If you feel better after watching videos of cute kittens online, you are not crazy. A study by Indiana University professor Jessica Gall Myrick would show that watching cat videos actually improves your mood.
The trendy phenomenon on the Internet of watching cat videos is more than just entertainment; it increases viewers’ energy and positive emotions, and also decreases negative feelings, according to the study.
Jessica surveyed nearly 7,000 people who like watching cat videos and asked questions about how it affects their mood.
“Some people may think that watching cat videos online is not an important enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it is the most popular on the Internet today,” Myrick said. “If we want to better understand the effects of the Internet on people and on society, researchers cannot ignore these studies.
Internet data shows us that there were more than 2 million cat videos on YouTube in 2014, with almost 26 billion views. Cat videos had more views per video than any other YouTube category.
According to Myrick’s study, the most popular sites for viewing cat videos were Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed, and I Can Has Cheezburger.
Findings from the study in people who watched cat videos:
- They had more energy and felt more positive after watching the cat videos than before.
- They had less negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger, or sadness, after watching the cat videos than before.
- They often watch cat videos online at work or when they are studying.
- Cat owners and people with certain personality traits, such as kindness and shyness, were more likely to watch videos of cats.
- About 25% of the cat videos they watched were the ones they wanted; the rest were those that were emerging.
- They were familiar with many of the so-called “famous cats”, such as Nala Cat and Henri, Le Chat Noir.
- Overall, the response after watching cat videos was largely positive.
“Even if they were watching YouTube videos of cats putting off things they had to do or when they should be working, emotional compensation can really help people take on difficult tasks later,” Myrick said.
The results also suggest that future work could explore the possibility of using online cat videos as a low-cost form of animal therapy, he said.
For every participant in the survey, Myrick donated 10 cents to the Lil Bub Foundation, donating nearly $700. This foundation has raised over $100,000 for animals in need.