The Definitive Reason Why Cats are so Popular on the Internet and about the “Blep”

The internet cannot have enough cats!
The internet cannot have enough cats!
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Why are cats so popular on the internet? The answer to this oft asked question is provided by Alexis Ohanian who is the 32-year-old co-founder of Reddit which is a major social media website receiving over 200 million visits per month. Alexis Ohanian is a cat person, a “proud cat dad” and he’s smart. All the quotes are his from 38 minute video of a presentation by him about successful entrepreneurship on the internet. The bit about cats is a tiny section of it.

First, this is what Alexis says about cats and the internet:

“You’ve got to be better than a cute cat photo when it comes to getting attention. The cute cat photo is highest level of getting attention from surfers.”

What he means is that the gold standard for getting the attention of web surfers is the cute cat photo but that is not the answer to the question, why are cats so popular on the internet.

Neither is the following snippet of cat info! He refers to the cat “blep”.

Cat Blep
My late cat Charlie with his own version of the cat blep.

“‘Blep’, when cats are happy and they stick out their tongue a little bit. One of the greatest joys of a cat owner is seeing them blep. If you catch a photo of your cat bleeping you submit it to Reddit r/blep and have a discussion.”

“Dogs can’t blep apparently. A lick is not a bleep. It is only when the tongue is just partially sticking out, cats look absurd when they do it but because they take themselves so seriously it is entertaining.”

Why cats are so popular on the internet

Every once in a while I am asked why cats are so popular on the internet. I actually know the answer to this. This is not a joke. I’ve done a PhD on this….The thing with cats and it took me a while to realise this; dog owners get to be social all of the time. You get to go to the dog park…etc… you get to go everywhere with your dog on a leash…”

Alexis means that dog owners get the chance to socialise with other dog owners and their dogs socialise too. There is a culture and community around dog ownership which is very public, he says.

“Now cat owners on the other hand, we don’t take our cats outside with some exceptions. We have no venue to bring our cat and just be like..mmmm..[then we discuss cats with someone]. There was no space before the internet for community to happen between cat owners.”

In short: the internet has given a community and a space to share information and gossip about each other’s cat. Therefore cat owners are brought together on the internet to share information and serious concerns about cats. Dog owners are not so dependent on the internet in order to indulge in this informative pleasure. This is a neat reason why cats are so popular on the internet and you can’t disagree with him.

What do you think?

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22 thoughts on “The Definitive Reason Why Cats are so Popular on the Internet and about the “Blep””

  1. My mother referred to the “blep” as the “Idiot Look” because the cat looks silly.

    As for dogs not being able to “blep” I sorta disagree. When my dogs want my attention, usually to go out, they stick their tongues out just enough to touch me and place their tongue on my skin. It is disgusting and totally turns my stomach, but definitely gets my attention. 😀

  2. WOW gail !!! Are you sserious ??? Every cat person that i know (and i know a lot of them on a personal basis) is wery much the complete opposite of what you are describing….Are you ok ????? I think you missed the point of what michael wrote about because you are obviously too hung up on hating people who have and love cats….have your head checked PLEASE !!!!

    • Gail is aka Woodsman001 or Jim Stevenson. He has many personas. Sometimes he adopts the persona of a woman but he definitely is not the feminine type!

      • Definitely not the feminine type. I think he posted on here as Lorraine too.

        Wow. Thanks for posting this, Michael. Woody definitely belongs to the shallow end of the gene pool. Too bad there isn’t such a thing as retroactive birth control.

  3. Or it could be just that cat-owners are just as sedentary as their preferred pet and sit at home by their keyboards. Everyone else is out in the real world living real lives. Cat-owners are also often social outcasts who only have cats for company — and of course, their keyboards and their imaginary cyber-friends. All the while desperately trying to justify to the world and themselves why their way of life must be so popular from all the cyber-evidence that surrounds their cyber-only lives.

    • It’s amazing how Gail can know everything about all cat owners everywhere. She knows every cat owner out here. She knows for certain that we are all social outcasts (we’re not), that we have only cyber-friends and we hide from the world. Oh no, cat owners couldn’t possibly hold down jobs, go to school or have social lives. That’s just not true. Alert the media. Gail has spoken. She also knows for certain that “everyone else is out in the real world living real lives” which means she knows the situation of every person on earth. There is a word for your kind of thinking, dearie, and that word is delusional.

      Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe Gail is godlike. Maybe she does know everything about everyone everywhere. Or maybe she is just a pathetic garden variety troll who likes to flame cat-centric websites.

      • Good point serbella, i can’t understand why people like gail visit cat websites when they obviously hate cats and people who have cats..gail sounds like she is angry at the world…

        • Hey, Kevin!

          Gail meets the 3 criteria for a troll: 1) she can’t tolerate someone having a different opinion, 2) she’s delusional and deals only in absolutes; she claims to know everything about a certain group, and she doesn’t because that’s impossible, and 3) she immediately resorts to insults against other people in the thread. She obviously hates cats and cat owners, and the only logical reason she’d have for coming onto this site is to post those utterly stupid comments of hers. Otherwise, like you said, why on earth would she bother? Troll is as troll does.

          • I have been to a lot of cat shows in new york and in new jersey. If people who love cats were such social outcasts as gail describes then cat shows would not exist…also, there are a lot of people that volunteer at animal shelters just to get out of the house and do a good thing for cats..

            • Gail is out of touch with reality. And I guess thinking that way about cat owners gives her comfort and bolsters that false belief of hers. You’re absolutely right, Kevin, cat lovers are not social hermits. I know cat lovers who go on trips and cruises, who have held down jobs for decades and have plenty of friends. They’re not hiding behind their keyboards. I think that’s interesting Gail would say that, because that’s exactly what a troll like her does, hide. She’s projecting her crap onto us.

    • I think your comment is terribly and unjustifiably negative. It also generalises. I love cats but am out every day and I go out to London to do photography. I am not a social outcast, far from it.

      You have a very stereotypical and distorted view about people who like cats. You are trolling I realise that. You are probably Woody or one of his disciples.


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