Cat Videos. Are They Still the Internet’s Favorite?

Cat videos have been a popular part of internet culture for decades. The first viral cat video is considered to be “Staring Cat” which was uploaded to YouTube in 2006. According to Wikipedia, “Cats and the Internet“, the following year “Puppy vs Cat” became the first widely shared cat video with over 16 million views as of 2015.

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, cat videos exploded in popularity online thanks to platforms like YouTube and social media. Countless cute, funny and quirky cat videos were uploaded and shared widely. Common themes included surprised cats, cats being silly or clumsy, and cats doing unexpected things. The craze surrounding cat videos highlighted people’s fascination with cats and their appeal as entertaining subjects for short online videos.

Current Popularity

Cat videos remain incredibly popular in the digital age. According to Pure Storage, more than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube in 2014 alone, accounting for over 26 billion views that year. YouTube revealed that over 18 million cat videos have already been uploaded in 2022 as of August, and we still have several months to go. The statistics speak for themselves – people simply love watching cat videos online.

According to an article by The National, people have watched cat videos online over 25 billion times total. That’s an average of 12,000 views per video, an astonishing number. Every day, millions of people across the world watch and share cat videos for enjoyment.

a person laughing while watching a funny cat video on their phone.

Comparison to Other Animal Videos

While cat videos remain immensely popular online, they do face some competition from other animal-centric videos. Videos featuring dogs, for example, also tend to go viral easily. Many of the most-viewed animal videos on YouTube and other platforms feature dogs doing funny or cute things.

Videos of smaller pets like hamsters, guinea pigs, and birds can also gain huge viewership online. These videos allow people to get an inside look into the lives of pets they may not have themselves. Watching these smaller animals complete tasks or show off natural abilities provides entertainment.

However, cat videos have remained dominant overall. Studies have found cats to be the animal featured in the majority of the most viral pet videos. There are a few potential reasons for cats retaining the top position despite challengers. Cats may have an advantage due to perceptions they are more independent, unpredictable, and mischievous than some other pets. This leads to more opportunities for funny or amazing moments to be caught on camera. Additionally, cats are generally lower maintenance to own than dogs, making them more accessible for content creation.

Psychological Appeal

Cat videos have an undeniable psychological appeal that makes them irresistibly watchable for many people. At the core of this appeal is the cute, playful, silly, and endearing nature of cats captured on video.

Watching cat videos can provide humor, stress relief, and happiness. Seeing cats engage in funny antics, fails, or hijinks releases dopamine and creates a pleasurable mood boost. The natural cuteness of cats also triggers our nurturing instincts and desire to care for helpless little animals.

Additionally, the repetitive motion of cats chasing toys or jumping in boxes has an almost hypnotic, calming effect for viewers. Cat videos can relax us and provide a mindless escape from daily stresses. They are the perfect distraction to brighten your mood and get lost in cuteness.

Studies show watching cat videos online improves viewers’ energy, positive emotions, and feelings of contentment. The uncomplicated joy of seeing cats be cats makes cat videos an ideal pick-me-up or way to take a break from work. They provide accessible entertainment by tapping into our instincts to smile at all things cute and furry.

Viral Cat Videos

a photo collage of the most viral cat videos and memes.

Some of the most viral cat videos of all time include Maru the cat jumping into boxes, which has over 300 million views on YouTube (, and Tardar Sauce (a.k.a. Grumpy Cat), whose frowning face launched countless memes and even a Lifetime movie. Short compilation videos showing cats being silly or cute frequently go viral as well, like “Cat Viral Videos on the Internet (Top 5)” which has over 130,000 views on YouTube ( On TikTok, funny cat videos routinely get tens of millions of likes, such as @lokidoestricks’ most liked cat video with over 35 million likes ( Clearly cat videos that showcase cats doing funny, cute, or surprising things have an enduring popularity online when it comes to viral videos.

