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The Effects Are More Profound Than You Think

I feel that watching funny cat videos is a universally entertaining activity. “Cats” is one of the top searched keywords on the internet. As of 2015, there have been over 2 million cat videos uploaded to YouTube alone, with 26 billion views. CNN even estimated that in 2015 there could have been about 6.5 billion cat photos on the internet so I know it’s not just me with this obsession. These funny videos/content do much more than just entertain viewers; they have proven to boost viewers’ energy, boost positive emotions, and decrease unwanted negative emotions.

The Study

Many do not believe that the viewership of cat videos is a significant enough topic for academic research. But an Indiana University Media School researcher took it upon herself to fulfill this gap in research.  Jessica Gall Myrick, assistant professor, conducted a study in which she surveyed almost 7,000 individuals about how viewing cat videos affected their moods. Myrick wanted to explore if viewing cat videos online has the same positive effect as pet therapy. She also wanted to explore if viewers feel worse after watching cat videos because they feel guilty for putting off tasks they need to complete, which I am 110% percent guilty of.

The Results

For reference, only about 36% percent described themselves as a “cat person,” while about 60% said they liked both cats and dogs. The participants of the study reported overwhelmingly positive responses. Those including…

  • A more positive attitude and feeling more energetic than before
  • Fewer negative emotions such as anxiety, annoyance, and sadness after viewing content
  • The pleasure they received from watching cat videos outweighed the guilt they felt about procrastinating

The participants also reported they often viewed internet cats at work or while studying. About 25 percent of the cat videos they watched were ones they sought out, while the rest they happened upon. The results also revealed cat owners and those with certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and shyness were more likely to watch cat videos. It makes sense why I watch cat videos now because I encapsulate all the traits above.

I first researched this on a whim, but it proved to be incredibly fascinating and telling. The simple act of watching a funny cat video online can have a multitude of positive results for minimal effort. Even if you watch a cat video to procrastinate, the positive emotional payoff after the fact may help to tackle the difficult task. In summary, the warm and happy feeling you experience after watching a cute cat video online has a more profound effect than you might have previously known about.

I have left some cat videos below. Your welcome.




Hello:)) My name is Maxine and I am a International Relations student at University of Texas Austin I am interested in psychology, politics, music, so get excited!
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