YouTube has made lot of money in advertising from the internet cat. The most successful single genre of video is the cat video. The internet cat is a massive financial success for Google who own YouTube. But the internet cat is a failure..for the cat. Cats are the only stars of the internet but has it changed things for the better for the cat? Of course not. There is nothing to suggest that adoptions at cat shelters have gone up or cat abandonments have gone down because of the success of the internet cat. The predicament of the marginalized cat is exactly the same; perhaps even worse. The unwanted cats are still slaughtered in their millions every year while we laugh at Maru trying to get into another box for the 176 millionth time. While we laugh at Maru there is sorrow in the cat shelters.
The cat stars of the internet are about entertainment. It is using the domestic cat for that purpose. It is similar to the entertainment people obtain from stories about so called celebrities, who are not celebrities at all. The human race is becoming bored and desperate to be alleviated from it.
That is probably why the internet population is so captivated with William Braden’s creation Henri, the cat with a pile of angst and ennui. People who view the Henri videos have anthropomorphized him. Most of viewers are between the ages of 45 and 65. When William posted a joke on Henri’s Facebook page, Henri’s followers and fans complained that sophisticated Henri would never say something like that. They probably thought that Monsieur Henri would never demean himself by making such a coarse joke. His fans want to care for him. Mother him.
William now has an obligation to maintain that fiction. He has to feed that demand. It is ironic that William Braden is going to suffer from the same ennui as his fictional cat. Although Henri is a real cat his character is a fiction. Actually, you may know that Henri does not live with William.
There are a lot of cat based internet laughs. Marx said that religion was the opium of the masses. What he meant was that religion kept people quiet and accepting of their predicament. The internet cat is the modern opium of the masses.
It might be videos of cats that look like Hitler. These are images of cats with black markings on the face above their upper lip and below the nose. Funny I guess, if you are young! If you’re an old geezer it just seems to demean the cat. I know cats don’t know or care but I believe that demeaning the cat even in a humorous way undermines respect for the cat. The domestic cat needs more respect if we are to improve their welfare.
Simon’s Cat is a great internet success. There have been a total of 284 million views in the five years that Simon has been on the internet. Simon’s creator, Simon Tofield has a new career on the back of his creation. The videos are typical of the domestic cat’s character. There is no doubt that Simon understands the cat. I like the videos. I’d just like to see something returned to the cat. Why can’t the cat get a slice of the success?
Another massive cat internet story is Lil Bub. Lil Bub was an unwanted cat until Mike Brindavsky took her on. Despite suffering from several genetic mutations causing deformities such as a misshapen lower jaw leaving the mouth permanently open and her tongue sticking out, Lil Bub is very cute. But she is cute because she is deformed. Someone tell me that is OK to make a celebrity out of a deformed cat. I don’t want to be a killjoy because a lot of people get fun and support from Lil Bub but something about it sticks in my gullet.
What about the hundreds of thousands of cats that are put to sleep because they are deformed at birth? Or the shelter cats who are not pretty enough and unwanted? Has a deformity got to be cute before people are interested?
Let’s laugh at cat antics. Sure. Let’s enjoy the cat. There is nothing bad about the funny internet cat provided there is a payback. In equal measure let’s balance that by rewarding the cat for improving our lives. The first thing to do is to improve the basics and that starts with better cat caretaking through education. Why can’t YouTube put a short Adsense advert at the beginning of each funny cat video that gives a tip on cat caretaking? Now that would put a much bigger smile on my face than even the best funny cat video.