If you have perused Facebook, Instagram or Twitter recently, you must have encountered a funny photo or video featuring a feline.
Cat videos and photos are the new social media standards. In recent weeks, it was hard to miss a video showing a tabby cat coming to a young boy’s rescue during a dog attack. As is clear in this clip, a neighbor dog knocked the kid off his trike, and the family cat rushed onto the scene and ferociously chased the canine away.
Together, seven YouTube videos presenting the same security-camera footage of this event have, as of this morning, attracted more than 7.5 MILLION views.
Today Show and ABC News clips featuring the family talking about the rescue have charted an additional three million views.
However, this cat’s sudden celebrity is not an anomaly.
According to the British mobile network Three, while social networking users post about 1.4 million “selflies” a day, more than 3.8 online photos, videos and memes featuring felines appear daily.
What’s more, Three claims, at least 350,000 cat owners have set up Facebook, Instagram or Facebook sites for their pets.
“Sorry, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna,” a blog post about this study begins, “but we British web users are more interested in sharing pictures of our cats than images of your bums.”
It seems the public’s appetite for all things feline continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I’m thinking it’s time my own cat, Pumpkin, gets his day in the sun.
A few months ago, Marie Claire magazine introduced me to “Seven Cats Who Have More Followers Than You on Instagram.” To be clear, I am certain that MILLIONS of cats have more followers than the 60 I count on Instagram.
Years ago, friends who know me as a Francophile told me about Henri, the Existential Cat. I became enamored with this “chat noir,” who in his first video states, “My thumbs are not opposable. Yet I oppose everything.”
A quick Internet search will link you to Henri’s Twitter page (28.2 million followers) and several of his (or, rather, owner Will Braden’s) videos, which have attracted tens of millions of views.
In recent years, Henri’s stardom has been eclipsed by several others, including Grumpy Cat, a two-year-old, permanently scowling female (formally named Tardar Sauce), who listed as a “Public Figure” on The Official Grumpy Cat Facebook site.
Another rising star is the adorable Scottish Fold cat Maru, who, according to the blog “Cutest Paw,” has a series of Japanese videos that have been viewed more than 200 million times.
Yesterday, several Facebook friends linked to a Friskies cat food ad, which imagines a conversation between an established house cat and a newly arrived kitten.
I ask you, what’s not to love?
While I was growing up, and for the first 15 years of marriage, my family was 100 percent cat-centric. When my kids begged for a dog, I would engage in discussions about why cats are superior and make better pets.
Cats are quiet, independent and loving, I stated. They cost less to feed and maintain. They’re smarted than dogs. If necessary, they hunt for their own food and, perhaps most important, they cover up their own poop. Our cat hasn’t used a litter box since he was a tiny kitten.
My kids know I love them fully and unconditionally, to the moon and back. However, they know that I love my cat, too, and understand that when I say I love Pumpkin “just a little bit more,” I’m only 90 percent joking.
When he was in fifth grade, my oldest son was assigned a research report about his favorite pet. He chose to write about a dog. So, we looked through books and internet sites, and came up with the perfect canine for our family, a Bernese Mountain dog. He wrote as if we owned one.
Nevertheless, I wasn’t ready to take the plunge. “Let’s wait until your sister is old enough to stay home alone when I walk the dog,” I said.
Finally, when Son #1 was mid-way through high school, he threatened, “If you wait to get a dog until I leave for college, I will never forgive you.”
Not long after, after dropping that son at school one morning, a woman driving down a hill ran a stop sign and T-boned the SUV that contained me and the other three children. We rolled three times and finally came to a stop against a fence, with the driver’s side against the ground.
Miraculously, although the car was totaled, the human passengers were completely intact.
I gained a new perspective on life, and decided to stop saying “No” so much. The next weekend, we acquired a dog through the football team auction.
Five years later, that adorable, 90-pound Golden-doodle holds a prominent place in our household, along with his beloved, younger “brother,” which we purchased at a Young Life auction three years later.
My dogs are loveable and loyal. They are happy with one good walk each day, which gets me outside, exercising, even during Seattle’s darkest, rainiest days. They follow me from room to room, keep my feet warm (as I write, they both are lying peacefully under my desk), are game for any activity and never talk back.
Which brings me to this morning’s drama. I awoke to the sound of my husband stomping around the kitchen, sighing, running water and clattering pans.
When I went downstairs to see what was the matter, he told me he was cleaning up the mess one or both of the dogs had created during the night. Oozing and brown, in several spots on floors, carpets and doors…well, you get the picture.
It turns out the dogs felt left out of our “National Donut Day” celebration on Friday. Late yesterday, they found the box containing the remaining six donuts. Apparently, the maple bars didn’t sit well.
So, as of this morning, it’s still Advantage Pumpkin.
– Linda Williams Rorem, Permission Slips, 9 June 2014
To subscribe, email PermissionSlips1@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter @PermissionSlips, and please “like” our Facebook page