Back in 2014, ReelSEO.com estimated there were more than two million cat videos on YouTube which had been watched 25 billion times – an average of 12,000 views per cat video.
One of the most viewed cat videos EVER is “Surprised Kitten” which has notched up more than 76 million views. (That’s more than a Kim Kardashian nude selfie.)
Also in 2014, a survey of British internet users found they shared 3.8 million cat photos and clips each day, about twice as many cat pics as selfies (1.4 million shares).
In 2015, there were 60,500 Google searches each month for “funny cats”. Searches for “funny dogs” were only half that number, and searches for “funny pandas” or “funny goats”, much less.
So why are cats so popular? A panel discussion on “How Cats Won the Internet”, held at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre and including BuzzFeed Australia editor Simon Crerar, pinned down five possible reasons.
Cats were doing “authentic” long before the term hit the marketing / leadership / political spin buzzword heights. Most refuse to be trained into performing and, unlike dogs, they don’t usually stare at the camera. They’re absolutely unselfconscious. So when you see a cat video it’s almost as if you’re a voyeur, peeking into their private world… like when they’re attacking a printer, or when Maru is doing his thing with a box.
Anyone who has lived with a cat knows they can be utter goofballs, but mostly they come out OK – cats have nine lives after all. At times it’s like watching Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Funny Cat Jump Fails 2015 anyone?
There’s a popular view that the internet is the cat owners’ equivalent of a dog park. For hundreds of years, cat owners have seen their cats being silly but not been able to share it, as the incidents happened in private. “Now the internet is there, and they can go online, and the internet is the place where they can laugh and discuss other people’s cats at well,” says Crerar. Just for something to enjoy, here’s BuzzFeed’s most important 100 cat pictures of all time.