Study Finds Watching Cat Videos Makes People Happier

Posted on June 17, 2015

Lil Bub

Cat videos are one of the biggest and most popular video categories. There are millions of them on YouTube. A new study conducted by an Indiana University Media School researcher has confirmed what many people already knew. Watching cat videos can boost the viewer's energy. It can also boost positive emotions and decrease negative feelings.

Assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick surveyed 7,000 people about watching cat videos and how it affects their moods. The study found that Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger are the most popular sites for viewing cat videos. It also found that viewers felt more energetic and positive after watching cat videos. Below is a video of a cute Persian kitten playing. It would be difficult to watch this and not have some positive feelings.

Myrick says in a statement, "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. 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. As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon."

Myrick says the cat video watchers often viewed cat videos at work or while studying. The viewers say the pleasure they get from watching cat videos outweighs any guilt they feel for procrastinating their studies or work. 25% of cat videos people watched were videos they had sought out while the rest were cat videos they "happened upon."

The love of cat videos has led to the creation of a new cat convention. The New York Times reports that first CatCon was held earlier this week. Lil Bub, pictured above, is one of the most popular Internet cats. Myrick donated 10 cents to Lil Bub's foundation, Lil Bub's Big Fund for the ASPCA, for each participant who took the survey.

Photo: Mike Bridavsky

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