Feeling guilty because you’re a closeted fan of cat videos? Don’t be. Research is showing there’s a beneficial upside of watching kitty videos.

Found yourself with some extra time on your hands at work while waiting on that nimrod Johnson down the hall to file his latest data report? Decided to hop onto YouTube and see what’s trending when you fell into a bottomless chasm of videos featuring cats wearing silly outfits and doing ridiculous tasks? Then, for some reason, finding yourself not being quite so upset at Johnson for his tardiness? According to one study, Johnson might be able to thank your feline entertainment break for you smile at him when he finally delivers his assignment.

A researcher at Indiana University Bloomington assessed nearly 7,000 participants in an effort to establish why cat videos are so popular online. How popular? YouTube lists 2 million videos featuring cats, and that content has helped contribute to YouTube’s overall 26 billion view count (and growing) for the subject. Call them what you will, but assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, the pug-owning researcher behind the study, has discovered one simple result from her survey: videos of cats just make people happy.

In a statement released from IU Bloomington, it was also suggested that cat videos may also have a possible real-world application in the future as a therapeutic tool, similar to pet therapy. One thing should be noted regarding these results — 88% of the survey’s participants were women. Curiosity, as they say, killed the cat, but there’s probably still room for another look at the topic with an equal split of male and female participants. And then we can all hope for a video press release of a lab-coat-and-glasses-wearing feline pointing to the results on a chalkboard while ridiculous music plays in the background.

Story by Jay Moon