Lose Weight By Watching Cat Videos

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Cat videos dominate the internet.

In 2014, more than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube, with almost 26 BILLION views.

There are an almost frightening number of kitty videos featuring felines doing almost anything and everything — from kittens playing with dogs, to cats chasing the light from laser pointers, to felines trying (and failing) to jump on couches . . .

The list is almost endless . . .

While watching these countless cat videos may seem a frivolous pastime, there can be actual health benefits that arise from our boundless fascination — including another common obsession — losing weight.

Myrick Study 2015

Assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick of Indiana University Media School published the results of a survey in Computers in Human Behavior in 2015. She interviewed almost 7,000 people concerning their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods.

In Myrick's study:

  • 36 percent of participants described themselves as a "cat person," while about 60 percent said they liked both cats and dogs.
  • The most popular sites for viewing cat videos were Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger.
  • They often view Internet cats at work or during studying.
  • The pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.
  • Cat owners and people with certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and shyness, were more likely to watch cat videos.
  • About 25 percent of the cat videos they watched were ones they sought out; the rest were ones they happened upon.
  • They were familiar with many so-called "celebrity cats," such as"Grumpy Cat" or "Lil Bub".
Cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content.

After watching cat videos, participants in the study reported:

  • More Energy / Metabolism Boost: Laughing gives your metabolism a small boost. Genuine laughter increased both energy and heart rate by 10-20 percent above resting values. This is especially true of laughing at cat videos.
  • More Positive Feelings: After watching cat videos, participants felt more positive than before.
  • Less Negative Feelings: Viewers had fewer negative emotions including anxiety, annoyance and sadness.

Final Thoughts

The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos does more than simply entertain; it promotes positive emotions, decreases negative feelings and boosts energy and metabolism.

There are two things you should remember, however:

  • You get the biggest effect on mood from the first video you watch. Before long, you may habituate to the videos (as you may habituate to the effects of a drug), meaning that you are no longer getting any additional value from watching them.
  • If you spend too much time watching any videos, you could run out of time to take care of important things you need to accomplish.

So . . . enjoy the positives of watching your cat videos . . . and perhaps lose some weight too.


  • Jessica Gall Myrick. Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect? Computers in Human Behavior, 2015; 52: 168 DOI:

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