It’s commonly held that the internet is for, well, you’ve heard the song. But you can make an argument that the internet is, in fact, for cats. We live in a world where Grumpy Cat is a celebrity thanks to one photo, after all. But why do cats rule the internet?
Because, a new study finds, they’re useful short-term mood boosters. Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at Indiana University, ran a study on the cat lovers of the internet and found a few things that aren’t hugely surprising, namely that people on the internet trend towards the shy side. What was surprising was the results of watching the videos. Cat videos serve as a kind of mood booster; people who watch them report higher positive emotions and, just as importantly, lower negative emotions. So, your coworker who stops working on a project to watch Lil Bub for a few minutes is essentially just getting charged up to finish.
It’s only an exploratory study, but Myrick notes this could be a window into how the media we watch affects our mood and thoughts. Especially since cat videos are impossible to escape: Myrick also found that 75 percent of her survey respondents didn’t actively seek out cat videos. They just turned up wherever they happened to be on the internet. So, we should probably have a better understanding of how they affect us. Until then, here’s Maru impersonating a kitty clock!