published Friday, May 4th, 2012

Phillips: A column about cats, because the Internet is obsessed with them

It's a well-known fact that 90 percent of the Internet is made of cats.

Every day, there are innumerable Tweets about them (or by them), and Instagrams posts of them, to which we feel compelled to add amusing captions.

Cats run their own YouTube channels and have made significant waves in the kiddie pool of Internet pop culture through sites such as Lolcats ( and the "Simon's Cat" series of animated Web shorts (

One needn't be a cat owner to fall victim to the craze.

I have nary a Snowball or Fluffy in my life, yet it's a rare day when my Facebook profile isn't full of posts by my cat-owning friends about their pets. Of course, I diligently forward these on to the rest of my friend network.

In fact, given their rampant popularity, I'm beginning to suspect cats are actually part of a trumped-up ploy by aliens. After all, how best to keep humanity distracted from the threat of invasion than with videos of adorable kittens endlessly chasing laser pointers or auto-tuned meowing to Christmas carols for our amusement?

Still, we really shouldn't fear enslavement at the hands of evil overloads, extraterrestrial or otherwise. After all, we have -- you guessed it -- cats around to protect us.

There were plenty of children growing up in the '80s who have fond memories of watching "ThunderCats," a cartoon that followed the adventures of space-faring, cat-like humanoids with awesome names like Lion-O, Cheetara and -- curiously -- Snarf.

The show was so popular that Warner Bros. revived the series last year, albeit with a Japanese anime style of art that is anathema to those raised on the original. Nevertheless, cats wielding swords is such an awesome concept that the memory alone is enough to make me want to tweet.

And then there's the Hanna-Barbera cartoon "SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron," in which a two felines fly a jet loaded with high-tech weaponry on missions in defense of the aptly named Megakat City. Yeah, I forgot about it, too, which probably hints at why the show only lasted two seasons. Nevertheless, the point remains, cats were saving the day.

Of course, there are also felines at the other end of the moral spectrum.

For every cat that saves Brendan Fraser from an attacking mummy, there's another in collusion to subjugate mankind. In "Austin Powers," for instance, Dr. Evil had Mr. Bigglesworth, a feline sidekick modeled on the Turkish Angora so threateningly stroked by James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

So, yeah, mankind is pretty much obsessed with cats. Love them, hate them and love to hate them, they have an undeniable grip on our collective psyche.

What does any of this have to do with entertainment in Chattanooga? Nothing, but as a friend recently told me, "Sometimes, you just have to write about cats."

What can I say, this was an off week. I can has break?

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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PacoBongers said...

Great article, but would be even better with cat photos.

May 4, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.
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