Caught yourself watching another cat video? Well don’t get grumpy or distressed about it. Turns out being slave to these rulers of the Internet is actually good for you.
How? Let us count the ways.
Admit it. We gravitate toward YouTube to watch videos that make us feel good. At the top of this feel-good list is cat videos, of course. Now there’s research that backs up this urge.
Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at Indiana University, conducted a study to find out who watches cat videos and their effects on viewers. She found shy, agreeable individuals usually watch cat videos as a “little psychological ‘pick-me-up.” The study confirms what cat video viewers already know: cat videos boost our mood, make us feel more positive emotions, and lower any negative emotions we might be experiencing.
Ever wondered why cute cat images have so much sway over us? Cute pictures capture our attention and make us smile. But that’s not all, researchers from Japan studied the effects of kawaii, a Japanese word for “cute,” on people’s behavior. They found people who viewed cute objects were more focused, careful, and motivated to be more caring towards others.
In addition to being cute, cats can be pretty darn hilarious.
It might sound cliche but laughter really is the best medicine. A good laugh provides more benefits to our body than simple comic relief.
Researchers from one study found watching a 20 minute funny video significantly improved memory of people in their 60s and 70s. This group also showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to the group who didn’t watch the videos.
Laughter also protects the heart against disease. In another study, researchers from the University of Maryland found laughter contributes to a healthier heart. Still another study found laughter benefits the immune system.
Just like a big shopping complex, they say the Internet has everything even videos of cats purring. But that’s actually a good thing because purrs are beneficial to our well-being.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota Stroke Center conducted a 10 year study showing 40 percent of cat owners were less likely to have heart attacks than those who didn’t own a cat. The researchers attributed this effect to the purring sounds cats make.
Purring is a cat’s calming mechanism, says Steve Dale, study author and an animal behavior consultant. “If that’s the case … maybe they calm themselves or other cats, but maybe there’s a fallout and there’s another mammal species, us, that’s impacted.”
Another study seems to support this finding. Researchers from the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina analyzed the purrs of different feline species, including the domestic cat, ocelots, and cheetahs. They found the sound frequencies of these purrs helped the cat heal its bones and organs quickly. The purrs have the same effect on any humans or animals nearby.
So the next time you catch yourself watching another cat video, relax and smile knowing you’re actually doing something good for yourself.