We’re a cat crazy nation: sharing of online cat images and videos overtakes the selfie phenomenon

19 February 2014: It’s official, Internet cats are now more popular than selfies, with people sharing more than twice as many online cat related photos and videos according to new research[1] by mobile network Three. Boasting the ability to make viewers feel all warm and fuzzy inside, the British public are now sharing more than 3.8 million cat related [2]. photos and videos every day compared to 1.4 million selfies [3].

The research reveals that 40% of people who share animal related content do so using a smartphone and more than 350,000 cat owners [4] have set-up a dedicated social network account for their pet. A fifth (21%) of those who have set-up an account feel their pet is more interesting than themselves and 15% share their photos or videos in the hope that it will become famous.

Lianne Norry, director of brand and communications at Three UK, said: “It’s clear from our research that we love seeing and sharing funny or cute pet pictures, videos and memes online. Being able to create and upload content straight from our smartphones to social networks means that we can share these images instantly and put a smile on people’s faces. As such, ‘social petworking’ has now become an online phenomenon with our big love for cats really fuelling this trend.”

The research was conducted with Viral Spiral, to investigate the latest online trends and discover exactly which cats are at the top of the tree and what’s behind their popularity.

Daniel Fisher, chief operating officer at Viral Spiral, said: “The most popular Internet cats display human characteristics, mirroring our everyday habits. The Internet cat Hall of Fame features grumpy, affectionate, keyboard playing, surprised, talking and angry cats. And it’s all about making people laugh, with humour winning over cuteness. The vast majority of cat videos online are cute, but the superstars are the ones who are hilarious, make us smile and want to share with our friends and followers.”

Three’s Top 10 Internet cat Hall of Fame

To decide who should truly win the Internet ‘Kitty Crown’, the list is designed to not just produce a list of the Top 10 based on views, it provides a comprehensive view by blending data analysis with qualitative research to form the Hall of Fame [5].

1. Nyan Cat

  • The king of Internet cat videos, this pixelated, repetitive and strangely mesmerising video scores well in all areas
  • Averaging over 35 million views a year since being uploaded to YouTube in 2011, this video gets only 7 dislikes for every 100 likes. This coupled with a solid following on YouTube cements Nyan Cat’s position as the King of the internet cat jungle

2. Grumpy Cat

  • This very grumpy looking cat (real name Tadar Sauce) may not be the most viewed video in our top 10 (14.5 million views since 2012) but what it lacks in viewership, it makes up for in sheer ‘meme-y-ness’
  • A role in a Hollywood movie, a talent agent, a clothing line, regular TV appearances and a string of awards (including Buzzfeed’s 2013 Meme of the Year), a hugely popular YouTube Channel, brand deals and an estimated brand value of over one million dollars make this number two placement well deserved

3. Cat mom hugs baby kitten

  • Consistently high yearly viewership and a fantastic like-to-view ratio make up for the lack of brand awareness of this video

4. Keyboard Cat

  • Well liked with incredible viewer-engagement, everyone knows and loves the Keyboard cat. During Weezer’s 2009 summer tour with Blink-182, Keyboard Cat would play the band off every night at the end of their set

5. Surprised Kitty

  • In 2009, this video of 8 week-old kitten ‘Atilla Fluff’ being tickled repeatedly accumulated 7 million views in just 2 weeks
  • This video rates very high on the ‘cute scale’ landing it 5th place in our list

6. The OMG Cat

  • Justin Bieber is to thank for this cat making it to sixth place on our list. The increasingly controversial pop star parodied the video of Japanese cat, Chocolate Rose, after her owner posted a request for advice on how to deal with her dislocated jaw (fear not, Chocolate was treated by a vet and recovered quickly)

7. The two talking cats

  • Big views and big likes, this steady performer has sparked thousands of comedy ‘translation’ parodies on YouTube. That is the stuff that memes are made of and contributed to this video making a respectable entry in the top 10

