Dog lovers can now officially reserve .dog Internet addresses, but cat people won’t be able to secure the feline equivalent — not unless those websites contain content in Catalan, a language spoken in Europe’s Iberian Peninsula.
The .cat domain is the first top-level domain in the world intended to promote a language and culture, and it’s been online since 2005.
For example, restaurants.cat simply lists dining options around Barcelona — and neglects to mention a single feline-friendly eating establishment.
Anyone can have a .cat domain to “identify themselves as Catalan-speaking or to address Catalan-speaking people” according to Fundació puntCAT, the organization that owns .cat and is financed through the sale of .cat domains. However, to register one, you must agree to the domain’s conditions, which means the site content had better be written in Catalan, not lolspeak.
Amadeu Abril i Abril, a professor at Barcelona’s Ramon Llull University, led the campaign for .cat, lobbying the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) with the goal of preserving the Catalan language and culture, and today, websites that fail to do just this may find themselves involved in a dispute with ICANN.
But some websites seem to be getting away with using a .cat domain without including a word of Catalan. I’m looking at you, nyan.cat. And you, too, Grumpy Cat. (If you try to visit grumpy.cat, it redirects you to the website of the Internet's favorite frowning feline.)
With all the recent excitement over .dog domains though, cat people are starting to take notice that they’ve been slighted in the world of top-level domains.
"It is unfortunate that cat fanciers and cat enthusiasts are not able to take advantage of a dot-cat domain name for their website," Jodell Raymond, a Cat Fanciers’ Association spokeswoman, told USA Today.
But while Catalan speakers may boast possession of the .cat domain, cat lovers can rest assured that cats still rule the Internet.