The Social Media Lesson We Can Learn From Cats on the Internet

Thursday, April 14, 2011 by Frank Radice

There are nearly 40 million pet cats in America. Now that’s what I call a community! And it’s no surprise that the “Two Talking Cats” YouTube video has 39 million views. That’s what I call powerful social engagement.

So, why cats? What is it about cats that make people watch?

Dog owners will say that their pets have personalities, facial expressions, the ability to respond to commands, give undying love…And they will say that cats do not possess these qualities. To that, I respond “Bull @#$$!”

I can personally say that my cat, Sam, does all of that! And I bet your cat does too (to some extent).

Don’t believe me? All you have to do is watch the “Cat and the Dolphin” video and you will see what I mean. It’s Litter-ally (pun intended) a cat out of water video.

So what lessons can we learn from cats on the internet that will help inform us as social media users?






After all, why do people share content? To engage with their community, to express feelings, and to share their stories are among some of the reasons for this.

Cats are universal. They are loved and adored by people all over the world and no prior knowledge is required to appreciate their humor. It is harder to read a cat (unlike dogs, which are highly emotional animals). Cat’s reactions are typically unscripted (although most likely provoked), and for the most part, they are unpredictable. Which means that the result is good content. And for us, virtually humiliating them with funny captions, videos and pictures is like a harmless practical joke.

And since millions of people own cats, there’s an endless supply of new content.

Cats are just who they are. They are comfortable with themselves and do whatever they want from ignoring you, to puking up fur balls on your carpet. To quote Eric Cartman from South Park, “Whatever – I do what I want.” So is the life of a cat. In many ways, we envy them. And we certainly watch videos of them online, and share them with our friends.