Feline in cyberspace gives species a boost

December 25, 2014



PORTLAND, Ore. — Dec 24, 2014, 11:36 AM ET

By TERRENCE PETTY Associated Press Associated Press

Cats these days aren’t associated with deities the way they were in ancient Egypt, but the Internet has gotten them a little closer.

We adore Nora the piano-playing cat. We chuckle as a comical feline named Maru leaps into cardboard boxes. We revel in Grumpy Cat’s permanently sour expression. And with millions watching videos of other kitties getting tongue baths from horses and playing peekaboo with their owners, cats have become online stars.

For feline fans, it’s a sea change. In the affections of Americans, cats often get short shrift compared with dogs. Some see cats as aloof, poor companions and indifferent to attention that dogs enjoy.

But with cats’ celebrity expanding, experts say cyberspace is aiding their plight.

“Social media has put pets front and center,” said Christie Keith, social media consultant for Maddie’s Fund, a California-based foundation that works to save pets’ lives. Social media, she said, “is revolutionizing how we help animals.”

The Internet has created a vast audience of potential adopters. To save pets’ lives, animal welfare organizations are reaching out to an audience addicted to cat videos. Shelters use social media to promote everything from adoption campaigns to free vaccinations, spaying and neutering…..