8. Cats playing Patty-cake, what they were saying

  • This video demonstrates the power of ‘borrowing’ an existing viral video, adding some voiceover and creating cat video gold with almost 19 million views since being uploaded four years ago

9. Very angry cat

  • Uploaded in 2006, this is the oldest video in our top 10. By being uploaded shortly after YouTube was created, this video benefited from high search rankings and may explain its 86 million views and the fact that it has almost as many dislikes as likes. This angry cat proves that you don’t necessarily need to be loved to be a winner

10. Stalking cat

  • This Japanese viral from 2009 snuck into the top 10. A solid performer, this video of (unsurprisingly) a cat stalking has struck a chord with hawk-eyed fans of the popular TV show ‘Doctor Who’

Online pet-owner sharing behaviours – the where and how

  • For pet-owners who share online pics and videos:WhatsApp, Twitter and Vine top the charts for sharing pics
    • Pinterest, WhatsApp and Vine are the favoured social platforms for videos
    • Video sharing is more popular than pics
    • 18-34 year olds are the most active pet owners online, with Instagram and SnapChat being the favoured social platforms, with the average individual sharing 216 Instagram images and 212 videos on SnapChat over a year

– ENDS –

[1] Research carried out amongst 2,118 UK adult respondents by www.visioncritical.com in February 2014

[2] As a mean average, 2.6 images/videos/memes of CATS are shared per person, per MONTH. 2.6 x 12, divided by 365 = 0.085 per person per DAY.

0.085 * 44.9 million adults (2011 ONS) – 3,816,500 images/videos/memes of CATS are shared per DAY

[3] As a mean average, 1.0 selfies are shared per person , per MONTH. 1.0 x 12, divided by 365 = 0.033.

0.033 * 44.9 million adults (2011 ONS) = 1,481,700 selfies shared online per DAY

[4] 26.4 million households in the UK (ONS 2013), 19% of householders have a cat (PFMA 2013), 7% of cat owners have a social network account for their pet = 19% of 26.4 million = 5,016,000, of which 7% = 351,120

[5] Analysis data and commentary provided exclusively by Viral Spiral for Three

Notes to Editors

About Three

Three is a communications company focused on bringing the benefits of the internet to mobile. We offer attractive pricing, all-you-can eat data packages, market-leading devices and a network built for data. Combined, this gives our customers the widest choice of ways to stay connected to the mobile internet.

Our high speed DC-HSDPA network already covers 80% of the UK population and our HSPA+ technology covers 98% of the UK population. We’ve started to roll-out our LTE 4G network where we have the greatest demand for our service. We’re on target to provide 4G to selected sites in 50 cities and many more towns by the end of 2014 and to cover 98% of the population by the end of 2015.

Today, we have over 13,400 sites in our network and plan to add another 5,000 by 2015 to bring improved mobile internet capacity to more people in more places than ever.

Three UK is a member of the HWL group of companies, with investments in mobile operations in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Macau, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Vietnam.

About Viral Spiral

Viral Spiral works with major Brands, Producers and Networks/Studios to help them grow audience, engage consumers and build brand loyalty, by connecting them with the world’s most popular organically shared content.

Described by some as the “Getty Images for trending content”, Viral Spiral’s creative and innovative team has connected the best of that content with (amongst others) MTV, Coca-Cola, Nickelodeon, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBH, Samsung, Google, Sony Playstation, Blackberry, Ellen de Generes and Fuji.

Viral Spiral also exclusively manages and monetises the world’s largest Network of viral videos, generating 200M views/month including “Charlie Bit My Finger!” (the most-viewed UGC viral video of all time with over half a billion views in total) and many online creators with large subscriber bases and runs the world’s largest Vine network comprising almost 50 million followers.


Contact information.

Name Three Consumer PR Team
Phone 020 7234 9150
Email three@cowpr.com

Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

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