Scrolling through a social media feed is fraught with pictures of cats. Cute cats, crying cats, funny cats, white cats, black cats, cats with legs in the air, cats on stairs, grumpy cats, sad cats. Added to the pictures, are captions that capture our attention and tweek a reaction, mostly a smile. Why do we see so many cat memes? Are they just a purposeless distraction created from boredom, or is there a greater intent? And why do we paws and look?
Basically, most people like cats, or don’t like cats. But cats in their infinite variety, are easy to capture in all sorts of situations, and seemingly impossible positions. We are drawn in to look by such pictures, intriguing or endearing, and sometimes ugly but interesting. A thought-provoking message, often with a humorous twist, can delight and entertain, or provide a different perspective when applied to the picture. So the cat meme is born.
Memes are designed to grab your attention, and maybe simply a playful moment captured, that a cat person wants to share. They provide insight into how we live and interact with cats, and are a momentary snapshot in time, with minor comment.
We all like to document our lives, and our cats are intertwined in our lives and spaces and shared as part of family living. Making cat memes instead of just posting pictures, can provide character insights. Cats with meme accounts develop a life of their own, including sharing of opinions and social comment, that is often presented as direct from the Cat itself. Grumpy Cat and Smudge the Cat are examples. Consistency in the memes develops a persona and makes a cat accessible to many via social platforms, without the physical care factor.
Cat memes may be reminding us of our relationship and fascination with these soft coated, sharp-clawed creatures. They sometimes have comments that humanise, and the depicted situation can be sharpened as a result. Or they may be a vehicle to capture attention and invite inspection, of a longer or deeper message. It appears that a cat meme is the first step in getting acquainted with a cat or cats in general, and their quirky behaviours reflect our own sufficiently to make meme creation easy and relatable.
Mostly, they provide a moment to paws, read and consider, and smile. A brief respite and a reminder of humour, and cats, that can lighten the day for many people. A cat meme may lead you to other information, but even on the surface, is a relatively light entertainment moment. As such, cat memes are popular and plentiful, and for most, a passing delight, followed by another.