Watching Cat Videos Boosts Energy And Positivity

Posted: Jun 17 2015, 8:21am CDT | by , in News | Also on the Geek Mind


Watching Cat Videos Boosts Energy and Positivity
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A new study reveals that watching videos of cats has a positive impact.

Cat videos are one of the most popular videos online. There are huge stars like Grumpy cat, Lil Bub or the cats of Taylor Swift. There are also lots of unnamed cats that star in myriads of funny cat videos available on video services. Now a new study reveals that watching cat videos has a profound effect.

According to an Indiana University Media School researcher watching cat videos boosts viewers' energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings. This is not that surprising. One of the reasons people own cats is that the feline friends make people feel good. That this also works through video is incredible. 

The study, by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods. Lil Bub's owner, Mike Bridavsky, who lives in Bloomington, helped distribute the survey via social media.

Lil Bub

 Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet. Photo by Mike Bridavsky,

"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."

Internet data show there were more than 2 million cat videos available on YouTube in 2014, with almost 26 billion views. Cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content.

In Myrick's study, the most popular sites for viewing cat videos were Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger.

Among the possible effects Myrick hoped to explore: Does viewing cat videos online have the same kind of positive impact as pet therapy? And do some viewers actually feel worse after watching cat videos because they feel guilty for putting off tasks they need to tackle?

Of the participants in the study, about 36 percent described themselves as a "cat person," while about 60 percent said they liked both cats and dogs.

Study Participants reported the following observations:

  •     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.
  •     They were familiar with many so-called "celebrity cats," such as Nala Cat and Henri, Le Chat Noir.

Overall, the response to watching cat videos was largely positive.

"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.

The results also suggest that future work could explore how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy, she said.

For each participant who took the survey, Myrick donated 10 cents to Lil Bub's foundation, raising almost $700. The foundation, Lil Bub's Big Fund for the ASPCA, has raised more than $100,000 for needy animals. 

You can now test yourself if watching a cat video boosts your energy and gives you positive emotions. 

The study titled "Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?" was published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at




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