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How One London Tube Station Went Cat Crazy and Made Everyone's Day

by
author image Laura Hertzfeld
Laura Hertzfeld has reported on entertainment, business, and lifestyle topics at a variety of outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Tablet, and NPR.  She holds a degree in history from Barnard College, Columbia University.
How One London Tube Station Went Cat Crazy and Made Everyone's Day
The internet (and underground) is for...cats! Photo Credit SVPhilon/iStock/Getty Images

Is your commute this fun? Londoners were treated to a station full of cat posters at the Clapham Common tube stop this week as part of a campaign to swap ads for cats from the “Citizen Advertising Takeover Service” (C.A.T.S.).

The group created a Kickstarter that stemmed from “trying to imagine a world where people valued experiences and friendships more than shopping.” They raised over $30,000 from 700 funders to keep the cats posted at Clapham Common for a full two weeks — and featured many adoptable cats in the campaign.

Most of our morning commutes could use a break from all of the ads — on billboards, station placards, on the radio if you drive, on podcasts if you have your headphones on. Being surrounded by advertising has a direct negative impact on things like obesity and self-esteem, particularly in young people.

While swapping out the ads for cats may seem silly on the surface, there’s proven evidence that cats rule when it comes to providing a calming atmosphere, even if they are virtual.

Scientific American reported on one study that found, “The presence of a favorite pet during a stressful task — such as performing difficult mental arithmetic — largely prevents spikes in participants’ blood pressure.”

And those cat videos? They are good for more than just procrastinating. A 2015 study from Indiana University found that watching cat videos “boosts viewers' energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings.”

Felines have long held a mystical place in society. They were worshipped in ancient Egypt and were first domesticated 10,000 years ago. But why are they so popular online?

There are various theories ranging from the silly to the suspect — one expert suggested to CNN that cat owners are less social than dog owners, preferring virtual interactions to in-person communication, hence their internet dominance.

Don't take offense if you're a cat person. Lest you don’t fancy hopping the next flight to Heathrow, you can see oodles of real furry friends at one of the 24 cat cafes set to open this year around the U.S. Cat cafes started in Japan and have expanded around the world, allowing guests to interact with the felines and even adopt them.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you prefer cats to ads... or even humans? Which internet felines are your favorite procrastination – we mean relaxation – method? Tell us in the comments!

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