But the sad doggone truth is that if you’re a dog on the Internet, no one cares, because the geeks who rule the Web are focused on felines.
Since then, the Internet has quintupled in data size, so that number could now be 6.5 billion. That would be nearly one cat pic for every person on Earth.
So what gives? Why is the Internet so darned crazy about cats?
The most frequently cited answer to this puzzling question is a practical one. Felines aren’t outdoor companion animals; when they walk outside, they walk alone. As a result, cat owners eager to show off their pals or interact with their peers don’t have an easy way to socialize. “The Internet is the dog park for cats,” notes Niky Roberts, spokesperson for Friskies. “I follow cats online to connect with other cat people.”
Other experts point to the uniquely mysterious nature of felines — which led to their being worshiped as gods in ancient Egypt, feared as demons in ancient Japan and associated with magic just about everywhere (and isn’t the Internet just another form of magic?).
As viral meme expert Sam Ford, author of the book “Spreadable Media,” notes that while dogs interact like humans, cats do not. “Cats have an alien quality to them, a mystique that drives our interest in projecting emotions onto them.”
Derek Liu, co-caretaker of Waffles the Cat, agrees. “They’re eccentric creatures,” he says. “Some cats, not naming names, do nothing but sit in the bathroom staring at the water in the toilet all day. And they don’t respond to you predictably. They come if they want, not if you want them to.”
And that might be the ultimate explanation for why cats are so big on the Web. As enigmatic, homebound individuals with unconventional obsessions, unusual interests and limited social skills, “They have a lot in common with the people who spend the most time on the Internet,” says Joshua Green, vice president of digital strategy at Arnold Worldwide. “The centrality of cats to the digital world is because they have a cultural connection to the people who live there. The fact is, cats are just better nerd pets.”
Do nerds really need another source of social rejection and emotional withholding that walks on keyboards and spills liquids onto electronics for fun and has no obvious utility other than being decorative?
We dog geeks disagree. Browsers of the Worldwide Web unite! We have nothing to lose but our leashes!