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The editors at Best Sociology Programs decided to research the topic of:
Why Do We Love Cats So Much?
Humans have been obsessed with cats basically since the beginning of time. Egyptians thought they warded off evil and, in the Middle Ages, they were considered evil themselves. Today... we think they're hilarious. So, why do we love cats so much?
All the Things!
- Cats are cute!
- The perfect distraction from our hectic lives
- Their humor requires no explanation
- Cats are NOT cute
- There are just as many memes of sinister, plotting cats as cute or funny cats
- Cats have an element of danger about them
- They're perfect for human projection
- They're very expressive; making them awesome for anthropomorphization
- They get themselves into amusing predicaments
- It's all a cat conspiracy
- Cats have been slowly harvesting humans for two millennia
- The internet is a social experiment in which humans simply pawns
- They're not dogs
- Dogs try too hard to get our attention
- A dog in front of a keyboard looks like it's having far too much fun
Our History with Cats
- Egyptians loved cats
- They thought cats kept evil at bay at night
- Cats were considered protectors
- Egyptians declared cats to be demigods
- Pharaohs could own cats while their subjects could feed or care of cats
- Cats were mummified and buried as any other demigod
- Dark ages
- Cats were considered agents of Satan
- European inquisitors decreed cats to be demons in disguise
- More cats than witches were burned at the stake
- People thought cats had supernatural powers
- Any misfortune was blamed on cats
- The advent of photography and the cat
- Once humans got their hands on cameras, the dignity of the domesticated feline was doomed
- Harry Pointer (1822-1889)
- Perhaps the progenitor of the shameless cat picture
- Pointer snapped approx 200 photos of his "Brighton Cats"
- Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked humans
- He soon realized that a caption made cats even more amusing
Is the Human/Cat Attachment Mutual?
- A Mexican research group used a procedure known as "strange situation" to test cats
- Normally used to test an infant's reaction the absence or presence of its mother
- Analysis of the cats suggested they were indeed emotionally attached
- While owners were present,
- cats appeared more relaxed
- more likely to explore
- While owners were absent:
- cats were much more alert
- less likely to engage in activity
- Instances of feline attachment or heroics:
- A tomcat traveled 2,500 miles over 2 years to find its owners who had moved from CA to FL
- Feline, Lucy, fought off a rattlesnake slithering toward a 2 year old boy
- A CA cat uncharacteristically nipped its owners leg to draw attention to her 4 month old who was suffocating in another room
- A woman awoke to find her father's cat, Holmes, on her chest. She soon discovered her father was suffering a stroke nearby
Cats are Taking Over the Internet! ...and it's hilarious
- Nyan Cat - Also known as Pop Tart Cat
- 8-bit animation depicting a cat with the body of a cherry pop tart flying through outer space
- Nyan Cat has approx 95m views on YouTube
- the Nyan Cat can now be found on anything from a Progress Bar app to t-shirts
- An lolcat is an image combining a photograph of a cat with text intended to contribute humour
- The LOLcat meme gained much of its traction through the weekly ritual of Caturday on 4chan and I Can Has Cheezburger
- 2007: Time Magazine published an article about the LOLcat phenomenon
- Reporting that a Google search for "lolcat" already yielded over 3.3 million results and that the website I Can Has Cheezburger was receiving 200-500 submissions per day
- 2012: The Huffington Post published an article about an exhibition at the Framer's Gallery in London
- "LOLCAT - TEH EXHIBISHUN," featured 49 original LOLCat inspired artworks
- Keyboard Cat
- Fatso was recorded playing a keyboard in the mid 1980's by his owner, Charlie Schmidt
- 2007: Schmidt uploaded the video to his YouTube channel originally titled "Cool Cat"
- 2009, YouTuber Brad O'Farrell posted a mashup video of a man falling down an escalator with Schmidt's cat, entitled "Play him off, Keyboard Cat."
- The Keyboard Cat has been featured on
- the Guardian
- LA Times
- The Daily Show
Our Current Obsession: Grumpy Cat!
- Grumpy Cat Love
- www.grumpycats.com attracts 1.5 million unique visitors a month
- Facebook page has over 700k "Likes"
- YouTube channel "SevereAvoidance" has nearly 95k subscribers
- Twitter account has approx 62k followers
- SXSW 2013
- Grumpy Cat received 13,931 mentions throughout the week
- more than any of the top speakers, including Al Gore