Currently, I’m supposed to be researching for my super-exciting thesis in literary translation, a portion of which was just published on Words Without Borders and which I wrote about for their blog. But instead, I’m thinking about cats on the internet. I’m not even really looking at cat videos, or LOLcat pictures, or even listening to “I Love Cats” the songified song (though now that’s stuck in my head). I started procrastinating, as I’m wont to do, by imagining what was going to be next for me. I applied to PhD programs in a bout of masochism, and now waiting to hear back I’m thinking about all the other possibilities open to me. Before I came back to school, I was working in a non-profit communications department, which I actually loved, and so that seems like a good possibility. And then I was on idealist.org before I knew it looking at jobs with the ASPCA.
Speaking of which, have you been on Amazon.com recently? Of course you have. So you’ve probably seen the heart-wrenching ASPCA add that makes me feel like a monster every time I buy something on Amazon instead of giving that money to sad homeless kittens. I’d insert it but I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a screen-shot of it. Anyway, as a grad student whose net worth is in the negatives by a lot, it’s hard for me to justify buying fresh fruit, much less giving money away. Still…that sad little kitten face makes me want to budget them in instead of food.
And so that’s what got me thinking about cats on the internet. Remember that Sprint commercial? “Now with 4G we can put even more cats on the internet.” Oh yeah.
Even people who aren’t necessarily defined as cat lovers in their everyday life likely spend a good amount of their internet time looking at cats. Pictures of cats doing weird things, with funny captions, videos of cats doing weird or cute or hilarious things. Think about it this way – how many dog videos/image macros/memes can you think of? A handful, sure. But how many cats? Dozens, easily. Nyan cat, surprised kitten, keyboard cat, LOLcats, ceiling cat, talking cats, Maru, and that’s just off the top of my head. And not including cats on the internet for genuine cat lovers, like The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.
So why are there so many cats on the internet? This seems like a question for the good folks at the Internet Research Institute, home of Know Your Meme and possibly one of the greatest sites in existence. Is it because dogs all do more or less the same things, while cats have an infinite variety of quirks? Or is it because people with cats are more likely to post their cats to the internet, whereas people with dogs are busy doing things like taking a walk?
I’ve been thinking about how this has possibly precipitated a social change regarding cats, too. The preponderance of cats on the internet doing cute/interesting things may make people more likely to consider having a cat in their life, or at least lessens the social stigma that used to be associated with being a “cat person.” Or, in my case, the potential of being a “cat lady.” Maybe?
Well, whatever the case, here’s my own contribution to cats on the internet:
And that concludes my procrastination for the day.