Commentary

Watching Cat Videos For A Good Cause

I could have life with no more cute kitty videos than the ones in Meow Mix commercials, but I am now willing to reconsider. A little.

The Washington Post reported the existence of CatsVsCancer.org, a Web site with YouTube pages that invites cat video lovers to visit, and then solicits donations and gives measly advertising proceeds to various cancer fighting charities.

As one of the two founders, Tom O’Connor, explains in an introductory video, “If there are two things that the Internet does well, it’s cat videos and raising money for charity. So we thought, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could fight cancer just by watching cat videos?”

Based on the few number of people who have watched the cute Cats Vs. Cancer videos so far, we’re still waiting for the answer to that question. It’s a nice, tongue-in-cheek idea, but this is not, with deference to cats in the audience, the better mousetrap that charitable organizations have been waiting for.

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Cats Vs. Cancer says it will donate the proceeds from advertising (what there is) on their site to cancer research, and a different organization will be chosen every month. There’s also an easy “Donate Meow” button to make a contribution.

These are good, cute kitty videos, the organizers have  non-profit charity 501c3 status  and the Pay Pal giving mechanism works, but the Post says that Cats Vs. Cancer.org had only 130,000 visitors in its first month in December. 

There’s a billboard for Cats Vs. Cancer in Times Square, the newspaper says, donated by a friend. Otherwise, like most Websties, Cats Vs. Cancer lives via word-of-mouth.

One its most watched videos appears to be the one I mentioned, in which O’Connor, who otherwise works for Fox News and co-founder Eddie Pena, who makes his living in Internet advertising, explain what just what the heck Cats Vs. Cancer is. But “Treat Bandit Strikes Again” with some 40,000 views, is kind of cute. And “Lazy Cat and Hungry Pigeon” has had 213,000 views, but that count includes all views YouTube, and not on the Cats Vs. Cancer branded page.

The best feature of its site are the cute kitty memes, and just the idea. But truly, in the dog eat dog world of cat videos, most of Cats Vs. Cancer’s videos look a little tame.

Pro footballers wear pink shoes. O’Connor and Pena run a cat video Website. But Cats Vs. Cancer is up against millions of cute cat videos.  And yet, there is something about the idea of curating cat videos that does, in a sad kind of way, fill a need. Somebody’s got to do it, and these guys do it for a good cause.

“We go to YouTube and type in ‘cat’ and any other thing you can think of,” O’Connor told the Post. “ ‘Cat versus lemon’ or ‘cat versus rice cooker.’ ”

pj@mediapost.com

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