Last week, reports of an American software developer who outsourced his job to China went viral. While outsourcing is a long accepted business practice, what interested the public about Bob's case was that he did it surreptitiously until tech experts investigated and found log-ins in the company's computer system from Shenyang, and Bob whiling away the eight hours he was in office supposed to be working but actually watching mostly cat videos.
The popularity of cat videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites can be considered a modern-day phenomenon that behaviour experts have to be called in to shed light on this growing habit among netizens.
While people have long been raising cats as pets and enjoying their company, posting the cat videos on YouTube is another thing since these videos could give the YouTube videos a run for their money in terms of their hits.
Since these videos were posted, these 10 cat videos generated a total of more than 203 million hits so far.
1. Funny Cars in Water - 41,608,317 hits
Cats are said to dislike water, particularly taking baths, but this 3:19 video disproves that.
2. Stalking Cat - 37,603,091 hits
Curiosity didn't kill this cat; it only scared the feline.
3. Supercats: Episode 1 - The Funniest Cat Video! - 32,447,203 hits
This video clip is done MTV style, set to the song Jump.
4. Charlie Schmidt's Keyboard Cat - 28,876,330 hits
This features a piano-playing cat.
5. Probably the Funniest Cat Video You'll Ever See - 27,494,855 hits
This video is also done MTV style with the catchy classical music, Pachelbel's Canon, as background.
6. Funny Cat Compilation - 13,049,155 hits
A rather lengthy video, this compilation runs for almost 15 minutes.
7. 10 Cutest Cat Moments - 12,744,308 hits
This is a compilation of cat bloopers that runs for 5 minutes, 36 seconds.
8. Thriller Cat - 4,848,682 hits
It is a very short video clip of a cat that responds to Michael Jackson's Thriller song.
9. So Funny and Hyperactive Cat - 2,875,435
Action star cats in a 1-minute, 33-second video.
10. Epic Funny Cats - 1,943,882 hits
This is a one-hour compilation of funny cat videos.
The Web site Mashable offers at least five reasons behind the immense popularity of cat videos, namely: Because cats are cute although some are sinister, because they're the perfect canvas for human projection, because cats are jerks, because geeks own cats and because of a cat conspiracy.
The conclusion that Mashable reached is that "Cats seem totally comfortable being exactly what they are, and they are totally alive to the moment, which is something we, as humans, have lost sight of, though we are trying to get back to that enlightened state."
One funny theory cited by Examiner.com is that a study says cat videos make people more productive. "Japanese scientists found that workers who watched kittens and other cute baby animals on the Internet are more focused and productive the rest of the day," Examiner quoted TV host Peter Sagal.
While for Bob, the theory apparently does not work since he watches cat videos to appear busy while paying Chinese programmers one-fifth of his salary to do the work he is supposed to perform, Emily Huh, a cat video maker, has a plausible explanation.
"The Internet is the car park where you get to showcase how cute you cat is or how crazy your cat is," The New York Post quotes Ms Hu.
However, in the case of Ms Hu and her husband, Ben, watching cat videos is really part of their jobs as they are the producers of a reality show titled LOLwork, which premiered in November 2012 over Bravo TV.