And the winner of this year’s best cat video is. . .

Cat videos are perhaps the most emblematic meme to come out of the rise of the Internet. From humble beginnings with “I can haz cheeseburger” to the actual, bonafide celebrity of cats like Grumpy Cat today, felines have managed to completely take over the web. But if you think the joy of cat videos lives solely on the Internet, you are mistaken. Because in St. Paul, Minnesota, a festival brings all those cat lovers together for an actual award ceremony.

The Internet Cat Video Festival, which was held yesterday at CHS Field in St. Paul and is organized by the Walker Art Center, is a one day event that culminates in a video reel of the best the cat videos the Internet has to offer from the past year. Then, the Golden Kitty Award is given out to the best of the best videos (and their stars) — past recipients include Henri Le Chat Noir and Grumpy Cat.

This year was the fourth festival, and tickets sold-out. The first year an estimated 10,000 people showed up, and numbers seem to be holding strong. This year organizers estimate that about 13,000 came to celebrate the best in cat videos.

Attendees were treated to a variety of celebricat sightings, group activities, and art exhibits centered around cats. There were also booths with information about cat rescue organizations. The event was dedicated to Cecil the lion, and a memorial message was featured before the reel of the year’s best cat videos began.

So what is it about cat videos that seems to bring people together, and can bring thousands to a festival? Organizer and creator of the “Henri, Le Chat Noir” videos Will Braden has a pretty spot-on idea.

“[Dog] people have ‘take your dog to work day.’ You can walk your dog around on a leash and go to cafes. People don’t really have that with cats,” Braden told the Star Tribune. “The Internet and cat videos by extension became this sort of de facto, virtual cat park,” Braden said. “I think that’s why people enjoy it so much. They get to watch these videos and be with people and say, ‘Oh my God, I thought my cat was the only one that did that!’ ”

Now let’s get down to business:  Which video won this year’s Golden Kitty Award? A one-minute vid called “Cat Behavior Finally Explained” by Alana Grelyak and Michael Gabriele of the Cat CATastrophes series on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, you absolutely need to.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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