Cats: A Web Meme With More Than Nine Lives

Mashable's Amy-Mae Elliott recently asked "the million dollar" question: Why does the web love cats?

Elspeth Rountree, founder of Know Your Meme, tells Elliott:

"They're the perfect distraction from our hectic lives. You don't need any explanation or prior knowledge to understand the slapstick humor that animals provide. Cat videos and images are a quick hit of pure, unfettered ‘cute.' They're also entertainment in easily digestible doses."

But there are plenty of cute animals on this planet, and it could be argued that dogs — also an incredibly popular house pet — are just as cute, silly, funny and weird as cats. Yet, when it comes to viral videos and macros, cats rule.

Jack Shepherd from BuzzFeed offers this theory:

"When a dog gets in a box, it's because he desperately wants you to think he's cool. When a cat does it, it's because it suddenly felt like the right thing to do at the time. More often than not, it totally was. I think it's the very aloofness of cats that makes us want to caption their thoughts, or put them in front of a keyboard and see what happens. The many Keyboard Dogs were a failure not just because they came second, but because they were enjoying themselves far too much."

Growing up, my family had a cat. Now I am a dog owner. But I think it's true that cats offer more mystery, more intrigue, more depth than dogs. Ceiling Dog is dumb and silly; Ceiling Cat is an infinite conundrum; an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Also, I'm scared of her.

The Million Dollar Question: Why Does the Web Love Cats? [Mashable]