Are Internet Cat Videos Awesome or Annoying? Two Editors Face Off


Why Internet Cat Videos are Awesome
By Meghan Blalock, StyleCaster Associate Editor
I wasn’t even aware that the awesomeness of Internet cat videos was a topic up for debate—I’ve long been living a lie that presumed that everyone finds them just as mesmerizing and entertaining as I do. I’ve only recently become aware that Internet cat videos are not something universally loved by all human beings. Apparently there are people out there who have no interest in them. Be still my heart.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a cat owner (and lover) since I was a little kid. My first pet was a cat, and I have a cat now. My family never had dogs, but I love them too. I simply love pets. However, I can understand how people who don’t like animals—or are at least neutral toward them—might not love watching cat videos all day, every day, but come on—how can you not love watching them on occasion?

These videos—like one of my favorites, “Cat vs. Printing Paper”—can be as short as 30 seconds (or shorter!), and yet its brevity doesn’t detract from its purpose of serving up bite-size solutions to the following human desires: laughter, pleasure, curiosity, the desire for the swift resolution of curiosity, and the desire for entertainment. Which brings me to the final and most important human desire met by cat videos: the desire to never cease experiencing happiness.

In truth, I probably enjoy watching cat videos for a reason similar to those most other people like to watch them they’re entertaining. There’s just something so endlessly amusing about watching cats do silly things. You might say, “Well, Meghan, you could say that about any animal (or person) doing silly things.” To which I would say, you’re right, except cats aren’t like any other creatures.

There’s an ineffable quality about cats specifically that, to me, makes them more fun to watch than other beings that might be equally as silly, funny, and (yes) cute. I love puppies more than anything, and squeal like a hamster when I see them in real life and yet, I find their cuteness is always trumped by this ineffable, and particularly cat-like, quality. The way they sometimes look at the camera so expressively, the unapologetic boldness with which they attack cardboard boxes for no apparent reason, their vast variety of color, size, and levels of fluffiness all these things combine to make cat videos irresistible to me.

There are only so many times you can watch a puppy fall asleep or a dog lick a baby’s face but each and every cat video is a completely unique snowflake, filled with entertainment unlike any other cat video out there. As any cat owner would tell you, cats are very independent creatures, often opting to do their own thing a majority of the time and cat videos are imbued with this same variety, which only serves to increase their awesomeness.

Luckily for me,  there’s literally a never-ending supply of cat videos on the Internet. There are so many cat videos that even if you dedicated the rest of your life to watching them, you would literally never finish, because more and more cat videos are being produced every moment.

Any time you’re feeling the slightest bit bored, or like you need to laugh, or maybe like you just need to watch something you sincerely do not understand, just go to Google, type in “cat videos” and watch your mood instantly lift.

Why Internet Cat Videos are Annoying
By Perrie Samotin, StyleCaster Senior Editor

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m not a pet person. Animals as a whole don’t particularly bother me—hey, I watched that awesome GoPro lion video a couple of times—but there’s something about the concept of living with one that makes me queasy.

It goes without saying, then, that I don’t care for other people’s pets—I’m the first one to shoo your cat away at a party and the last one to stop on a busy street to play with your dog. As a result, people haven’t taken to me very kindly over the years, which irks me—I’m really a lovely person, I just don’t love when your dog paws me in the elevator.

No surprise, as someone who doesn’t want to be near a cat, the last thing I want to do is watch them play the piano in my spare time.

From a web editor perspective, I very much understand that these little feline forces are basically traffic wrapped up in a bow, prompting people to share (and share and share—the holy grail of driving page views) but I don’t understand why people are so ceaselessly amused by these types of videos.

Sure, a one-off video of a cat trying to work the vacuum cleaner might be momentarily amusing, as would be any depiction of an animal doing “people” activities, but how can intelligent humans legitimately get giddy day after day over a cat pretending to DJ? Or a cat trying to turn the pages of a book? Or a cat dressed up as Anna Wintour? Or a cat sitting in front of the Yule log at Christmas?

Make no mistake, I’m no stranger to the shifting caprices of the Internet (whaling? I laughed the first time I saw it) but there’s something that makes me wince about the fact that there’s so much other stuff to do online, and all we want to do is chuckle at a cat. Answering the phone. In a bow-tie. Every day.

It seems to me that cat videos are today’s web equivalent of AOL chain letters—cliché, annoying, and something people are partaking in because, well, it’s the Internet and everyone else is doing it.

I prefer to use the web for more worthwhile time-wasting. For instance, I gravitate toward re-living weird nostalgic pop culture moments that we literally wouldn’t have access to if not for the web, like watching Susan Lucci win her very first Daytime Emmy (if you really want to watch something weird and amusing, check that video out.) I’m also not opposed to killing 20 minutes at a clip watching compilations of the best dance scenes from “Beverly Hills, 90210.” I’ll take David and Donna breaking it down at the Spring Dance over 30 seconds of a ninja cat any day of the week.

I know I’m not the only person on earth who finds cat videos twee and annoying, so until they fall out of favor, I think someone smarter than me should invent a filter so I don’t have to see them every time I’m online. And all you cat lovers, don’t roll your eyes: I may not be as cute as Grumpy Cat, but I think the two of us have some things in common, no?