Cats Meok Bang, a live stream of stray cats eating at a charmingly furnished outdoor feeding station, has captivated Koreans to the tune of 110,000 viewers per month.
Cats Meok Bang is a show about noshing... and unlike Seinfeld's stillborn “Jerry”, the 24-7 live stream featuring random stray cats nom-nom-nomming it up at an ever-changing outdoor buffet is a major hit.
From humble beginnings as a webcam set up for the benefit of just two people, Cats Meok Bang has exploded – no pun intended – into a national obsession. It's estimated that approximately 10,000 people have bookmarked the live stream and around 110,000 per month are tuning in. Heh, and you thought Reality TV had no future!
Credit Koo Eun-je, a 35-year-old former web designer who uses the professional name of BJ Thief Cat (the BJ stands for “Broadcasting Jockey”), is the brains behind Cats Meok Bang. The concept has its roots in Meok Bang, a Korean social phenomenon in which groups of friends live-stream themselves enjoying meals together.
Koo Eun-je is as surprised as anyone Cats Meok Bang has taken off the way it has. Early in 2016, he was visiting his mother-in-law at her country house in southwestern Korea. He noticed a stray cat hanging around and, worried that it might be hungry, left some fish for it to eat. Well the cat came back the very next day... and others soon followed.
Perhaps feeling an obligation to continue what he began, Koo Eun-je began catching fish for the cats to eat and set up an on-site webcam and a live-streaming channel so he and his wife could observe their “guests” remotely. As the weeks passed, they made the feeding station more homey by adding a menu board, a guest list (as many as 17 different strays patronize the buffet), comfortable blankets, a fishbowl with eels, and even a rotating disco ball... all the while, soft music plays in the background.
The station's décor changes as time goes by though the cats don't seem to care one way or another. Their main concern is the food Koo Eun-je generously provides; he augments his fresh-caught fish dishes with cat food donated by fans of the live-steaming channel. At present only Koreans can view the live stream but foreigners can still get their Cats Meok Bang fix via the many videos posted at YouTube. (via MentalFloss, The Verge, 680News, and Our Cats World).