Cats have been a big part of the internet and not just social media ever since the internet started getting a lot of people (mostly women) to participate. It was probably the cat videos that made the biggest initial wave of liking and sharing, first on YouTube, then on Facebook as critical mass signed up for Facebook. Then came the cat memes. Some of the more popular memes were the crying cat, the coughing cat, and the hairless cat.
But the influence on feline friends has moved well beyond cute and funny videos and memes. Cat owners are constantly being influenced by cat-related fashion, games, toys, and cat products. When it comes to clothing for humans, you have your cat ears that are sewn into a hood or built on the earphone head loop, and you have all kinds of cat stockings, like the ones that have paws on cat socks.
There are socks that have little ears popping out the top (the hole of the sock where you put your foot into) with then the eyes, nose, and whiskers printed on, which is clever. Then there are those socks where it looks like a cat is peeking out over the top of some flat surface. Finally, there are those soft thick cat socks where the entire sock is colored and patterned to appear like a real cat leg, with fur and toes and paw underneath. These are the ones that women have loved and given as gifts.
I was very surprised when talking to my two daughters that they had never seen the black (or white) thigh-high, nylon-style stockings that have the thick padded cat paw cushions on the bottom of the foot of the stocking. I mean, they are cat lovers and are always on the social media sites like Instagram and tiktok, yet they had never seen these socks with cat paws. It boggled my mind.
Love Meow is the number one top rated cat blog according to Feedspot. This popular feline friendly blog is the place to discover inspirational and lovely stories about kittens, rescues, and fosters from all across the globe. For example, their top story as of this writing has to do with a cute little black and white kitten that was found in the cold and wasn’t even a day old.
It’s really the photos in these stories that melt your heart. Without the pictures, there is no way this Love Meow blog would be so popular. Anyway, the story goes like this: A couple months ago, a tiny newborn kitten was discovered left behind in the cold. They don’t say how cold or if it was night or if there was snow. A Good Samaritan rescued the little fella in the nick of time after hearing his cries. That reminds me how Jon Snow heard and found his all white direwolf in the snow, ha ha.
Then he took the kitten inside, attempted to warm him up and called out for help. The human, that is. Saving One Life is an animal rescue, and they responded to his report and immediately found a foster family who could take the newborn. Plus, they were equipped with an incubator.
By the time the rescuer got the kitten to Caroline Grace, who was the foster volunteer of the rescue, the kitten was in poor shape. “He was hypothermic and non responsive. Newborn kittens are just so fragile,” she said. Caroline was the one who shared her side of the story with Love Meow. Happily, the tale ends well as the photos show the little kitten healthy and bright.
My daughters were talking about tiktok and how it is influencing young girls (which is a little ironic given how they have totally been influenced by social media and Instagram–I even made the wry comment about how the skull iconography and devil horns that they are mimicking in their art came from social influence on the internet). My oldest daughter, who is over 20 years old, had just attended a wedding of a sister of a friend this past weekend. She said it was the first time in a long time that she has been around younger girls. She said there was this group of three fourteen year old girls who all were dressed the same way–school girl skirt, high stockings, etc. (Here, I’m imagining the anime school girl look.) And that they were acting the same way. My daughter was clearly familiar enough with what is popular on tiktok and was lamenting how impressionable these little fourteen year old girls were because they were clearly copying the kind of fashion and behavior from the influencers on tiktok.
Even though the irony was lost on my eldest daughter as to the fact that she herself was and still is to an extent just as impressionable and influenced by the stuff she sees on the internet, I was at least happy that she could recognize how it was happening to the younger generation.
So even though my daughter (who loves her cat) had been influenced enough to not only like the cat ears, but actually pay money for them so she could wear them, she still hadn’t been exposed to those fairly popular nylon cat socks. While there are some benefits to the internet, we probably don’t yet fully realize the downsides and the harm it may be doing to us.