’s be honest, they can be kind of jerks sometimes. They ignore us, scratch us, break things, drag things into our houses. So, perhaps the answer is we just like a little bit of revenge and seeing our feline friends humiliated.
They’re also incredibly proud and vein animals, always perfectly preened and presented, so when they end up looking bedraggled or breaking their cool it’s pretty hilarious.
Maybe we’re jerks too come to think about it.
5. Because geeks own cats
If geeks are the taste and trend setters of the internet, then it stands to reason that anything that geeks are fond of will be popular on the internet. Jack Schofield, freelance technology journalist and author of the Ask Jack Guardian blog explains why cats appeal to geeks…
Cats have an independence and playful inventiveness that appeals to the solitary geeks who spend their time writing computer code. Cats require relatively little maintenance (no baths, no walks) and are basically nocturnal animals, so they’re a perfect match for the Internet geek/coder/hacker lifestyle.
6. Because the internet is actually just a big cat conspiracy
Perhaps cats are so popular because we humans are actually just pawns in an enormous feline social experiment? Perhaps they’ve been controlling us for years?
Ok, maybe we’re over-thinking this now. The answer is probably just…
7. Because cats are just so funny!
Let’s face it, cats are hilarious!
So what do you think? Are we any closer to a definitive answer? Probably not, but regardless, we’re glad the internet is obsessed with cats… long may it continue!
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