The Internet Cat phenomenon- by Anna

Ginger domestic kitten (Felis catus) rolling on back playing


Cats. The fluffy felines have a very different reputation now compared to a decade or so ago. The birth of YouTube brought their hilarious antics to the forefront of pointless entertainment, however they have been singled out for their fascinating characteristics since way back when people were still watching hidden camera comedy shows (see Animals Do The Funniest Things). But nowadays it’s not just cats falling off of countertops or attempting to scale vertical objects that grabs our attention. One of the earliest examples of a YouTube cat phenomenon that I can recall was keyboard cat. Anyone could simply improvise an (unimpressive) keyboard melody however seeing this played through a none too happy looking cat has the ability to keep me entertained for hours. Keyboard cat even made the news and there wasn’t anyone under the age of 25 who hadn’t heard of him around the time the original video went viral. Since then, our computer screens have been graced by the likes of Spaghetti Cat, Colonel Meow and Grumpy Cat. Despite the large number of cats with web based fame the question still remains of why we are so enthralled by these animals. Is it their undeniable cuteness, or perhaps the fact that they are so like us? Either way, the internet has proven over the last ten years that the internet cat phenomenon is much more than a mere phase. As they have helped to build the foundations for what we see every time we click on a YouTube video, I can’t imagine cats being taken down from their online pedestals anytime soon.

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