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Does Watching Cat Videos Improve Your Health? What Science Suggests!

Young woman with cat working on computer at table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Dr. Paola Cuevas MVZ (Vet)

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We’ve all been told by our parents, teachers, and bosses to stop wasting our time watching cat videos and get out there and do something productive with our lives. 

On the other hand, those funny online cat videos tend to produce positive emotions. And while to date so there isn’t any scientific research to probe if cat videos can improve your health, we can deduct that for some of us, they might be just the right medicine. Let’s break it down.

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Who Watches Cat Videos?

With the increase in popularity of watching cat videos online, a study did try to identify who watches cat videos in the first place. With a large sample of 6,795 individuals, the survey had way too many variables to account for. But it did find out that the average responder was a proud pet parent of at least two cats. While we might conclude that only cat people watch cat videos, it turns out that 60% of the responders liked both dogs and cats. 

woman with cat using computer
Image Credit: ORION PRODUCTION, Shutterstock

How Can Watching Cat Videos Improve Your Health?

Online cat content is either cute or funny. Either way, it can make us get into a positive state of mind. Back in 1986, Lefcourt and Martin’s studies proved that exposure to humorous stimuli can have a positive impact on reducing stress levels. 

Humor prompts feelings of well-being by triggering the release of endorphins. This “feel happy chemical” has the potential to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It turns out that humor can positively affect older adults’ bodies with impacts that are physiologically and psychologically similar to the health benefits of aerobic exercise. 

Cardiovascular Health

Studies have demonstrated that laughter, which is often elicited by humorous cat videos, can have a beneficial impact on the cardiovascular system by promoting vasodilation and increasing blood flow. Laughter can help lower blood pressure and increase the levels of serotonin. And while further investigation is necessary to establish a definitive causal relationship between watching cat videos and cardiovascular health, we can tell you for sure that if it makes you laugh, it is good for you!

Enhanced Immunity

If cat videos make you laugh, they also enhance your immune system by increasing the production of natural killer cells.  

Other Potential Benefits of Watching Funny Cat Videos

A study tried to prove if exposure to funny videos before a lesson could positively impact learning. Well, it turns out that when their happiness was increased before the lesson, elementary school students were better able to understand the concepts and transfer the knowledge acquired during the lesson into other related but not directly taught areas. Transferring the lessons we learn during our student years into real-life applications at work, for example, is essential. 

Here are a few things that cat videos can do for you:
  • Relieve the feelings of sadness, anxiety, and annoyance that many people suffer from
  • Have a more positive outlook on life
  • Relieve stress and tension


In Conclusion

It’s undeniable that watching a few cat videos can brighten up your day. For this activity to be truly beneficial for your health, put away any guilt and allow yourself to enjoy a good laugh. Laughing at cat videos can reduce stress, enhance psychological well-being, improve cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, and even increase your knowledge-transferring abilities. The trick is to practice moderation and not to get sucked down that rabbit hole (in this case, the cat hole, since you’re watching cat videos), or you’ll never get anything done. Make sure you allow yourself some laughter to kick-start the day and maybe even again for a short break, but try not to overdo it. Like all entertainment, cat videos should not interfere with your ability to complete your work and other tasks, so practice moderation and you’ll be fine.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

About the Author

Dr. Paola Cuevas MVZ (Vet)
Dr. Paola Cuevas MVZ (Vet)
Dr. Paola Cuevas has over 18 years of experience as a veterinarian and animal behaviorist. Paola's focus is on preventive medicine and animal welfare. Paola has a large range of skills in from diagnostic imaging to nutrition and clinical pathology. Paola enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of animal training with our Excited Cats readers and is always happy to answer reader questions as our in-house veterinarian.

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