“Can´t hug every cat”: International Cat Day

A few years ago, a YouTube video starring a young American woman who, using the Songify application, declared her love for cats and her inability to hug them all, went viral. The emotional and funny nature of the video revealed something undeniable: these domestic cats are the absolute kings on the Internet. So much so that there are three days in the year to celebrate them. In this article, you will learn a little more about these close domestic companions in life and digital networks.

A millennial relationship

Cats are believed to have been domesticated around 13,000 years ago in the Middle East and the nearby islands of the Mediterranean Sea. Or perhaps it can be said that they adopted us, since they have chosen us. Indeed, wild cats approached human communities attracted by rodents that haunted crops and cities. Humans, in turn, benefited from having these friendly animals as rat catchers and other animals, which favoured greater food production.

Cats have been revered ever since. In ancient Egypt, for example, Bastet was worshiped. It was a cat-shaped goddess who symbolized love, harmony, and the protection of temples and homes. From that moment on, the kittens were the subject of religious worship first, and of secular worship later.

Already in the 21st century, three different dates were established to celebrate these cats. In particular, August 8th  is celebrated since it is usually the most fertile date in the summer of the northern hemisphere, as a way to raise awareness regarding the convenience of controlling the indiscriminate reproduction that generates thousands of abandoned cats in the cities.

Cats in digital culture

In the classic dispute between cats and dogs, it seems quite clear that the latter won the battle for popularity on the Internet. The cats have thousands of meme templates of their own, well-defined characters such as «Grumpy Cat» -unfortunately passed away in 2019-, countless videos of pranks, countless domestic photos that portray them in all kinds of situations and even their own accounts on networks.

“Seeing memes or videos of kittens” has become one of the main contemporary hobbies, especially as a means to relax after a difficult day. They also participate in television programs, they are characters from board games (in «The inheritance of Aunt Agatha» one of the heirs is the cat) and, above all, they are close companions in urban life.

No one knows for sure why cats have become the stars of the Internet. It may be perhaps thanks to their agility and curiosity that leads them to put themselves in funny and tender situations. Her sharp gaze also gives rise to many expressive images. On the other hand, the variety of its coats is special to highlight its beauty.

The fact that they are relatively independent, although affectionate animals and of small size, makes them fit in apartments even with people who live alone. But the truth is that, beyond the explanations that we try to give, cats are simply captivating and have earned an undisputed place on the Internet, and therefore they deserve that we celebrate their day with them. Tell us what these companions mean to you.

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Gracias a Lucio Maciá por la nota, a Araceli Sabransky por la selección de imágenes, y a Christian Trappani por la organización.

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