Cat Video Festivals

Cat video festivals celebrating internet cat videos first started gaining popularity in 2012. The first Internet Cat Video Festival was held in 2012 in Minneapolis, attracting over 10,000 attendees This festival became an annual event hosted at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis until 2020 when it moved to St. Paul’s CHS Field

The popularity led to other cat video festivals popping up around the US and internationally. Some examples include the San Francisco Cat Video Festival, the Chicago Cat Video Festival, and the Dublin Cat Video Festival. The festivals feature compilations of cat videos submitted by the public, while also having food, vendors, and other activities like cat costume contests.
crowds of people attending an outdoor cat video festival.

Cat Videos in Mainstream Media

Internet cat videos have become a prominent part of mainstream media in recent years. Major TV shows like Good Morning America, The Bachelorette, America’s Got Talent, and others have featured segments dedicated to funny or cute cat videos as part of their programming. Cat videos have also been used frequently in commercials and ads by major brands like Skittles, Chevrolet, and McDonald’s. The videos help grab viewer attention and connect with audiences through their mass appeal and lighthearted nature. In 2013, Frontline even created an April Fools’ Day parody documentary entitled “The Cat Videos on the Internet.” The mockumentary humorously explored how cat videos rose to such immense popularity online and highlighted many iconic viral feline clips. According to Reddit, the prevalence of cat videos in mainstream media demonstrates how they have become ingrained in today’s popular culture.

Cat Videos as an Industry

Although cat videos may seem like silly entertainment to some, they have grown into a lucrative industry for content creators. With the rise of platforms like YouTube and Instagram, it is now possible for people to make full-time careers out of posting cat videos online.

According to Billionaire Bitcoin Cats, YouTube in particular has allowed cat video creators to earn significant advertising revenue from their content. Popular YouTube stars like Cole and Marmalade and Lil BUB have millions of subscribers and get tens of millions of video views. This translates into major earnings just from YouTube ads.

Platforms like Patreon have also allowed cat video creators to monetize their content through fan funding and subscriptions. Fans pay monthly amounts to support their favorite cat video channels. Even cats with specialty needs or medical conditions are able to find funding through Patreon.

While cat videos may seem silly to some, they have created lucrative full-time careers for many content creators across social media. With the continued growth of platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, cat videos will likely be big business for years to come.

The Future

As cat videos continue to be popular online, what does the future hold for this viral phenomenon? There are a few key predictions worth noting.

First, we can likely expect cat videos to become even more prevalent and accessible. As video technology improves and more platforms emerge for creating and sharing cat videos, they will only spread further. Smartphones with high-quality cameras make it easier than ever for anyone to film funny or cute cat moments and upload them instantly.

Another trend is the continued blurring of boundaries between amateur and professional cat videos. Many popular YouTube channels feature semi-pro content with good production values. Brands are also sponsoring viral cat videos as a marketing technique. The quality and creativity of cat videos will likely keep improving.

At the same time, the appeal of short, candid clips of cats being silly or adorable is unlikely to fade. Viewers will still crave authentic, unscripted moments. As one expert noted, “People will never get tired of seeing cats do hilarious things. That’s really at the heart of what makes cat videos so evergreen.”

While predictions about the internet are difficult, the future looks bright for cat videos continuing to capture our hearts and make us smile. As one creative ad campaign put it, a world without cat videos would be very bleak indeed.


a happy person watching cat videos to unwind and relax.

Cat videos have withstood the test of time, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down. While other internet fads have come and gone, cat videos remain evergreen content that continue to capture an audience. Their enduring appeal stems largely from the fact that they tap into universal human emotions. Watching the silly, cute, or surprising antics of cats allows people to experience joy and amusement. In a world often filled with bad news, cat videos provide a dose of positivity and fun. They are bite-sized entertainment that can brighten someone’s day and provide temporary escape. Though formats evolve and platforms change, that emotional need for uplifting content remains constant. As long as human nature stays the same, the allure of cat videos is unlikely to diminish any time soon. Their ability to cut across demographics and cultures speaks to their widespread relatability. The internet may be fickle when it comes to trends, but cat videos have shown uncommon staying power. While new memes grab attention, cat videos remain the comfort content we return to again and again. They are the classic crowd-pleasers of online video.

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