I am a friend to all internet animals. The excitable turtle who head-butts the aquarium glass. The horny sloth who embarks on a slow aquatic journey in search of a mate. The elusive Utah “goat-man” who dresses as a goat and lives among a wild herd. All are welcome on my feeds.
But amid this idyllic online menagerie, a rivalry is brewing.
It used to be that the house cat was the unqualified mascot of being online. But lately, dogs are taking over. In viral memes and YouTube videos, cats are slinking into the background. In their place, very good boys abound. It all amounts to an adorable existential crisis for internet culture.
In their platonic online forms, cats are individualistic, aloof, extremely spooky. Dogs are loyal, happy-go-lucky, not very spooky at all. Cats gaze impassively as the world burns. Dogs always look like they’re smiling. Cats are entropy. Dogs are order. (Also: Cats are girls and dogs are boys.)
What does it mean that the internet has switched its animal allegiance? We investigate in the first episode of the second season of “Internetting.”
Three times during the season, we’ll be answering your questions over on our YouTube channel. Share your deepest, darkest internet quandaries at email@example.com or comment on this page.
Keen observers of the critternet have been charting the rise of dogs and the downfall of cats for months, each proffering their own theories about the power struggle. The Outline’s Owen Phillips has called it “a byproduct of the shifting demographics of the internet” from nerdy cat people to mainstream dog types. The BBC’s Dave Lee posited that dogs supply “a much needed diversion from the humorless drudgery that makes up much of the modern social web.” And Salon’s Keith Spencer places the blame squarely on President Trump, “the big orange tabby — er, politician — in the room.” Me-ow.
For those just in it for the fur, here’s a guide to internet stalking the pets featured in this episode: The Instagram pages of Maru the dog and Maru the cat; the Facebook presence of Lil Bub; the Instagram account Rosie the “adventure cat” shares with her constant companion Lilo the Husky (a borderline crime against nature); Twitter’s WeRateDogs and Black Metal Cats; the Instagram pages of Marnie the Dog, Menswear Dog, and Doug the Pug; and the cat massage lady video. Now, steal away with me to this Japanese island ruled by cats.
Cats are better than dogs,
Orignially published in NYT.