he study’s participants were self-identified consumers of Internet cat content—6795 in all, heavily skewed in favor of women (88.4 percent) and white people (90.4 percent). On average, this group watched cat videos or looked at cat pictures almost every day, and had an average of 2.3 cats each (if we ignore the standard deviation; the numbers were skewed by some outliers). Interestingly, questions designed to assess participants’ Big Five personality traits revealed a majority of introverts, and the group additionally contained a lot of shy people. But they were also a happy bunch, at least when asked to think about the previous two weeks.
Watching cat videos online may well have contributed to this general happiness. Participants reported a decrease in negative emotions—annoyance, anxiety, sadness, guilt—after an Internet cat fix, as well an increase in positive emotions (hope, happiness, contentment). Thus, the use of Internet cats as a mood modifier—the Emergency Kitten hypothesis—appears to pan out. As for the motivations behind those procrastinators, Myrick’s data works with her model. Although procrastinators felt guilt after watching videos of cats knocking things off desks when they should have been working, that was more than offset by the pleasure obtained. The effect was also dependent on the quality of the cat content.
I now prescribe everyone on Emergency Kitten per hour, simply refresh to get a new kitten.