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The best cat videos on the web: Just for Cats comes to Vancouver

If you want to see highlights from the Internet cat video festival, you've come to the right place. This is... Just for Cats.

Vancouver cat
Will Braden, creator of "Henri, le Chat Noir"
Just for Cats
Just for Cats: a cat-video film festival. Will Braden (second photo) wasn't the only one wearing cat ears. Photos by Jordan Yerman

Internet cat video festival visits Vancouver

Will Braden was wearing plastic cat ears, and he was not alone. Braden, whose series of “Henri, le Chat Noir” clips have vaulted him (and his cat) to viral-video fame, came up to Vancouver to introduce Just For Cats, a mini-film festival showcasing the best cat video on the Internet.

Yes, a compilation of the best cat videos on the web, which will be distilled even further here. If you like cat videos, keep reading; and tell your boss to back off, because this is a serious news article.

Okay, so you watch cat videos on the web. Don’t bother trying to deny it –– you watch cat videos. Maybe it's because cats are so human-like in their capriciousness and inscrutability. Maybe it's the noises they make when they're happy. In any event, CBS reckons 15% of Internet traffic is related to cats.

Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), told the thousand-strong crowd at the PNE that a cat film festival is indeed something special, because “it allows us to share these amazing videos that we normally watch by ourselves.”

Barbara Cartwright
Barbara Cartwright

With the LOLs and aaawww’s amplified, watching cat videos with over a thousand other cat-video fans is indeed more fun than watching them alone (or at work, which you also do).

Cartwright told the audience they can help cats in need of adoption by sharing more cat videos. Braden agreed, saying that there's something special about "taking an online experience offline."

Perhaps your Facebook feed can shed some oversimplified political rants and Buzzfeed quizzes to make room for more fur. As Braden put it, "You have to be evangelists out there for cats."

The Internet Cat Video Festival was born in 2012 at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team had decided to channel their own cat-video-watching energy (which was apparently prodigious) into a proper exhibition.

Over ten thousand people showed up to watch cat videos projected onto a gigantic outdoor screen, and the event now is entering its third year.

The Walker Arts Center provided the video reel shown at Just for Cats, which is in turn presented by CFHS and Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA).

Just for Cats has been touring Canada, said Cartwright, "helping Canadians appreciate the human-cat bond."

Vancouver-based filmmaker  Doug Brown’s “The Kitten Circus”, featuring tiny kittens from VOKRA, was unanimously chosen as the best local entry.

Braden said that more and more submissions were produced videos. Rather than “OMG, look what Mitzy’s doing!”, filmmakers are spending more time editing, and putting more energy into animation and visual effects than was the case in the past.

Who is qualified to judge the value of a cat video? Braden, for one: “Henri” was given the seal of approval by Roger Ebert himself:

On the next page, we'll out "Henri: Paw de Deux".

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