What I want to know is does it matter if they are dead?
Cats may not be manâ€™s best friend, but theyâ€™re arguably something even better: manâ€™s key to instant Internet pageviews. Itâ€™s a long-established fact that Internet contentâ€”whether itâ€™s a cutesy video, a photoshopped inside joke, or aÂ longform public health articleâ€”has a better chance of achieving coveted â€śviralâ€ť status if it somehow evokes the sound of purring.
But the reason that cats have catapulted to cyber-fame isnâ€™t purely biological: There are social factors at play as well. Steve Dale, a cat behavior consultant and pet journalist, told me that cat aficionados have been particularly drawn to the Internet because they lack other public safety valves where they can express their affection. â€śIn the world of cats, there is no dog park,â€ť Dale says. â€śFor cat owners, the dog park is the Internet.â€ť
The most compelling explanation for our interest in cats, however, may be the most simple: weâ€™re in awe of them. Nagelschneider told me that weâ€™re inclined to watch cats climbing trees or walking upside down on walls because we wish we could do so ourselvesâ€”or, in her words, â€śWhen we are watching these videos, they just blow our minds.â€ť To whatever extent that’s true, it’s certainly worth a click.
The only click a cat is worth is the clik of the safety coming off.