The Popular South Korean Live-Streaming Cat Show
Are you a cat person, rather than a dog person? It seems that recently in South Korea, many people have become newly entranced by the furry little felines.
Korea is a country whose traditions teach that stray cats are wicked, untrustworthy, and sneaky animals that steal food from humans and rummage through trash. But the people of South Korea have now experienced a big turnaround and spend hours waiting and watching the little animals playing and eating.
The live-streamed online show Cats Meok Bang, a mix of the words broadcasting and eating, focuses on the eating habits of a group of stray cats. The show is broadcast 24 hours a day, and after four months of the program being on air, a staggering 110,000 South Koreans watch each month.
The show began when Koo Eun-je started feeding the stray cats in his back yard and became curious about their habits. He set up a broadcasting channel just for his family. After watching for some time, they discovered that rather than one or two cats, 17 stray cats were frequently visiting, and other people were watching the show.
In his back yard, Koo has set up an area dedicated to the cats, a daily menu on the show, a name board, many toys, and even a small fish tank surrounding the plates of food.
While the show is often uneventful and viewers experience large breaks between seeing any cats, when the cats finally arrive, viewers share their excitement, offering advice, calling to the cats, and wishing them well. Some South Koreans claim they quit browsing Facebook, watching television, and playing mobile phone games just to watch the often empty cat screen.
The idea is said to be similar to the recent South Korean trend of eating while on webcam, where people watching send messages, cash donations, and words of encouragement. It has become increasingly popular as young adults move out of home and begin to live alone, seeking solace and company where they can.