7 psychological reasons cats are so popular on the internet

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why cats?

There is a saying in the marketing world that if you want something to go viral combine it with cat. I am pretty sure you have came across many of those funny cat memes on the internet. Studies show that cat pictures are far more popular than dog pictures on the internet. The percentage of cat pictures that go viral are much higher than those of dogs.

Dogs are loyal, smart and lovable. So why do people share cat pictures more? And why is a picture of a cat doing something dumb much more interesting than that of a dog? Thankfully psychology has the answer.

7 psychological reasons cats are so popular on the internet

  • 1) Unexpected: We humans get bored of routine and repetitive stuff. We quickly shift away our attention from the familiar and understandable. When we see something unexpected we pause and try to understand what's going on. Cat's are anything but predictable and because of that they spark a lot of interest compared to the predictable dogs. (see also Why being mysterious is good)
  • 2) Introverts meet online: Many studies claim that cat people are more introverted. If that's is true then it makes a lot of sense that many of those introverts are staying online and sharing cat pictures instead of hanging out with their friends or doing an outdoor activity.
  • 3) Very expressive: The faces of cats are extremely emotionally expressive and that's why people can easily use cat pictures to make fun of some human emotions. Cat pictures are a popular way for expressing human emotions and even making fun of them
  • 4) Cat people express themselves through their cats: We share the content that best describes us. Some people just want to be like cats. They want to do whatever they want whenever they want. They want to rebel and be nonconformists. Many of the people who share cat pictures are actually expressing their unconscious desire to behave like cats (see also 7 reasons you share certain posts but not others)
  • 5) Cats are hard to get: In my book How to make someone fall in love with you i explained how scarcity always makes things appear more valuable and the same goes for cats. Cats are hard to tame, they hardly obey orders and it's very difficult to get them to do what you want. This is why they seem much more interesting than dogs
  • 6) Intense emotional response: People share the stuff that invoke intense emotional response. Because cats are complex, mysterious, playful and unpredictable their funny pictures invoke strong emotional responses that motivate people to share them
  • 7) Cuteness?: The cuteness of cats aids in the process in two ways. The first is that we are biologically wired to take care of small, cute and helpless creatures. This is how God ensures we will take care of babies. The second is that cute things grab attention fast. So cat pictures are more likely to be noticed than other less cute pictures

Why you should care?

You might wonder why i spent some time writing about cats. The answer is simple; All sciences are connected. When you understand what makes something popular you might be able to understand why something else is popular.

The other benefit is that by understanding how the human brain works you can exploit it by creating products and services that appeals to it and so increase your chance of making your stuff popular.

2knowmysef is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

The book How to make someone fall in love with you was released by 2knowmyself.com; the book will dramatically increase your chance of letting someone fall in love with you.

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