Turns out there’s a reason why cats rule on the Internet. And it’s not just that they’re awesome:
Cats may not be man’s best friend, but they’re arguably something even better: man’s key to instant Internet pageviews. It’s a long-established fact that Internet content—whether it’s a cutesy video, a photoshopped inside joke, or a longform public health article—has a better chance of achieving coveted “viral” status if it somehow evokes the sound of purring.
But if we’ve come to accept that cats play an outsized role on the World Wide Web, our understanding of why that’s the case still lags. Most of us would simply plead that we happen to think of cats, and their various digital reproductions, as “cute,” but the sheer magnitude of their popularity suggests that there’s something more than a purely subjective phenomenon at work. Fortunately, natural and social scientists have managed to shed some light on the mystery.