So why is it that the collective web is a "cat person," so to speak? Why are there so many kitty pics and videos cluttering up the Interwebs? And what is it about feline-themed content that makes it so weirdly shareable?
In the quest for answers to these important questions, we've talked to cat-themed content creators, viral experts and other commentators from within the industry to try and solve one of the most pressing quandaries of our time.
Because They're Cute?Does the popularity of cats really come down to their inherent fluffy cuteness? Images and videos of cute cats were popular before the advent of the Internet, as Elspeth Rountree, the co-founder of Know Your Meme, points out. She suggests we've always adored the feline species, it's just that the Internet provides a modern, one-click way to share such content.
Because They're Not Cute?The cute explanation alone is too simplistic, as although many of the cat memes have been cute or funny, there are just as many that portray cats as sinister creatures, plotting against man.
Cory Alder, the creator of the popular iPhone app CatPaint, modestly describes himself as "mostly just programmer who's into cats." He also doesn't buy into the cute argument.
"I can say it's not just because they're cute. That would be a huge over-simplification. If it was just because they were cute I would have made KittenPaint or PuppyPaint, not CatPaint," says Alder.
"Cats are awesome and enigmatic. They even have a hint of the danger about them. I read somewhere that scientists say cats 'domesticated themselves.' Like, we domesticated dogs, and we made them into what we thought we wanted, but cats made themselves into what we actually wanted."" The Million Dollar Question