Unless you live all your life offline, you must have noticed the feline epidemic on the Internet.
For years there have been chain emails full of photos of cute cats and kittens. In more recent times they’ve been supplanted by YouTube, which is awash with cat and kitten videos. Right now, YouTube has 134,000 cat videos and 44,000 kitten videos.
There’s a positive plethora of cats and kittens on personal blog postings. I plead guilty to some of them. Google’s blog search service finds 68 million cats and five million kittens.
‘Cute’ is the byword. Thirty-six thousand of YouTube’s cats and 27,000 of their kittens are specified as cute. Google blog searches find five million cute cats and half a million cute kittens.
Cute can also be the yuckword, when combined with the infantile English that the cat genre seems to attract. (Go to SpeakLOLSpeak and cringe. Well I do, anyway. Also cringeworthy is is icanhazcheeseburger.com.) One SpeakLOLSpeak recommendation is the very popular YouTube video, i are cute kitten. Cloyingly naff, it’s been viewed 26 million times. Beating it handily though, are Surprised Kitty (Original) (46 million views) and Very Angry Cat – FUNNY (51 million views).
A better, though less popular, YouTube video is An engineers’s guide to cats. It’s scored five million views. A recent up and comer from Japan is the terminally cute Kittens in Bowls. Coming up much faster though, is the charming Cat and Owl Playing, which has been up for only ten days and already has over a million viewers. Deservedly.
The authors of these videos could make serious money if they became YouTube Partners. Under the scheme, YouTube places paid adverts on the same page as the video and shares revenue with the author. YouTube is coy about the amount they pay out, but one article I read about the scheme said that really popular videos paid well. I don’t remember the details, but 51 million viewings would generate many thousands of dollars of income.
The Cat’s Meow is one of several blogsites that track YouTube cuteness. Steeling myself to go there, I found it featuring “Hands Up” Kitten as its Cat of the Week. It turned out the video had been nicked from a blogsite called Your Daily Cute, which suggests, “If you liked this Hands Up Kitten video, why not subscribe to Your Daily Cute by email? Don’t miss a Cute!”
Yes, we like our cats. But we also like our dogs. The blogosphere has 64 million dogs – almost as many as cats. But puppies rule: they’re twice as popular as kittens. Dogs beat cats paws-down on YouTube videos: 326,000 dogs vs 134,000 cats. Puppies beat kittens by a similar proportion.
Friends of Felines Rescue Center. YouTube isn’t the only place for cat videos and last week I came across a strangely addictive website that gives 24/7 live ‘Kitty Cam’ video coverage of the Friends of Felines Rescue Center in the small town of Defiance, Ohio, USA. It is a non-profit, all volunteer facility with a a no-kill policy that houses between 80 and 110 cats and kittens. It receives no state or federal funding and relies on private donors. It has many tree houses, climbing poles, cat nap areas, over 75 metres of cat walks, many different kinds of play/sleep areas at various heights and a large outdoor enclosure. As well as accomodating cats, the facility includes a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. It also has its own blog, and Facebook page.
I sent the Friends of Felines address to my sister in law, who emailed back saying, “Damn you. Damn you. Damn you.” A friend in Florida wondered if he should pass it on to his partner because it would probably get her fired at work. I showed it to a coolly professional book publisher in our office and discovered later in the week that she bookmarked it on her computer and keeps sneaking a look.
The Friends of Felines webcam is hosted by the Ustream website which has a number of other interesting animal live webcam views, for instance the Decorah Eagles. The camera is trained on a nest atop a tree in Decorah, Iowa, occupied by a magnificent bald eagle and her eaglets. [Update: they seem to have flown the nest now.] The Shiba Inu Puppy Cam is worth a look, though mostly the puppies (yes, they’re cute!) are sleeping. Closer to home is Backyard Galah Cam.