Whiskers, cat ears, oh my: Cat video festival a huge draw

NEW YORK — Game over. Cats have won the Internet.

At least that was the conclusion among the many attendees of the Internet Cat Video Festival on Friday. Decked out with cat ears and painted-on whiskers, they lined up around the block to do in a group what they already do in front of their computers: Watch amusing cat flicks. This time, there was beer and pierogi.

Cat videos have been so popular online that watching them has become synonymous with wasting time. There are tens of millions of cat videos on YouTube on any given day. They are also abundant on Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing app, and on Instagram. One older gem, uploaded to YouTube in 2007, has generated more than 33 million views. It’s called “Keyboard Cat.” “Keyboard Dog,” meanwhile, has just a measly 4.6 million.

“The cute factor is very important,” said Steve Lozic, 28, while waiting for the show to begin at the Warsaw concert venue in the trendy Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, a borough that even President Barack Obama has declared “cool.”

Lozic, who works in advertising, said one of his favorite clips involves cats interacting with iPads, with one cat simply “killing it,” as it paws at an iPad screen.

The event was a traveling offshoot of the Minneapolis Walker Art Center’s festival of the same name, which now draws 10,000 attendees who ooh and ahh at famous felines such as Keyboard Cat, Grumpy Cat, Henri the morose, existentialist le Chat Noir and nameless kitties trying to jump into cardboard boxes with hilarious results. The inaugural festival, held last year, received more than 10,000 video submissions from fame-seeking cats — or at least their owners.

The star attendee of Brooklyn’s video festival, though, was Lil Bub, a runty kitty who was born with “multitude of genetic anomalies which all add up to one of nature’s happiest accidents,” according to her website. Lil Bub, it turns out, is a “perma-kitten,” that is, a full-grown cat that has stayed small and kept kitten-like features. On top of that, she has an extra toe on all of her paws and her tongue is always out because her teeth never grew in. Lil Bub merchandise, from stickers to T-shirts and baby onesies, has helped raise money for animal charities around the country.

It’s hard to say why cats have proven far more popular than, say, dogs in the online video world. Neysa Smith, 22, who also works in advertising offered one theory:

“Cats are the best animal ever,” said Smith, who, like Lozic, painted on a cat face in honor of the festival. “They are smarter than dogs.”

Also spotted at the event were several cat tails and a man with a surprisingly calm gray cat perched on his shoulder.

Not spotted: dogs.

The festival’s next stop is Rochester, N.Y.’s George Eastman House on Dec. 1. Next year’s schedule includes Austin, Texas; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; and Minneapolis.

——

On the Net

www.walkerart.org/calendar/2013/internet-cat-video-festival-and-tour-2013-201

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read