Watch more cat videos on internet to be happy – study

Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko
Enjoy watching clips with Grumpy cat or Colonel Meow? Or do you feel “positive” just looking at Snoopy the Cat? Then don’t stop browsing YouTube for more adorable felines, as a recent study shows these videos are a form of low-cost pet therapy.

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At least 7,000 cat-lovers were questioned by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University Media School for her study entitled, “Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?”

Myrick tested the motivations of participants “for consuming cat-related content,” be it for killing time or for treating a depression.

The study has been posted on ScienceDirect.com, a website for scientific, technical, and medical research. It is to be published in Computers in Human Behavior journal in November.

“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.

Many of those who took part in the experiment said “they were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media than before,” according to an online press release from the researcher’s university.

“They had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before.”

According to the study, cat owners and people “with certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and shyness” are most likely to click on ‘cutie’ cat videos.

“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 researcher also says that watching videos of one’s furry friends can be “a form of low-cost pet therapy.”

Myrick believes that if the scientists really want to analyze the effects the internet has on people, they just “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…As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.”

According to Indiana University Media School, more than two million cat videos were uploaded onto YouTube in 2014, with almost 26 billion views.

“Cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content,”
the university claims.

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