Jason Eppink, curator of the Museum of the Moving Image's show How Took Over the Internet , has noted the "outsized role" of on the Internet. Wired magazine felt that the cuteness of was "too simplistic" an explanation of their popularity online.

A scientific survey done found that the participants were more happy after watching videos . The researcher behind the survey explained "If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can't ignore Internet anymore" and "consumption of online related media deserves empirical attention". The Huffington Post suggested that the videos were a form of procrastination , with most being watched while at work or ostensibly studying, while IU Bloomington commented "it does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers' energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings" . BusinessInsider argues "This falls in line with a body of research regarding the effects that animals have on people." A 2015 study by Jessica Gall Myrick found that people were more than twice as likely to post a picture or video of a to the internet than they were to post a selfie . Also, it was found that people who watch videos feel more energetic and positive after viewing online content .

Maria Bustillos considers videos to be "the crystallisation of all that human beings love about " , with their "natural beauty and majesty" being "just one tiny slip away from total humiliation" , which Bustillos sees as a mirror of the human condition . When the creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee , was asked for an example of a popular use of the internet that he would never had predicted, he answered " " . A 2014 paper argues that ' "unselfconsciousness" is rare in an age of hyper- surveillance , and photos appeal to people as it lets them imagine "the possibility of freedom from surveillance", while presenting the power of controlling that surveillance as unproblematic. Time magazine felt that images tap into viewers nature as "secret voyeurs" .

The Cheezburger Network considers to be the "perfect canvas" for human emotion, as they have expressive facial and body aspects. Mashable offered " ' cuteness, non-cuteness, popularity among geeks, blank canvas qualities, personality issues, and the fact that dogs just don't have "it"" as possible explanations to ' popularity on the internet. A paper entitled "“I Can Haz Emoshuns?” – Understanding Anthropomorphosis of among Internet Users" found that Tagpuss, an app that showed users images and asked them to choose their emotion "can be used to identify behaviours that lay-people find difficult to distinguish"

Jason Eppink, curator of the “How Took Over the Internet” exhibition, explained: “People on the web are more likely to post a than another animal, because it sort of perpetuates itself. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.” Jason Kottke considers to be "easier to objectify" and therefore "easier to make fun of" . Journalist Jack Shepherd suggested that were more popular than dogs because dogs were "trying too hard", and humorous behavior in a dog would be seen as a bid for validation . Shepherd sees ' behavior as being "cool, and effortless, and devoid of any concern about what you might think about it. It is art for art's sake."

have historically been associated with magic, and have been revered by various human cultures, the ancient Egyptians worshipping them as gods and the creatures being feared as demons in ancient Japan , such as the bakeneko .Vogue magazine has suggested that the popularity of on the internet is culturally-specific, being popular in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Other nations favor different animals online , Ugandans sharing images of goats and chickens, Mexicans preferring llamas, and Chinese internet users sharing images of the river crab and grass-mud horse due to double-meanings of their names allowing them to "subvert government Internet censors".