Cat Videos Really Do Help Us Lick the Blues

Watching cat videos is not just an epic waste of time, it turns out. Here’s why.

Feeling like Grumpy Cat? Maybe you need a cat-titude adjustment, says an Indiana University researcher who discovered why watching cat videos actually is good for us.

Cat video viewing is more than a procrastinator’s tool, says assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, Ph.D. They’re purr-fect for boosting our energy and positive emotions and decreasing negative feelings, she said after surveying the moods of almost 7,000 cat video viewers, with more than 1 in 3 a self-described “cat person.” Her study results were published in Computers in Human Behavior.

Lil' BubLil’ Bub

One Internet feline phenom, Lil Bub, helped – or at least Bub’s owner did. Mike Bridavsky, who lives in Bloomington, home of IU, distributed the survey via social media.

“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 told IU’s news agency, explaining why she took on the topic.

More than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube in 2014, she says. With almost 26 billion views, cat videos had more views per video than any other YouTube content category.

Among study highlights of cat video viewers:

  • They were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media than before.
  • They had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before.
  • They often view Internet cats at work or during studying.
  • The pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.

“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,” says Myrick, who owns a pug but no cats.

So, if you’ve got something important to do, watch a cat video first. You may feel better for it afterward. Your work will still be there.

Do you find yourself sucked into watching silly cat videos? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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