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Illustration of women sitting with pet

Exactly what is it about them that makes us love them so much?

As I’ve searched the web and scrolled through my feed on social media, I see at least two or three videos of animals a day. They range from cats maneuvering through obstacle courses made out of plastic bottles to stories of dogs being rescued from terrible situations. The videos can make you laugh, cry or both at the same time. Anytime I watch these videos, I always want to get a pet of my own and subsequently start scrolling through various adoption sites for hours. However, I’ve never questioned why I’m drawn to animal videos; it just happens that way. What makes them so appealing? Why are they addictive to watch? I contemplated these questions as I browsed through various videos.

Animals are absolutely adorable

People watch videos of animals because they’re just too adorable. It almost feels criminal to scroll past and not click on the thumbnail of an animal video. Although it does seem rather general to use the term “adorable,” people’s likes and dislikes vary widely; everyone has particular opinions on what animals and breeds they consider adorable. Some prefer furry and small while others like big and hairless. It’s a personal preference. Regardless, animals are visually appealing to their viewers. The visual appeal, I believe, is a major factor that plays into the addictiveness of animal videos. But it’s not the only factor.

Some have interesting talents

When I was younger, I used to think that animal videos were posted solely to show off a hidden talent. The talents, however, are very interesting to see, like the cat saying “Oh Long Johnson” or elephants painting with their trunks. People are drawn to something extraordinary, especially animals adopting human activities; it displays their talent for the world to see. Their skills also display their personality.

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. It’s like artists expressing themselves through writing, drawing or dancing. People can see the abilities that animals possess. These actions create a connection between the animal and their audience. With that connection, people share the video with friends and family to watch and enjoy as they have. However, not all animals need to be extremely talented; they can be normal pets recognized for their personalities.

They’re funny or misbehave for attention

Some pet owners post videos of their favorite companions to let others have a good laugh. They show their reactions to challenges being set up without their knowledge, like a cat fitting itself into boxes that get smaller and smaller. Or their reactions to things they hate, like cats with cucumbers or dogs with vacuums. Other times, owners post videos of their pets misbehaving or acting peculiar to prove that they’re not making it up. Either way, any animal video can end up on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for others across the country to watch. It’s just harmless fun that might need to be cleaned up afterwards, depending on the video.

But what do funny videos and animals misbehaving have in common? Again, it’s an animal’s personality.

The actions animals perform let their personalities shine through. People watching the animal videos can understand what they are like as pets and, in some cases, choose to adopt. Having the capability to see an animal’s personality, additionally, creates a connection between them and their viewers. The connection is the foundation of what makes the videos appealing to large audiences. It’s what makes people, like me, click on the link and watch nonstop.

Virtual caring

To think more literally, people in this world either have a pet, want to get one or can’t have one because of reasons like allergies, frequent travel or landlord restrictions. Animal videos, in a way, serve as a virtual means of caring without jeopardizing their health or drastically altering their schedules; it’s caring from a distance. Combining the visual appeal with each animal’s unique personality creates the connection. These animal videos serve as a form of interaction with whoever watches.

In fact, videos have been able to link animals to their forever homes. Like stated previously, seeing an animal’s personality through their actions allows people to see what they are like and if they would be a good fit as a new member of the family. Sometimes, people donate online to the animal’s shelter to help pay for medication or surgery. Or even fly to go meet the animal in person. Overall, the connection made between an animal and their audience instills a caring and nurturing nature without having to be its owner.

Summing It All Up

Animal videos are highly addicting to watch for all ages. It’s a combination of visual appeal and an animal’s personality that makes it hard to not watch repeatedly. Especially myself. Animals don’t need talent to become virally famous. They just need to be themselves long enough for someone to record and post it online. From there, it’s only a matter of time before the video starts circulating and the praise pours in.

These animal videos allow for a connection to be made with their audience. They allow families to find their new forever friend or get an animal the aid they need to survive. They can get recognized for their amazing talent or intriguing personality and get featured on a news segment for pets or be on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for families to enjoy across the country. Any animal, I feel, helps to bring out the humanity in any person, and joy to all that watch.

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