cat science
Credit: @b_ru_ru

How much time have you spent looking at cats on the internet? Once you start thinking about that figure, it… kind of adds up to a lot. We all seek out internet cats for different reasons. Normally, my friends send me links and from there I spiral. Or, if I’m having a tough day, I seek out cute critters to remind me that the world is okay.

Now (meow?), we’ve unearthed a study that totally vindicates our love for digital felines.

A 2015 study in Computers in Human Behavior compared the timing, reasoning, and feeling folks got from looking at cats on the internet. Of course, many people did their viewing during work hours, perhaps even to great procrastination.

But when asked how they felt afterward, participants pointed to, simply, happiness. Looking at cats on the internet, even if they felt some guilt afterward, made them happy. And I mean, who could blame them.

Though the study focuses specifically on cats, I imagine that this kind of digital critter therapy would work for many creatures. After all, let’s not forget the internet’s other mammal obsession, dogs. For my own part, I also look up rabbits, raccoons, birds (or “berbs”), and recently, a whole swath of reptiles.

Whatever you choose as your creature comfort, just know that you’re not alone in seeking it. Now, back to looking up cat Instagrams… for work, obviously.