Before there were cat videos on YouTube there were cats on the Kinetoscope. This is a motion picture device conceived of by Thomas Edison and housed in the first movie production studio called Black Maria, located in West Orange, N.J. The Kinetoscope was a machine that moved a strip of film over a light source with a high-speed shutter.
The strip contained still images of some object, animal or person in sequential movement (similar to the series above, which were created by Eadweard Muybridge in 1887 to study the motion study of a cat running) and by conveying the strip over the light, the machine created the illusion of motion.
In this Atlantic post, editor Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldeggbut makes the astute observation that even at the dawn of cinema and more than century before YouTube, "cats ruled the moving image."