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Cat videos: Why we can't get enough

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I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it. I know it’s wrong. But I’m hooked on Internet cat videos — call it a kitty porn addiction. That’s right, I love those adorable youtube.com videos of frisky felines flushing toilets or getting stuck on a rotating ceiling fan or climbing into an empty box of Japanese diet soda. A lot of you folks apparently share my shame: the now-classic “Practice Makes Purr-fect” video—the biggest blockbuster in the cat video oeuvre, in which Nora the cat “plays” what sounds a bit like a Gustavo Santaolalla compostition on the piano—has been clicked on 13 million times. I’m only responsible for a couple of dozen.

I don’t know why, but cats are funnier on home video than any other animal. Something about watching a kitten eat broccoli just cracks me up. Occasionally, other species make decent straight men—the video of that parrot stroking a cat’s head with his claw is pretty cute—but I don’t ever find myself looking forward to new fish gags or hamster hijinks or even doggie bloopers. I spend more time than I should hunting for cat videos, though (just last week on CNN, between Wolf Blitzer talking about politics and Lou Dobbs grumbling about the economy, they ran a story on “the keyboard cat,” another musically inclined tabby that’s making a splash online). For me and other feline-ophiles, cat videos have become a micro-genre all their own. They’ve become a regular part of our personal media diet, as legitimate a form of entertainment as The Daily Show or 30 Rock or anything else that we watch on a screen. Which is why, Pop Watchers, I’m inviting you to submit your own nominations for best cat videos on the web. Later on, maybe EW will even pick a winner. We can call it The Felix Awards.

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