Happy #InternationalCatDay! In celebration, let’s talk about how cats took over the internet

As we denizens of the internet know, every Saturday we celebrate #Caturday. But on this very special #Caturday, we are ALSO celebrating #InternationalCatDay. Think of it as Superbowl Sunday for the whiskered set. On this most cat-centric of days, let’s tackle the question that has crossed all our minds at one point- how exactly DID cats take over the internet?

To try to answer this question, The Guardian spoke to Jason Eppink, the associate curator of digital media at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), who helped put together the institution’s latest exhibit, entitled, of course, “How Cats Took Over The Internet.”

Eppink quoted Buzzfeed‘s “beastmaster” (AKA the dude who runs the “Cute Animals” section), Jack Shepherd, referring to the internet as “one giant, virtual catpark.”

“Dog owners can go out and have their pets sniff one another, cats are mainly indoors,” The Guardian explains. “There was also the long perceived pejorative around cats – the crazy cat lady, a lonely spinster knitting and playing Carole King records. When the internet gave us a peek at everyone else’s cats, and how owners are delighted with the silly and obnoxious things they do, it changed their perception. It was no longer a private thing to be secretly happy when your cat decides to knock a drink over for no reason and give you a blank look. A community of cat worship not seen since the days of Imhotep was born.”

But Shepherd (the aforementioned Buzzfeed “beastmaster”) thinks it’s possible that the this whole thing about cats on the internet is more about hype than anything else.

“There is actually no good reason why cats should gain more traction online than dogs, or indeed any other animal (sloths, for instance, had a huge year online in 2013),” Shepherd explained in a piece he wrote for The Guardian last year. “But the cat propaganda machine is ruthlessly effective, and the online animal media is almost completely under the sway of the powerful cat lobby.”

So even if the whole internet cat thing is, maybe, a little overblown, is that really such a bad thing? Shepherd doesn’t think so.

“I also think that this is an excellent thing for society, as cats are both furry and nice,” Shepherd said, championing #Caturday. ” I, for one, welcome our feline overlords.”


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