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Cat Videos May Make You Happier and Boost Your Energy

First Posted: Jun 17, 2015 01:10 PM EDT

Want to improve your mood? Watch a few cat videos. Scientists have found that viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions.

Watching cat videos is often viewed as a guilty pleasure. Yet watching these videos may not just entertain. It seems that they can also decrease negative feelings.

"We all have watched a cat video online, but there is really little empirical work done on why so many of us do this, or what effects it might have on us," said Gall Myrick, one of the researchers, in a news release. "As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon."

Internet data shows that more than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube in 2014. These videos received almost 26 billion views total; in fact, cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content.

In this latest study, the researchers surveyed almost 7,000 people, asking them about their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods. Of the participants, about 36 percent described themselves as cat people, while 60 percent liked both cats and dogs.

So what did the researchers find? It turns out that the volunteers were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media. In addition, they had fewer negative emotions and the pleasure they received from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.

"Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward," said Myrick.

The findings are published in the journal Computers in Animal Behavior.

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