The cat's meow: the emotional boost of cute videos

September 12, 2018 by Len Canter, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—The numbers surrounding the continuing cat video craze are astounding. In one year alone, more than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube and had close to 26 billion views.

What's even more astounding is that all that time spent watching funny and adorable cat videos can actually be a positive use of your time—yes, watching Grumpy Cat can make you less grumpy.

When Penn State associate professor Jessica Gall Myrick was at Indiana University, she surveyed nearly 7,000 people to learn about cat- viewing and how it affects mood. Her results: these videos do more than entertain. After watching them, people felt more energetic and positive, and had fewer negative emotions, like anxiety and sadness.

Though people often tune in when they're procrastinating about a work project, the ensuing may actually spur them to get back to the task at hand.

While not the same as actually having a cat on your lap, watching cat videos could provide some of the emotional comfort associated with pet therapy, and might one day be a low-cost alternative for it, the researchers said.

Cats benefited from the survey as well—Myrick made a donation on behalf of each participant to the foundation of cat video star Lil Bub. As testament to the size of this cat celeb's viewing public, Lil Bub's Big Fund for the ASPCA has raised more than $300,000 for needy animals in just a few years.

If cats aren't your thing, you can still benefit from video viewing. Other research into the power of kawaii, the Japanese word for cuteness, has found that viewing whatever images you find to be cute—from puppies to penguins—can improve your focus.

Explore further: Not-so-guilty pleasure: Viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions

More information: Can't narrow down which cat videos to try out? People magazine posted some of the most viewed favorites online.

Related Stories

Not-so-guilty pleasure: Viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions

June 16, 2015
If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think.

Recommended for you

College students choose smartphones over food

November 16, 2018
University at Buffalo researchers have found that college students prefer food deprivation over smartphone deprivation, according to results from a paper in Addictive Behaviors.

Social media is affecting the way we view our bodies—and not in a good way

November 15, 2018
Young women who actively engage with social media images of friends who they think are more attractive than themselves report feeling worse about their own appearance afterward, a York University study shows.

Study finds mindfulness apps can improve mental health

November 15, 2018
A University of Otago study has found that using mindfulness meditation applications (apps) on phones is associated with improvements in people's mental health.

New research has revealed we are actually better at remembering names than faces

November 14, 2018
With the Christmas party season fast approaching, there will be plenty of opportunity to re-live the familiar, and excruciatingly-awkward, social situation of not being able to remember an acquaintance's name.

Older adults' abstract reasoning ability predicts depressive symptoms over time

November 14, 2018
Age-related declines in abstract reasoning ability predict increasing depressive symptoms in subsequent years, according to data from a longitudinal study of older adults in Scotland. The research is published in Psychological ...

The illusion of multitasking boosts performance

November 13, 2018
Our ability to do things well suffers when we try to complete several tasks at once, but a series of experiments suggests that merely believing that we're multitasking may boost our performance by making us more engaged in ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.