Cat videos have been going viral on YouTube for years. But now, they have moved into the big time with their own film festival at the Contemporary Art Museum in St Louis, in the United States.
The event, which is travelling across the US and Canada, started out in 2012 when a Minneapolis art venue hosted the first internet cat video festival.
Henri, the Chat Noir, by Will Braden, is about a feline with a philosophical view of the world and was a big draw at the festival.
Lisa Melandri, of the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, said: “We’re amazed at the interest that it garnered, the number of people that it brought, the diversity of that audience. And we felt that it would be an ideal thing for us to show here at the museum. So, we’re really thrilled to be one iteration of this now iconic film festival.”
The most popular cat videos are cute and contain parody, plus some kind of surprise. The most watched earn advertising revenue from YouTube and become big business opportunities.
Chris Ward, who produces cat videos, explained the appeal: “They’re funny, they’re cute. I think people like to anthropomorphise animals. So there’s a whole internet cat culture thing.”
A video made by Chris Ward of his cat Cricket asking for treats won the festival’s best new video competition.
The festival also raises funds for various animal welfare charities.
For more information see the official website.