Yet long before YouTube even existed (when "viral" referred exclusively to diseases) there was the cat video (head over to The Atlantic to watch) -- the one that begot the slew of cat videos we love today. In 1894, the world's first movie production studio, Black Maria, produced a film featuring two cats boxing. The Kinetoscope, a machine Thomas Edison conceived, moved a strip of film over a light source with a high-speed shutter, to capture the fighting felines. So the kitty clips of today have origins tracing back more than a century.
But is this really the oldest cat video? That honor would go to Eadweard Muybridge, who in 1887, invented a multi-cam setup to record continuous movement. A machine helped created the illusion of motion from film strips that contained still images of a running cat.
"Obviously it's not actually a video, but it's certainly evidence that even at the dawn of cinema, over a century before YouTube, cats ruled the moving image," The Atlantic wrote.