The chief operating officer of a company called Viral Spiral, which is a content management company, said that cats were popular because they made people laugh.
I’m not sure that he is completely correct. There is no doubt that cats make us smile and make us feel better and sometimes they make us laugh. Sometimes they make us sad or anxious.
Because cats make people laugh, it is said that this is the reason why more than 350,000 cat owners in Britain have set up social networking accounts with websites, such as Facebook, for their cat. Have these Facebook accounts being set up correctly using the correct pages and are they compliant with Facebook’s rules and regulations? Who reads the regulations? There are 83 million fake accounts on Facebook. How many of them are pages about pets which inadvertently fall foul of Facebook’s rules and regulations?
In addition, the number of photographs of cats put online each day by British people is 3.8 million. The number of photographs of people put online, by comparison, is 1.4 million.
This is an interesting statistic. Research indicates that one in five people who have set up a social networking account for their cat believe that their cat is more interesting than themselves.
There is also the modern Internet, social networking phenomenon which is the desire of some cat owners to make their cat a celebrity in order to receive some fame themselves vicariously through their cat.
This would seem to have some similarities to pushy and ambitious parents achieving something that they wish they had achieved themselves but did not and then try to do so through their children.
People clearly love seeing and sharing funny or cute pictures of their cat, including videos and memes. A meme is an idea or method of presenting something which catches on from person to person on the Internet and which becomes a craze. Funny cat pictures with captions in “Impact” font are an example.
However, I have two observations to make about that. Firstly, the funny cat picture is on the wane. This has to be the case because they are a craze, although very long-lived, and crazes always have their day and become eventually a part of history. This observation can be seen by checking out the cheeseburger website which has totally reconfigured itself because at one time it took a nosedive when it was exclusively based upon funny cat pictures.
Secondly, I’m not convinced that using the domestic cat as a means of entertainment is a good idea. I think what has happened is that people who do not like cats have also enjoyed laughing at cats, which has led to a disrespectful approach to the domestic cat. The wrong sort of person has jumped onto the bandwagon and this has distorted our relationship with the domestic cat, in my opinion. It has caused some people who do not care for a cat to perceive the domestic cat as something that he or she is not. The Internet cat sharing phenomenon is good fun but I’m not sure that it helps to improve cat welfare or to improve the relationship between people and the domestic cat.
There is a gulf between the cat picture sharing phenomenon on social networking sites and the lives of shelter cats, stray cats and feral cats. It would seem that the reality of the latter is something that people like to forget.
There are many benefits to sharing photographs of cats on the Internet. It is enjoyable and often educational. It is possible that Facebook has had a beneficial effect upon cat welfare. We should just make sure that we respect the cat at all times.
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