Cat obsession isn’t something new. Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped by Egyptians and since then we’ve used our furry friends for everything from catching rodents on long ocean voyages to simple companionship. It’s no wonder that cats are America’s favorite pet with 74 million living in our homes.

Today, the internet has brought cat obsession to a new level. Famous felines like Tardar Sauce, aka “Grumpy Cat”, are known the world over but they’re just the start. Many cities now host cat film festivals and attendees are encouraged to bring their four legged pals with them. In this spirit, we’ve teamed up with NowSourcing to bring you our latest findings to the age-old question: why are people so obsessed with cats? Check out below to see our results!

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Why is the Internet Obsessed With Cats?

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped by the Egyptians as a sacred creature representing life. Today, cats are stars in videos and memes, inspiring cultural trends and baffling society.

The Rise of Cat-fluence

  • Videos
  • Pajamas and Nick Drake
    • Steve Chen (YouTube co-founder)
    • First cat video posted to site
    • May 22, 2005
    • 30-second clip of Pajamas (the cat) playing and dancing to the tunes of Nick Drake
  • “Puppy vs. Cat”
    • com/user/Sanchey
    • First viral cat video posted to YouTube
    • May 9, 2006
    • One brave cat holds her own in the face of a litter of curious puppies
    • “Nyan Cat”
      • com/user/saraj00n
      • An 8-bit animation of a cat with a cherry pop tart for a body flying through space
      • Set to Japanese song Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya by Japanese artist Daniwell-P looping in the background
      • April 5, 2011
      • Gained over one million views in its first two weeks
    • Photos
      • “Brighton Cats”
        • Harry Pointer (British photographer)
        • Earliest photography of cats in absurd poses
        • 1870s: English photographer Harry Pointer took approximately 200 photos of his “Brighton Cats”
      • “Lolcats”
        • Originated via 4chan
        • A photograph of a cat accompanied by a humorous caption written typically in a misspelled and grammatically incorrect version of English
        • 2005: Originated via 4chan
      • “Cat Breading”
        • Reddit and Tumblr
        • What it is: A Photo fad involving encasing a cat’s head in a slice of bread
        • August 2, 2011: Original cat bread photo posted to Reddit and Tumblr
  • Why cats are more famous than dogs

Reasons for our fascination with cats and cat videos:

  • Cats just don’t care
    • Cats don’t show emotion, they are more stoic
    • Cats ignore cameras. They are either unaware of the filming or don’t acknowledge the camera
      • Allows for more authentic entertainment
    • Cats are a blank canvas
      • Cats are more difficult to read. They are inexpressive
      • We tend to project our emotions onto cats
        • This offers greater opportunities for creativity

 With so many felines vying for the public’s attention, it was only a matter of time until the Internet turned into a red carpet for cat celebrities

Feline Celebrities

  • Venus, AKA the two-faced cat
    • Exact breed unknown
    • Photo posted to Reddit on August 23, 2012
    • Famous for her face that is split evenly into two colors
      • One half is solid black with a green eye
      • Other half of face has orange tabby stripes and a blue eye
    • Notable facts:
      • Appeared on the Today Show
      • 4 million followers on Instagram
      • Has her own online store
    • Tardar Sauce, AKA “Grumpy Cat”
      • Exact breed unknown
      • Photo first posted on Reddit on September 22, 2012
      • Famous for her grumpy face
      • Notable facts:
        • 4 million followers on instagram
        • Book titled “A Is for Awful: A Grumpy Cat ABC Book”
        • Youtube video titled “The Original Grumpy Cat” has received over 20M views
        • Has a personal agent
        • Signed advertising deals
        • Star of the film “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever”
      • Maru
        • Scottish fold cat
        • First online video published on July 10, 2008
        • Famous for poses that include:
          • Yoga “Upward cat”
          • Zombie impression
          • Villian
          • Catzilla impersonation
        • Notable facts:
          • Won Guinness World Records title for “Most views for an animal on YouTube”
          • Famous for being the Master of Boxes
          • Over 500K YouTube subscribers
          • Has a book titled “i am maru”
        • Colonel Meow
          • Himalayan-Persian mix
          • First video posted in 2012
          • Gained fame after Facebook page and Twitter hashtag “#spreadthefrown” went viral
          • Notable facts:
            • Holds Guinness World Record for cat with the longest fur — 9 inches long
          • Keyboard Cat (Original name: Fatso)
            • Orange tabby breed
            • 1985: Original footage filmed by Charlie Schmidt
            • 2007: Brad O’Farrell used snippet as play off to a fail video that went viral
            • Made famous by Internet memes
            • Notable facts:
              • Has an official Spotify profile
              • Close to 50M views on original video
            • Lil Bub
              • Mackerel tabby breed
              • First online video published to Tumblr on November 8, 2011
              • Famous for her unique appearance
              • Notable facts:
                • Famous for her tongue always hanging out due to a short lower jaw and toothlessness
                • Wrote a book called: “Lil Bub’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most
                  Amazing Cat on the Planet”
                • Starred in a documentary
                • Her very own web show
                • Raised over $300K for animals in need

Turns out these cats have more than good looks and cat superpowers—they’re creating business opportunities for their owners

A Global Business

  • Annual Earnings from “Cat-investment”
  • Colonel Meow – $5k
  • Lil Bub – Earns $30k
  • Keyboard Cat – $21,000 – $175,800
  • Maru – $180k
  • And the Winner is…..
  • Grumpy Cat!
  • With a Net Worth of $100 Million
  • Feline Domination Is Spreading
  • Cat Con
    • A utopia for feline fanatics
    • “biggest cat related pop culture convention in the world”
    • Dedicated to:
      • Celebrating cats
      • Showcasing cat-centric merchandise
      • Supporting animal shelters
    • Provides donations to charities including:
      • FixNation
      • Lil BUB’s Big Fund
      • Kitten Rescue
      • Ian Somerhalder Foundation
    • Attended by over 33,000 cat lovers for the past 3 conventions
    • The event was covered by:
      • The New York Times
      • BuzzFeed
      • Vanity Fair
      • Gizmodo
      • Jezebel
      • PopSugar

As dogs continue to play catch with their unassuming owners, cats are taking over the world—one Internet meme and video at a time

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