“Mask Maru“: The always delightful Maru gets his head stuck in a paper bag. This cat should get his own TV show. Grade: A+
“Awesomely cute begging kitten!” The title says it all. A little on the short side, but there’s a big payoff 18 seconds into the clip. Grade: B+
“Cat attacks baby“: Another short one–and there’s no sound–but there’s something about a cat jumping on a toddler that just cracks us up. Grade: B
“The two talking cats“: They don’t have much of a vocabulary–“Meow,” is pretty much it–but this kitty couple laying on a bed really do seem to be having a genuine conversation. Adorable. Grade: A
“Satan’s Cat“: This one isn’t very cute–a caged cat hissing and spitting as if possessed by a demon–but is weirdly irresistable all the same. Grade: C
“CATcerto”: Lithuanian composer Mindaugas Piecaitis leads a 12-piece chamber orchestra in a live performance as Nora the piano-playing cat is shown on a movie screen. “Nora chases musical notes the way other cats chase toy mice,” Piecaitis says of his creative partner. The song blows the roof off of the Klaipeda Concert Hall, but we miss the intimacy of Nora’s solo work. Grade: B+
“Gizmo Flushes”: A black and white tabby flushes a toilet, watches the water swirl down, then flushes again, then watches again, then flushes—over and over for nearly three minutes. Now that’s entertainment. A timeless classic in the cat video oeuvre. Grade: A+
“Keyboard cat”: This isn’t so much a cat video as it is a viral gag. Footage of a cat in a blue shirt playing an annoyingly upbeat organ riff is inserted into random blooper scenes—a man falling off a treadmill—with the running joke “Play him off, Keyboard Cat” inserted as the title. Call us purists—or purr-ists—but the cat’s paws are obviously fake. Grade: C
“Maru and big box”: There are plenty of one-hit wonders in the cat comedy game, but Maru delivers in video after video. This kitty from Japan has more personality than a lot of human comedy stars—and better timing. We love the video with the paper bag, as well as the one with the diet soda box, but this one—in which he hops in and out of a big cardboard carton—is our favorite. Hysterical. Grade: A
Like the Oscars, we normally give animation short shrift, but this simple line-drawn cat cartoon is so funny and cute—and so brilliantly encapsulates the joys and frustration of cat ownership—we have to give it its due. Grade: A
What else is out there that we missed? Whaddya think of our grading?
For our take on the online cat obsession, pick up this week’s EW on stands now.