Whether it’s memes, cute videos, or cat-themed video games, the internet is flooded with cats. It doesn’t matter if you’re browsing social media or trying to put off some work, cat content is going to find its way onto your screen. (You might even have a gig or two of phone storage dedicated to your own cat. No judgment.) 

It’s International Cat Day, and we’re “cat”egorically into data, which got us thinking: How much of the world’s data is cat content?

Internet Cat Traffic by the Numbers

Ollie the magnificent

At Pure, we love all things orange. Our very own Ollie has similar tastes.

A 2015 survey determined that cats drive about 15% of internet traffic. To put that into perspective, of about 4.66 billion people regularly using the internet, 699 million are at some point searching for cats and/or feline-related content every month. (All of that data has to get stored somewhere.)

Needless to say, felines have “cat”apulted themselves into the zeitgeist. 

In 2020, those numbers reached an all-time high. In a period of time marked by a lot of hardship and time spent in lockdown, people turned to science, community, and, of course, cat-related content. Searches for “cat” topped 50 million per month on Google, up by about 20 million from 2015.

(Dog-related searches also reached an all-time high, but who cares? We’re talking about kitties here.) 

Think about it: Netflix’s “Tiger King” was really just one giant cat video. 

Cat Data Is Unstructured Data, Which Is Also Having a Moment

Cats may not be physically welcome in a data center—way too many cords to chew on—but virtually, they’ve made themselves right at home. You’ve probably heard us talk quite a bit about unstructured data—data that does not have a pre-defined model, or that’s not easily organized into tables. About 90% of the world’s data is unstructured data, and it’s only going to grow. 

Kitty content is pretty much all unstructured. It’s a lot like feline fur in your household; you don’t realize how much there is until you start trying to get a handle on it. 


Say hello Dutchie: She’s a lovely tuxedo cat who loves her fashionable bandana

The original viral image of Grumpy Cat was unstructured data. A slow-mo video of a cat playing with a toy is unstructured data. And yes, a picture of your kitty that you post on Facebook or Instagram is also unstructured data. So how much unstructured cat data is out there? 

In 2010, it was estimated that there were about 1.3 billion cat pictures on the internet. Today, that number is expected to be more than 6.5 billion. The average JPEG image size works out to anywhere between 3.5MB to 7MB—you do the math! More than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube in 2014 alone which accounted for more than 26 billion views. Eight years later, the number of kitten videos on YouTube has exploded to tens of millions.

It’s hard to say definitively how much of the world’s unstructured data is kitten content, but here’s a thought: If you started right now, you still wouldn’t be able to consume all of the internet’s kitty content in your lifetime. 

Why Cats? 

That’s a silly question. Cats are adorable. 

What Are We Doing with Cat Content? 

Even our cats are obsessed with tech. Just ask Pure’s own Biff!

You could throw a blanket statement out there that cats are on the internet strictly for entertainment purrposes, but the situation is actually a bit more nuanced. Kitty content on the internet has been used for a multitude of reasons, including solving a murder. 

Kitty Content Is Good for Your Health

Research has suggested that looking at cat images and clips is a bit like “digital therapy.” (A study by Indiana University Medical School found that watching cat videos helps with depression and anxiety and can even boost your energy levels.) 

Cats Are Good for Streams

Twitch has evolved throughout the years to include different types of content, including animal streams where viewers can watch a live feed of animals—including streams of cats at animal shelters up for adoption. It has gotten so popular that many video game streamers adopt cats and show them off on stream.

Speaking of video games, a new game called “Stray” recently hit shelves, and it’s already breaking records for concurrent players. Gamers are so intrigued by “Stray” that the game has been able to capitalize on the hype to raise money to help actual stray cats.   

Cat Videos Helped to Solve a Murder

In 2012, Luka Magnotta posted several videos online depicting animal abuse, mainly with kittens. Several brilliant viewers took action, dissecting the video for clues to help identify and locate Magnotta, helping law enforcement track him down and convict him when he went on to take a human life. 

Pure Storage: We’re Passionate about Pets and Petabytes

Cats and feline content are both multiplying. (We’re guilty—at Pure, we have a Slack channel dedicated to sharing pics of our #pets.) But while you can always spay and neuter to keep kitty populations in check, data is a different story. 

What we need to stay ready for the world’s kitty content is an infinitely scalable, modern storage solution. Pure Storage’s latest offering, FlashBlade//S™, wasn’t built for kittens, but it was built for the demands of growing unstructured data. Learn more about what it can do for your organization.