Cats share not only people’s real lives but also their virtual world. The Meow Factor is a research project that takes an interdisciplinary approach to describe cat content. Cat content generally deals with cats in popular culture, with news articles about cats, cat memes, and cat videos in the public sphere, such as online newspapers and magazines, social media, print media, TV, movies, books, paintings, and merchandise. When taking a closer look at the cats’ presence in their relationship with humans, it becomes obvious that cats play a large role in the public sphere. After an observation of traditional and social media in the English-, Russian-, and German-speaking world during a two-year period, categories for news stories and for user generated content have been developed. The results show that cat content maintains a strong presence in art and popular culture, in advertising, in the media, and on the internet.
Keywords: cat content; internet cats; user generated content; social media; popular culture; news; news values; news categories