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ISSUE 120 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/17/2006

The proliferation of online 'cute'

By Alyssa Kleven
Contributing Writer


Friday, November 17, 2006

Some might call it animal cruelty. Others think it’s “just too darn cute.” What could elicit such opposite views you might ask? Why, putting everyday junk on your cat and posting it on the Internet, of course. This is the hobby of people who frequent StuffOnMyCat.com.

Cute is an anomaly on a residential campus. Seeing small children is out of the ordinary, and seeing animals, other than squirrels, is rare. I remember the first few weeks of school first year, when one of my roommates went through pet withdrawal and asked her mom to put her cats on the phone. After listening to a series of meows and purrs, my roommate felt the conversation with those cute little animals helped put her at ease.

Fortunately, students don't have to subject themselves to long-distance conversation with their pets in the age of the Internet. People obsessed with “cute” can find it by typing “cute” into Google.com. Staring at online pages of extreme cuteness can relieve the deprivation of the Hill. It’s like porn, but it comes without the guilty need to hide it from your roommate or wait until no one is down in the computer den.

For starters, there is the aforementioned StuffOnMyCat.com. If you've ever wanted to see a cat humiliated in the name of cute, this is the site for you. Pet owners sometimes dress their cats in silly clothes, take pictures and send them to the website. The kitten's fame is then perpetuated by comments that other pet owners post on the website. Sometimes the cat is sleeping, other times the cat is awake and obviously fighting the costume or decoration that its owner insists on putting on them. A cat’s saddened face unfortunately makes for the cutest picture on the website. All too regularly, however, the cat is apathetic to it all.

But if you are looking for the mecca of cute on the web, there is only one place to go, and its name is self-explanatory: CuteOverload.com. Here you will find the cute pictures divided into categories, some of which we would expect, like kittens or puppies. Other categories, though, might need further examination due to their odd titles, like the trademarked “The Coveted Cuteness,” hedgehogs or pocket pets.

Cuteoverload.com even boasts its own set of rules on how to tell if a picture is cute. Rules don't seem to be in any particular order, but attempt to be as scientific as possible. For instance, one of the rules states that the larger the forehead and the closer the eyes are to the nose, the cuter the animal. Other rules pertain to the posturing of an animal. According to the site, the more helpless an animal appears, the cuter it is.

CuteOverload.com isn't the only place where you can get your fill of those adorable little animals. Equally cute but less popular websites include CuteLittleKittens.com, CuteFunnyAnimals.com, CuteCats.com, Petsyclopedia.com, and KittenWar.com and its analog, PuppyWar.com.

Some might say we exploit our pets, and members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) looking at pictures on StuffOnMyCat.com might even say we abuse our pets. But until the day comes when websites like StuffOnMyCat.com get shut down, we shall look on, unashamed to be scouring for “cute pictures” when we go through pet withdrawal.





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