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Aug 14 2014

High-tech cats? There’s an app for that

While most cats can appreciate the perfect cardboard box (often one you were about to fill with something), a fine paper ball, or a vintage squeaky mouse, many are in touch with their high-tech side. From chasing the laser pointer, to the mouse pointer, to watching nature shows in high-definition, cats are definitely tech-savvy.

This fact isn’t lost on game developers, who have been hard at work designing apps for smart phones and tablets that can provide some fun for your cat. Games ranging from automated laser pointers to hopping bugs, swimming fish, and squeaking mice, allow your cat to interact with your device and be rewarded with sounds and visual stimuli.

There are, however, a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your cat’s screen time:

  • Safety first – for kitty and your device. You should always supervise your cat when playing with your devices, and make sure they’re on a large, stable surface, such as the floor. Classic cat tumbles may not hurt Fluffy, but you might not be too thrilled when your tablet hits the floor.
  • Lock up your credit card. While many developers have fixed this after learning the hard way, there have been reports of cats purchasing upgrades to their free apps thanks to connections with user accounts to places like iTunes and the Google Play store. Check to make sure this can’t happen, because your cat will surely claim it was unintentional.
  • Watch the claws.  While most screens can handle a cat’s tapping, plastic screen protectors can be poked and snagged by claws.
  • They can still get bored. Just like with toys, your cat may bore of her apps. Rotating through a few different ones, in addition to other types of toys, can extend her interest.
  • End with something real. Because cat play usually appeals to their hunting instinct, some cats can get frustrated with toys they can’t pick up or bite. If your cat falls into this category, throwing her a ball or mouse at the end of the session can satisfy her need to capture prey.
  • Don’t limit your title choices. They don’t have to be cat-specific apps to capture your furry friend’s imagination – the idea surely began when people were competing with their cats for control of the screen. Besides, how often does your cat snub toys purposely selected for their discerning tastes in favor of taking off with a hair clip from your bathroom counter?

Bonus entertainment for you: if you don’t let your cat play with your devices, or she has no interest, head on over to YouTube and search “cats playing with apps” to get all of the entertainment value with none of the equipment risk.