Cat videos are good for you

The internet has brought all sorts of previously unexpected things into our lives. Who would have thought people sitting in their loungeroom making papier maché hedgehogs would be something that others would watch? Who could possibly have imagined that the diligently researched Encyclopaedia Britannica could be replaced by pages filled by anyone who thinks they know something about something (yes, this is the dawning of the “age of the unverified factoid”)? Yet among the many things that the internet has brought to us, cat videos are among the most prolific. Whatever you may think about the artistic merit of a video of someone’s tabby grappling with a ball of yarn at least, according to a new study, watching those cat videos is good for you.

In 2014 there were more than 2 million cat videos posted on YouTube and those videos had close to 26 billion views. That’s a lot of human eyeball time spent on feline folly, so researchers wanted to see what the effect of watching a cat video on the watcher may be.

To find out they surveyed almost 7,000 people about watching cat videos and how it affects their moods. Of the people participating 36 per cent identified themselves as a “cat person” while 60 per cent said they liked both cats and dogs.

The results of the survey showed that people generally felt more energetic and more positive after watching a cat video online. They also felt fewer negative emotions, less anxiety, less annoyance, and less sadness. Although many people watched cat videos while studying or working they overwhelmingly said that the pleasure they obtained from watching the videos outweighed any guilt about procrastinating. As far as personality goes, it seems that people who are either agreeable or shy tend to watch cat videos.

Overall though, the effect of watching a cat video was positive so if you do find yourself spending a few minutes watching “little Mr Sly-Paws” when you should be working don’t worry, it’s not a cat-astrophe.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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