Ready for some absolutely wonderful news? You know all those times you secretly watched cat videos at work and felt really, really guilty about it? It turns out you didn't have to feel bad, because new research says that watching cat videos is actually good for you and can help you to perform tough tasks better.
According to a study published in Computers in Human Behaviour, watching cat videos helped to boost viewers' energy and emotions, making them feel better about negative feelings and more able to face difficult talks ahead.
Almost 7,000 people were asked about how they felt before and after watching cat videos, with the results making for fascinating reading: those little kittens can really help to boost our performance at work and can even make us happier people. The study also showed that only 25% of cat videos are watched because people actually sought them out - most of the millions of cat videos that are watched around the world just happen to be stumbled upon in the huge procrastination-enabler that is the Internet.
Research into cats is one of our favourite things; just a couple of months ago we were delighted to find out that when a cat rubs itself against your leg, it means it's hugging you. Who knew?
“For most people, watching the cat videos improved their mood,” Indiana University assistant professor and author of the study Jessica Gall Myrick told Indiana Public Media: “Specifically, they reported after watching Internet cat videos that they felt more hopeful, more positive, more inspired and they also tended to feel less anxious, less angry. We saw a decrease in negative emotions.”
There were more than 2 million cat videos posted on YouTube in 2014, and with almost 26 billion views, cat videos had more views per video than any other category - which means there's a lot of free therapy and stress relief out there for cat lovers.
"As the news accounts suggest, internet users spend a significant amount of time consuming cat-related media, some of that while they are supposed to be doing other tasks like working or studying," Jessica said. "Practically, these findings... promote the idea that viewing internet cats may actually function as a form of digital pet therapy and/or stress relief for internet users."
“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional payoff may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” Jessica added, before reiterating the importance of cute cat videos on the internet.
“Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it’s one of the most popular uses of the Internet today,” she said. “If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore."
Who could ever ignore Internet cats?
Without further ado, we think you should indulge in some stress-relief right now and watch some of our favourite cat videos below...