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Let's Talk: Why Is the Internet Made of Cats?

Would feline dominance of the Internet ever have happened if it hadn't been for digital photography?

 |  May 2nd 2012  |   8 Contributions


For as long as I can remember, I've loved to take photos of my cats. The trouble was, either I didn't have a camera or I didn't have money to buy the approximately 15,405,650,325 rolls of film I'd have needed in order to get a few good photos of my feline friends.

I'd love to have been able to document every moment, every cute look, every amazing pose, every feat of acrobatic derring-do performed by my cats Sinéad and Siouxsie when they were kittens. But alas, all I had to my name was a crappy 35mm instant camera and the occasional ability to scrape together the money to buy the film said camera required. Sometimes I couldn't even afford to get that film processed before it sat around long enough to get destroyed.

Sinéad and Siouxsie, about 9 weeks of age. Photo by JaneA Kelley

Back then, in the Stone Age known as the late 20th century, photography was a very expensive hobby, and I could no more have imagined outfitting myself with all the equipment I'd need to take the shots I wanted than I could have imagined outfitting myself with a complete set of downhill skis and all the required accessories, let alone lift passes or overnight stays near the ski slopes.

Sinéad, about a year old -- early 1997. Photo by JaneA Kelley

And video? Forget about it! Sure, I could have bought myself a VHS camera and taken some footage, but I had no way to edit that footage. Video editing equipment was even farther out of reach than high-end camera gear.

But then came the Internet. And shortly after that came digital photo editing software. And then -- behold! The digital camera!

Internet + photo editing software + digital cameras = CRAZY CAT LADY NIRVANA!

When I got my first digital camera in the early 2000s, the first thing I did was take about eleventy million pictures of my cats.

Sinéad (front) and Siouxsie, 2005. Photo by JaneA Kelley

What? That's not normal?

By that time I was blogging, so I had the perfect venue to display the awesomeness that was every single move my cats made. Fortunately, I also had a bunch of fellow bloggers who were as crazy about cats as I was. Our blogs quickly turned into squee-fests, filled with adorable cat photos and feline anecdotes and LOLcats and cat user icons and cat … um, well, you know what I mean. Maybe you're older than 21 and you were even there to see the feline explosion in person.

Thomas, summer 2004 -- about 3 months after I adopted him. Photo by JaneA Kelley

The natural response to the flood of cats on the internet was the creation of cat-lover communities. Thus, Catster was born.

As the years went on, I took more and more photos of my cats. The thousands of cat photos I have stored on my hard drive and various other digital media pales in comparison to the sheer number of photos I took -- because I only saved the ones that weren't total crap.

Dahlia and Thomas, 2006. Dahlia was about 4 months old at the time. Photo by JaneA Kelley

The ability to photograph cats at will was pretty awesome, but when affordable digital video cameras and video editing software came along, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

The world was mine!

Now nobody would be safe from the boundless cuteness and wonder that is my cats!


(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

Not only could I share the awesome antics of my feline friends, I could even post video reviews of cat products on my blog! After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth about a million.


(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

The fact that my grand ideas far outpace my actual videography skills hasn't slowed me down one single bit! Hey, it didn't stop me with cat photos -- why should I let the fact that my video equipment is presently limited to a Flipcam and my digital video editing software consists of Windows MovieMaker and iMovie be any impediment to sharing feline cuteness?

I'm not the only person who feels that way. In fact, armadas of cat lovers around the world are filling the intertubes with feline awesomeness -- to the point that even the Ivy League cultural historians at Rathergood.com have created a lesson on the very subject (mild NSFW language warning; wear your headphones if you're at the office):


(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

What about you? When did you first start chronicling your cats and sharing the love on the Internet? What tools were you using at the time? How has technology changed your ability to assist cats in their goal of digital world domination?

 

Tabby jumping through computer monitor by Shutterstock.com

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