And now for something a bit light-hearted for your Friday… Love them or hate, cats are everywhere in our online world. How much of the Internet is cat-related? What about cats versus dogs on the Internet? Would the world stop turning if cats no longer appeared online? ;)

What’s this cat thing about, anyway?

The short answer is nobody really knows why there is such a prevalence of cat content on the Internet. Humans have always had a close relationship with cats, and the animals have been a subject of short films for a long time. The early silent movies Boxing Cats (1894) and The Sick Kitten (1903). Harry Pointer (1822–1889) has been cited as the "progenitor of the shameless cat picture". Cats have been shared via email since the Internet began in the 1990s. The first cat video on YouTube was uploaded in 2005 by YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, who posted a video of his cat called "Pyjamas playing with a rope". The following year, "Puppy vs Cat" became the first viral cat video; uploaded by a user called Sanchey (a.k.a. Michael Wienzek); as of 2015 it had over 16 million views on YouTube. In a Mashable article that explored the history of cat media on the Internet, the oldest entry was an ASCII art cat that originated on 2channel, and was a pictorial representation of the phrase "Please go away." The New York Times described cat images as "that essential building block of the Internet". In addition, 2,594,329 cat images had been manually annotated in by users. An interesting phenomenon is that many photograph owners tag their house cats as "tiger".

Psychology of the cat thing

Jason Eppink, curator of the Museum of the Moving Image's show How Cats Took Over the Internet, has noted the "outsized role" of cats on the Internet. A scientific survey done found that the participants were more happy after watching cat videos. The researcher behind the survey explained "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".

Cats, dogs or… zombies?!

If the world can agree on anything, it's that the Internet is made of cats. While dogs are searched for much more than cats, there is less content on the Internet. In 2015, there were more than 2 million cat videos on YouTube, with an average of 12,000 views each – a higher average than any other category of YouTube content. The YouTube video Cats vs. Zombies merged the two internet phenomena of cats and zombies in a fun and silly way.

Feline like something’s wrong?

The online world can feel quite slow sometimes. We at WebyMon wouldn’t like to blame all the cyber cats for that though. ;) If you’re feline like you want to check the uptime and general performance of your website, sign up for a free account today!