Good news for all the cat-video lovers out there: Turns out, watching the online escapades of "cat-lebrities" like Lil Bub and Grumpy Cat (or even clips of cats doing yoga) is more than just a hilarious form of entertainment—it also has some health benefits, new research suggests.
For the study, Jessica Gall Myrick, PhD, an assistant professor at Indiana University Bloomington, asked nearly 7,000 people about their Internet cat video-viewing habits and how it affected their moods. The results? Participants reported feeling more energetic and positive with fewer negative emotions after watching the cat-related media than before.
People in the study also noted that they most often viewed these videos during work or when they were studying. Nonetheless, they reported that the pleasure they got from watching Internet cats outweighed any guilt they had about procrastinating.
And it should: “Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional payoff may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” Gall Myrick said in a press release.
She notes that she hopes further research explores how online cat videos could potentially be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy.
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“Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it’s one of the most popular uses of the Internet today,” she said. “If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore."
The study had an additional benefit beyond bringing video kittehs to the forefront of academic research: For every participant that took the survey, Gall Myrick donated 10 cents—so almost $700 total—to Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA. We can't think of a more purr-fect result.
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