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Online video means cats, cats, and more cats

online video featuring catsAt our house we have a tradition of viewing a funny online video every day. The responsibility for finding the funny video rotates by the day. If it’s my daughter’s turn, I can be sure the video will feature animals. Usually cats.

That got me to thinking about the cat phenomenon that exists in online video. On one level cats are the butts of jokes about video online. People jest about “another cat video”. But on another level, it’s all absolutely true. Here are some pretty impressive statistics I found about cat videos from ReelSEO:

  • There are about 2 million cat videos posted on YouTube
  • The average number of views per cat video is 12,000
  • The single most popular cat video is Nyan Cat with around 114 million views
  • Maru is the most popular cat on YouTube with a total of 270 million views (all videos)

Cats are extremely popular! In my pursuit of the funny video of the day I went and checked out Nyan Cat and Maru.

Nyan Cat, if you’ve never seen it, isn’t even a cat. It’s an animated cat flying through the air with a rainbow emerging from its rear end. Trust me, there’s more humour in that last sentence than there is in the actual video that goes on for over three and a half minutes. My nine year old loved it. If you want to see it you can find it here.

Maru, though, is another story. He’s a real funny cat that loves to dive into boxes and sneak out from under couches. When I looked at his YouTube channel the main video was a 5 minute compilation of his other videos. I thought there was no way I’d sit and watch it for five minutes. But I did. I just couldn’t bring myself to stop – what cute thing would I miss if I did? Turns out that video was posted five years ago and has over 20 million views. I guess I’m not alone in my fascination of Maru. Here’s a link to his channel if you’re interested in seeing what he can do.

All these cat videos got me wondering where it all started. Many report that the first cat video was made in 1894 by Thomas Edison featuring Henry Welton’s cats from his vaudeville act. The two cats are in a mock boxing ring. The cats are wearing boxing gloves and harnesses. The cats themselves seem rather disinterested, requiring a man (I assume is Mr. Welton) to keep them “fighting” by lifting their harnesses. Even back in the dawning age of “moving pictures” cats were one of the first subjects worthy of immortalising.

One might jump to the conclusion that a key to successful online video is featuring a cat. I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Oliver Burt

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