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Do Cats Actually Like Cat Apps?

May 15, 2012

CG playing with the pocket pond app.

Every time I visit a pet store, I’m always impressed with the wide selection of cat toys available. You can buy everything from those gray mice and plastic balls with bells inside them to developmental toys for cats. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that cat toys are showing up in other places, too.

Like on tablets and smartphones. According to a recent poll, about 11% of Americans own a tablet of some sort, and at least 35% of Americans own a smartphone. Apple’s app store offers 500,000 apps for download — and a few of those have actually been created for our pets’ entertainment.

And some cats love them. Try searching “cat iPad” on YouTube, and you’ll find some videos of cats who really love their iPad apps. Yet, other cats couldn’t care less. So should you give them a shot?

It shouldn’t be a surprise that my husband and I have actually downloaded a few of those apps to see how CG and Ellie like them. Here’s a quick round-up on what we discovered.

Cat Toy (Free): Creative name, right? This one features four toys: a mouse, spider, laser pointer dot and butterfly. The goal is for your cat to tap the object; when your cat makes contact, each reacts in a certain way (for example, the mouse squeaks). It’s best used on the iPad (bigger screen = more space to play), but CG likes the mouse on the iPhone just fine. In fact, when I hold up the iPhone and call his name, he comes running! He likes the mouse and he’ll watch the spider, but the laser pointer dot and butterfly don’t hold his attention at all. I think it has to do with which ones make sounds — I think that’s why he likes the mouse best (it makes scratching noises when it’s off-screen).

Friskies Apps (Free): We’ve tried Party Mix-Up, Tasty Treasures Hunt, and Cat Fishing. I just discovered that Friskies has since come out with several others (Jitter Bug, Cat Fishing 2 and You vs Cat), which we haven’t tried yet, but will. The cats enjoy these games (the first three, at least), but I can’t help but think that if there was a noise involved, they would be more engaged. Ellie particularly likes Party Mix-Up, but the only times she scores points (by batting at the treats) seems to be when she falls over! Nonetheless, since these apps are free, they’re worth a shot.

Pocket (Koi) Pond (Free): I’m pretty sure this app is meant to be soothing and relaxing for humans, but cats and fish equal a classic combination. There’s a lot going on with this app (sounds, lots of color and movement), so at first I wondered if the cats would even find it interesting. However, both like to sit near it and just watch. I don’t know if CG recognized the fish as fish (I don’t even think he’s ever seen a real fish), but he liked the movement and batted at the sides of the iPad to get the fish. He also touched his nose to the screen a few times, and was surprised by the “plop” water noise and ripples he made. I don’t think he thinks it’s terribly interesting, but he’ll put up with it — for my sake.

Expensive Cat Toy ($0.99): While I’m more a fan of free apps, we decided to pop for this $0.99 app. We should have known from the low rating that we shouldn’t have bothered. This app didn’t do anything new, and we all were board of it within a few seconds.

Overall, these apps are amusing for us and our cats. However, nothing truly compares to interacting with them one-on-one, and honestly, that’s one of the joys of being a cat parent. So, while we do turn on these apps from time-to-time, they certainly aren’t a replacement for real interaction and playtime.

Have you tried any apps with your cats? What have you found? Please share in the comments!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. janice permalink
    May 15, 2012 9:14 am

    i am waiting for the ipad I ordered, and while i was watching this post, Jewel was watching the fish in the video!!! Cant wait to try it here!

  2. Lauren permalink
    May 16, 2012 7:47 pm

    I let Mimosa play with my iPad! At first she wasn’t so sure about it but she’s gotten more into it. She plays the “affection collection” by RSPCA Queensland. It has 3 different games to choose from that switch back and forth depending on whether or not the game thinks the cat is “bored.” They also get points for how “well” they do. Mimosa only likes one of the three though…where she can chase the mice. However, she ends up attacking my sofa more because when the mice leave the screen she thinks they have run under the iPad. I’m not sure if that makes her “special” or actually really smart!

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