Cat in a bag? *click* Cat on the table? *click* Cat with a poofy tail * click* Cat playing in a box * click* Cat on a windowsill? *click* Cat playing with a toy? *click* Cat playing with something that’s not a toy? * click*
We all think our cats are adorable and, of course, we’re right about that. We also think that the rest of the world wants to see our cats being adorable and, of course, we’re right about that too. Not only is it fun to watch our cats and to watch other people’s cats, but it’s been scientifically proven to be good for us. Researchers from Loma Linda University and the University of Maryland Medical Center have concluded that watching twenty minutes of funny videos, like the cat videos that dominate the Internet, reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases heart health.
So now that we’ve established that there actually are excellent reasons to capture your cat’s best moves and share them with other cat lovers around the globe, some of us might wonder where to draw the line. Cats love attention and lots of them like to pose for the camera but is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
How many cat pictures are too many? That’s a question for the ages, literally. Drawings of domesticated cats have been found in 10,000-year-old caves, cats were well represented in ancient Egyptian art, cats are featured in medieval paintings and etchings, and some of the earliest silent movies (Boxing Cats and The Sick Kitten) featured our feline friends. It’s fair to say that for as long as we’ve been owned by cats, we’ve been chronicling the cuteness of these creatures.
And it doesn’t seem as if we’re going to stop any time soon. A study by MiMedia revealed, to nobody’s surprise, that the typical cat owner takes four to five pictures of his or her cat every day and that nearly half of cat owners are close to running out of storage space on their phones due to the deluge of cat pictures. Today’s smartphones have more computing power than the first rocketship to land on the moon and we are filling them up with our favorite felines!
But it’s all good because the world wide web loves these cat photos, too. CNN estimated in 2015 that there were approximately six and a half billion cat pictures on the Internet and the numbers climb every day. As much as we love taking and posting photographs of our cats, we also love looking at other people’s cat pictures — a study commissioned by Mars Petcare U.S., Inc. and conducted by OnePoll shows that on average, the typical cat owner and web surfer looks at 725 cat pictures and videos every year and “likes” almost 400 cat-related posts. That comes out to just over two pictures and one video per day. Ask yourself if you’re making your numbers here! If not, what are you waiting for?
We like taking pictures of our cats even more than we like taking pictures of ourselves. Mobile network Three found that more than twice as many cat pictures than selfies are shared every day; nearly four million cat pictures and videos are uploaded as compared to one and a half million selfies. Some of these photos are even uploaded to dedicated accounts as over 350,000 cat owners have created Twitter, Facebook, or other photo-sharing platforms to host their pictures and clips. We have always known that our cats have identities and personalities of their own so creating social media accounts in their own names is a very logical choice to celebrate them! Dressing our cats or using them as photo props is nothing new either; photo pioneer Harry Pointer was taking meme-worthy pictures of cats in costumes and silly poses as far back as the 1870s.
Cats in motion are favorites as well. The first cat video was uploaded to YouTube by co-founder Steve Chen in 2005 when he commemorated his cat Pyjamas playing with a rope. In the ten years that followed, more than two million more cat videos were posted to YouTube. And they don’t go unnoticed; these videos average over 12,000 views each! That’s a lot of looking at cats. Sixteen percent of the views in the “Pets and Animals” category are cat videos. It’s clear that a lot of us believe that there’s no such thing as too much kitty content on the Internet and we’re doing our best to clog the intertubes with cats.
So clearly, we like to take pictures of our cats. And we’re not alone since most cat owners cherish new photos of their precious babies – at least 44% of people owned by cats have framed photographs of those cats. The Museum of the Moving Image’s “How Cats Took Over the Internet” exhibit claims that three percent of Internet traffic around the world is cat-related. Whether you take more or less than the reported average of five cat pictures every day, you can rest assured that somewhere, someone is taking even more photographs than you do. And you can also rest assured that the Internet is big enough to hold all the cat pictures and videos. It seems that there’s no such thing as too many pictures of your kitty so teach those furry little dumplings not to run away from a flash and post those pictures as your contribution to the cat content in cyberspace.