Cute animals on the Internet are the exact reason why you won't get a first

Each video of a pug struggling up a flight of stairs takes another mark off your final result, reckons Eleanor Doughty

My flatmate loves pugs. If you know her – which you probably don’t – then this is a gracious understatement. For Christmas I provided a set of ceramic pug salt and pepper mills for her twenty-first birthday.

I am also, as are all those surrounding her, compelled to send emergency photographs of these snorting monstrosities every time I spot one.  I must confess that I don’t really get it. I know it’s some kind of animal sacrilege, but 'pug' does rhyme with ‘ug’ - as in ugly.

But it’s more than just pugs. If there’s one thing those in higher education are good at – bar sleeping, ordering Dominoes and guzzling red beer like the brewery’s about to close – it’s cooing and oohing and ahhing. Not specifically over each other. Over animals. Even the presumably-out-of-date governors and stuffy student’s union have recognised this, installing a petting zoo during exam season with actual puppies. Just like the Andrex puppy, I heard. Oh, the power of the puppy.

What I do get comes in the form of a YouTube search. Animal videos. Suddenly, I’m into them. It’s not even to pass the time – I have plenty on my wunderlist without needing a distraction, and I don’t need the cheering up. I just think they’re funny. Hours can be lost – embarrassingly – in a jungle of pug-running-up-the-stairs moving pictures and home movies of kittens getting into bed with great danes. Which, by the way, I can’t get enough of.

And clearly, I’m not the only one. Following my straw poll on the old ‘book, I counted more than fifteen recent links, gifs and otherwise adorable technologies displayed across friends’ profiles. We are a nation obsessed with more than just tea and the weather (and every which-way the weather can be embedded into conversation); we are pointedly and happily struck with adoration and respect for cuddly animals.

The Internet has planted a seed that creates FOMO (fear of missing out) if we haven’t, at one time or another, tweeted a cat gif (or jif, whatever). I haven’t actually, as it happens. Like I said, I’m a bit behind.

But I still don’t think I’m a dog person, despite this new interest. Yesterday a baby Pomeranian walked past me in the street and the cuteness nearly put me in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I felt ashamed, like I’d just committed myself to time in an institution for petty lust. And lust is all it is because I am not a dog owner, in theory or practise. I like dog walking if there's no excrement and cuddles if they’re fragrant, but I enjoy the let-me-go-outside whining even less than tripe.

An ode to four-legged cuteness wouldn’t be complete with a mention of Grumpy Cat. Now while she’s not strictly speaking ‘cute’ in a conventional sense, she has a certain allure. I like to think that about lots of people, give them the benefit of the doubt. I appreciate her angry little face because I’m sure I often resemble her. We’re on the same page, old GC and I.

So mostly this week I’ll be squeaking at the dachshund that lives on Ebury Street. I ought to just sign out here and now. But for some reason, on day three of our accidental lunch arrangements, I’m feeling a little less ashamed. After all, cuteness is a basic human right.

Eleanor Doughty is a second-year student at Queen Mary, University of London. Follow her on Twitter here. She probably won't follow you back.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones