Apps For Cats (and ethics)

Android Apps For Cats

This is about computer games and computer devices for cats. It is a skim through some ideas for the sort of “apps” (meaning “applications”, which in turn means programmes or software) that are made for cats.

VG (a regular PoCer) wants some ideas. Marc will be doing a post in due course, which I look forward to reading. There is no rush Marc, and if you are too busy leave it and leave a comment instead. Although, Marc is the expert on these things because he bought a tablet computer for his cats so he knows the sort or apps that his cats find fascinating. I am very impressed by a person who buys a tablet computer solely for use by his cats.

In the meantime I explore the idea of apps for cats on this page. There are two considerations:

  1. What tablet computer is best? And…..
  2. What games (apps) are best?

Tablet Computer

What sort of tablet computer should a person get for her cats? Well if I was buying I would choose the Google Google Nexus 7 (16GB, 2013). This runs on Google’s open-source nature Android OS (Operating System). The open nature of the software compared to Apple’s closed software should mean more cat apps and more choice regarding tablets. If you are intent on buying an Apple iPad this is the page for cat games.

The Nexus is relatively cheap compared to Apple’s iPad ($299 in USA or £239 in UK) and high quality.  There is also a Nexus 10 which is faster. As an alternative, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (8-inch, gold-brown) is a good choice. An equally good alternative is Sony Xperia Tablet Z (16GB). Sony make high quality, durable products.

Google devices receive good reviews in respect of both their phone and tablets. If anyone has a question about these devices, just ask in a comment and I’ll answer it 😉

Note – Caveat – Ethics

Personal Note: on an ethical level, I have one barrier to buying a Google product: Google work with the NSA (the USA’s National Security Agency – “defending our nation, securing our future”). Google allows the NSA access to the data that they collect on people’s internet activity. This is the sort of thing that Snowden, is referring to. Snowden is the person who has made transparent what the US government should have made transparent: they hack into everything on a global scale.

I am very much against what the American government is currently doing in tapping into mobile phones and accessing what should be private internet information. The internet information the NSA collects from across the world is called “meta data” which means: who is doing what to whom and where. It is not direct tapping into emails etc. It is, however, a gross breach of privacy and no one in the government said they are doing it until Snowden told the world and in doing so became a the USA’s most wanted “criminal”. To many he is a hero. Potentially, he has a very miserable and lonely life ahead of him in avoiding the USA. I am not sure he knew this when he disclosed “state secrets” that should have been transparent. This information may make some people think twice about buying Google products.

Apps for Cats

So, what sort of games can you buy for the Google Nexus 7 or 10? There are lots of free apps for Android tablets.

Click this link (opens in a new window or tab) to see apps designed for cats – the picture on this page is a screenshot. They include apps that respond to the touch of a cat’s paw. This should help to keep up a cat’s attention span.

I hope this helps a bit. It is not based on personal experience so some trial and error will be required to find the most affective cat game. The manufacturer of the tablet is less important but I sense that Android OS tablets are better for the choice of games available for free download. Wrong? Please leave a comment.


Associated: Lion King Games

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Apps For Cats (and ethics) — 47 Comments

  1. Well done Marc, have you had any surprise deliveries of 400 cans of tuna yet?

    If my cats had their own computing device I think they would possibly sleep on it mostly. Sometimes Gerry will bat at the cursor on the pc screen though.

    I’ve seen videos of cats playing with apps on ipads or similar. One was batting at a frog on the screen, the other was two young cats going mad about lots of spiders scuttling about on the screen.

    I agree about the NSA, my cats would not want anyone to know which brands of catnip they prefer 😉

    • lol – actually when I am not looking Lilly always manages to exit the game and go on the internet with the browser 🙂

      I chose android because I don’t like apple products other than their computer operating system and laptops. But before I wnet I bought an android tablet I made sure there were games. To be honest I would have bought apple if the game choice was alot better or something but they were both about the same when i checked. I have all the free ones and I plan to buy all the payable ones I just have to register my credit card with the android app store. There are a few paid ones. Friskies have some of their own but most of them are only available in the US. Hopefully that will change.

      • Hi Marc, thanks for info. I’m putting this under your comment, so you’ll see I replied. But, I’m going to post a longer comment for you below, that you’ll have to look for (no automatic PoC notification).

  2. Alot of the apps you get in android when you search ‘games for cats’ are just games featuring cats. If you look at the picture at the top a number of those aren’t for cats but about cats. Its quite hard to go through all the thousands of apps and find the right ones. I’ll have to give it another shot soon. I have put the pad asid for a while now that I have a catio.

    By the way, big news, my cats caught a bird. It must have flown into the catio or flat through a window – as much as I hate it for the birds I am very happy for my cats, especially the 2 young ones who have never had the experience before. I was pleased they got to do a cat thing even though they aren’t allowed to roam freely. They are lovng the catio and I have put down grass which I pick – it dries into a sort of hay – and I have bought plants so they get to lie in the hay surrounded by plants and snooze as if they were out in the fields. Sorry for the tangent 🙂

      • Well you can’t see the catio – I haven’t finished it – the net is up and they can go on the balcony but I can only carry a couple plants home at once so it’s got a long way to go. For now I just put the plants so they can enjoy being ‘in’ them, surrounded by them and I always bring them fresh grass which then dries out into this hay for them to lie around on. So what you see here is just a close up of the area where the plants are… it looks nice 🙂

        • and another…. you can see Gigi behind, top left in the shade under the bicycle wheels leaning on the balcony wall. It s a tiny balcony. I will put a cat tree on it and many more plants and ivys so its a real mini garden full of nature.

          • Love it. It’s a little jungle, just the way it should be. I think this is a neat solution for you and the cats. Good compromise. It just gives them an alternative environment which is more natural and which should make indoors better appreciated.

            • I have alot more plans for it – this is just the start. I suppose next summer it will be fully up and running. For now I carry a little plant home from the supermarket each time so they are building up slowly. I need to get a person to drive me to the plant shop so I can big ivys and big plants to really fill the balcony and start climbing the cat tree and netting so it’s like being in a tree for them eventually.

              • Wow Marc, this is coming along nicely! It is already beautiful. I look forward to seeing the finished catio. Lucky kitties.

          • Oh just look at that torti fur! It reminds me of embers glowing in the grate. She’s beautiful.

            I love the use of hay. Hay attracts all kinds of interesting little bugs to chase and swat at.

            With so many plants to surround them, your cats are getting a wonderful taste of nature and staying safe too.

            The idea to use ivy is brilliant too.

            Please don’t be hard on yourself when Gigi is feeling a bit down. You are doing a marvellous job of making the lives of your cats interesting and safe.

            Maybe some real mice will find their way to your balcony? hehe!

            • Molly is very pretty and fluffy too. I think she really enjoys the balcony and the plants, she is out there all the time and sleeping out there at night and in the day.

              If a mouse could find my balcony that would be pretty special. I could make them a little ramp with cheese along it 🙂

          • Marc- your catio looks lovely, even in its early stages.

            This comment made me think-
            ~The plants are great because they bring insects and odd though it may seem I encourage insects now because they love to chase them.~

            Doesn’t see odd at all to me- Tootsie does try to capture flying insects outdoors, but with zero success. She gets exercise, they survive. All good.

            I’ve read about plants that attract butterflies. Not sure if your screen mesh would be large enough to allow butterflies to enter, though. Butterflies have very erratic flight patterns- adaptive defense, so it’s very difficult for predators of all sorts to capture them. Thus, I don’t think you would be in danger of inviting “mass butterfly slaughter by cats”.

            One such plant is Lantana- I’m familiar with it because they are often used in hanging baskets here. Unlike some of the other plants I just read about in a quick web search, I know from personal experience that they are very easy to grow and propagate. Cut off a part of the plant, stick it in water, roots grow, plant in soil, plant grows. They seem to be common in Europe.

            Another plant- have you considered catnip? Nepeta cattaria. It’s of European origin. I’ve seen some pretty funny youtubes of cats rolling around in pots of Nepeta. And, I just discovered (internet search) that Nepeta cattaria also attracts butterflies.

            • I like the idea of a pot of catnip. Growing catnip makes more sense than buying it. It is quite a plain but pleasant enough plant. You’d get plenty of activity on the catio.

            • Yes I’d love to find some catnip and grow it – I have many plans for the balcony however I am limited to being without a car so everything is carried home by hand. It will take a while but I’ll get there. I’d love to find these cat plants.

              • You might be able to find Catnip seeds to buy online Nepeta Cataria I think is what one needs. It’s easy to grow, but not so easy to keep the cats off of the seedlings.

                Another one to grow for cats is Oat grass. Which is readily available to buy in seed packets online. Cats seem to really go for it. My Oliver loved it, it’s really good for hair ball control too -natural roughage. You need to reseed every year as it’s an annual plant. It can be grown inside too.

                UK Supplier here – not sure where you are Marc?

                Here is Oliver in August 2012,floofy boy chomping his Oat Grass

              • Marc- everycat has good ideas!

                I hadn’t seen her comment before I went off googling for “growing catnip from seed”. What I read said same- easy to grow from seed. Can be started and grown indoors. Looked to me like you might have some annuals in your catio that won’t survive the winter. So that would leave you with soil to start the seeds.

                This is the best page I found online. All say not to put seeds deep in soil- barely under the surface. All agree that catnip (Nepeta cataria) is easy to grow from seed.

                http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/Growing-Catnip-from-Seed

              • I couldn’t reply to you directly but thanks for the cat grass info. I have grown it indoors before but I’ve never grown anything like this outdoors in soil etc. I will look into it.

              • Thanks alot VG and Everycat – and Oliver looks like he’s enjoying that grass.

                I do actually have some ‘cat grass’ seeds because I grow it indoors always for them to chomp on. I don’t know what kind of grass it is but I got it at the pet store and it just said ‘cat grass’ but it’s lovely and they like it and it looks just like normal grass but a bit wider, exactly like the grass lovely Oliver is eating in Everycat’s photo.

    • The catio sounds great. Best of both worlds for them!

      Apps that made little squeaks and cheeps and had little creatures darting in and out of holes would be good for cats I think. When I looked at the app store told me I had no devices, so I couldn’t get to try the games out. In the dark ages here, with just a pc 🙂

      • Yes – I mean for indoor cats, especially in winter I think those little squeaks and movements are stimulating and good for them somehow. The fact that 2 out of my 3 really get hooked on it is great. Molly is more self sufficient anyway but Lilly and Gigi especially need some stimulation. I still worry that Gigi is depressed. I hate it that I am often very busy especially at this time of year and I have much less playtime with them than I would like. But they are now enjoying the balcony and I am very happy when I wake up to them chasing eachother around the place and having tussles. IT makes me very happy to see them have even a little fun on their own. It’s a real job and a real commitment to have indoor cats. It’s nothing like having outdoor cats. They become alot more your responsibility in terms of how they feel. You really have to work hard to make them happy and satisfied if they can’t go for a wander outside everyday or when they like. 2 entirely different ways of lving with cats. When one of them – Gigi – looks sad and unmotivated it can be very hard to cope with. I feel terrible and like I am doing something totally wrong and like I should just let her outside to be free and leave the risk of her being hit by a car to her own devices. There’s nothing worse than a sad cat who is probably sad because of what you are doing. I can’t live with myself knowing a creature is unhappy for a longer period of time just because of me. It’s bad karma. I honestly believe I feel trapped if Gigi does. I am trapped by her feeling trapped – that’s how karma works – it’s instant, not over long periods of time as many believe. So for as long as I make the choice to make us all remain closed in in view of the busy road next door then I am going to have to work very hard to make sure we can all feel ok when things are going badly.

    • I’m so happy for your cats, Marc, that they caught a bird. I always say of Monty that it’s a good day for him when he gets to kill something. It’s his nature. All the begging for outside time is really about that– the possibility that he might catch something!

      • Me too – thanks Ruth – yes I feel bad for the little bird but my cats needed that – especially the 2 young ones who haven’t had an outdoor life except their first 8-10 weeks or so. It’s very nice for them to have the plants, lavender and those smells and I love that they can enjoy a rainstorm and later int he winter they can go and hopefully the snow will still land on the balcony through the net so they can experience that. It’s not ideal but its better. The plants are great because they bring insects and odd though it may seem I encourage insects now because they love to chase them. These are all things they can do outside so the more of those outdoor activities they get the better in my view. When it cools down they will also be able to appreciate being inside more rather than always being stuck on the inside. They will go out on the balcony and freeze for a min and decide they like it inside and perhaps they wont feel trapped anymore in winter because they want to be inside.

  3. Fruit Ninja is not made for cats, but cats love it! There is even a video of a cat playing the game on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdEBgZ5Y46U

    Which tablet to buy… There has been a lot of discussion about this in my family and I we decided that tablets with the more solid plastic overlay is probably the best choice. The Ipad (I am not a fan of Apple in general) seems to be the best for cats. The top ‘glass’ is very sturdy. Not sure if there are any issues with scratching on Ipad’s. Other than that, I’d stay away from cheap ones. I would never let a cat play a game on my cheap tablet. It’s just too fragile.

  4. Hi Marc, if not obvious, my request to Michael came as a result of you talking about (plus pic) of your cats using tablet in various comments before.

    I tried searching around at my usual online photo store, to see what was available. Of course the reviews were not given with cats in mind. So, it was tough to read between the lines. But a lot of the cheaper ones had problems- low response speed, can only see image from a certain angle, and so on. So, I gave up trying to figure this out on my own, and asked for help.

    One major question- what model, made, etc. of tablet do you have for the cat games? Specifics are very important. Because at least I know that particular one will “work”.

    If it is not absolutely the most current latest model, then it might be possible for me to find a used one online. If I knew exactly what I was looking for.

    I’ve bought 2 cheap laptops via ebay (refurbished by seller)- first I bought for foreign travel (north Africa) and ended up giving it as gift to someone there, second I bought.. too complicated to explain.

    Also, US photo store where I’ve bought a lot of things online has a “used” section- I checked out the tablets a while back, and they have flaws like “cosmetic damage”. Ha! I think that a tablet used for cat games would end up with “cosmetic damage”, so why worry about that?

    Thanks,

    VG

    • Well I bought a samsung (android) pad – the one with the little pen which pops out if you want to use it. It cost me about 450 dollarsso not cheap but then it was new. The cat game they like the most is not in the picture above although they do like the first 2 in the list on the top left. Its funny because the ones I thought looked kind of crappy are the ones they like the best. The one they are most obsessed with has awkward graphics and is very simple but they seem to love it. Some of the games are very simple and when you first download and see them you think they are kind of useless but as it happens I was wrong about that and my cats just love some of them. Another thing I do is play them youtube videos for cats. There’s a great one called ‘Winter Birds’ which they absolutely love. It’s a little film made especially for cats of birds landing on a wall in winter – I actually quite like it because of the sound and atmosphere it makes in the room whilst it’s playing.

      They have attcked their tablet like crazy and they always try and dig under/behind it looking for birds and mice and Lilly especially has attacked it full throttle but it hasn’t a scratch. The screen is glass, not plastic, so I don’t really see how they are going to scratch with their claws – I never trim my cat’s claws either but they sharpen them on everything around like cat trees and couches so I am not sure how their claws compare to others.

      Another thing is I get Lilly to see her old friends (cats) she used to live with on Skype and she loves to see them. She also loves to sit on my lap and watch videos or Red with me – she really loved him very much so she really obsesses when she sees him on video.

      Some cats however don’t ‘read’ the screen. Molly has no particular interest in it, she doesn’t read the picture in the 3d sense, she just sees it in 2d as abstract colours and light and sound I think – she’s not interested in it so much. If you want to test Tootsie just show her your phone. The only reason why I got the pad is because they loved my phone so much and my laptop screen when I played the youtube birds videos. I have a big android phone and you can download the same games for the tablet on the phone as well and Gigi and Lilly loved the phone. When I brought the pad they wouldn’t even let me set it up the first time I opened it after charging they were so excited about the big screen.

      But VG remeber Tootsie goes outside – she may naturally be less interested in the screen – I don’t know but its possible. Mine are indoors so it’s different for them.
      I think you will find its better in winter but in CA you don’t really have much in the way of winter 🙂

      Michael I’ve kind of written an article in the comments…. I could look for a couple videos of them with the tablet and send them to you. The only issue will be size but I could arrange for you to download them from my bike website server.

      • Thanks Marc. Excellent. Exactly what I wanted and thank you very much. Job done.

        If you have a video that would be nice. I was looking into having a multiple account holding on Vimeo but I don’t know how to do that right now.

        • Thanks also Marc for you detailed further ideas and advice.

          Shock, horror, I don’t have one of those fancy phone thingies!

          However, you’ve given me an idea that I hadn’t thought of. I have a an older laptop that I abandoned b/c it would crash, but oddly enough, only when connected to the internet. It’s sitting in the corner of the room gathering dust. But, I figure I could download YouTube videos of the type you suggest via my present computer, and then upload copies to that laptop. You don’t have to go through such hoops to download YTs as used to be the case.

          I could play them for Tootsie, and see if she is interested, how she reacts. She is so well mannered that she doesn’t jump on the computer table to help with typing or watch the screen. However, if I’m watching a VHS movie (yes, I am behind in technology) settled down in bed, she will find a comfy place from which to stare at the screen. So, that seems hopeful.

          For various reasons, Tootsie may have to become more of an indoor cat. I worry about her getting depressed again, like she was when I first adopted her- she had always been an indoor cat before. That is part of why I was asking for technical details re: your set up.

      • Marc, thanks so much for all those ideas.

        Numbers please?

        Could you please please tell me more about the Samsung? LIke model number and Gbs storage? I’m not sure I’ll be able to find it on ebay or such based on searching for “the one with the little pen which pops out if you want to use it.” 😉

          • I forget the name of the model – but I think it’s Galaxy Tab – its the one with the pen – the only one with w pen that comes out of a little slot.

            You don’t need a huge amount of space in my opinion if you use a computer usually anyway. Mine has 8 or 16gb only I think but I don’t download anything – it’s purely just for my cats to play with – cat games and skype and a browser and that’s it.

            If you want to use it to watch movies you will have to pay more for a bit of space. To be honest I don’t know much about them but I know that android is good and straight forward so that’s what I went with.

            I paid about 450 dollars for mine but thats brand new in box so maybe on ebay you can get it for half that. Also mine inly has wifi, it doesn’t do a satellite data connection so you can only go on the web if in a wifi zone. It’s much cheaper than buying one with a data satellite connection – plus you would have to subscribe to a plan but then you could go on the net anywhere even out of wifi. Costs alot more though.

  5. I don’t know if anyone remembers it, but way back in the stone age of the internet, sometimes around the millennium, in the UK, Felix cat food released a little screen saver of their brand logo tuxedo cat. It would walk around the screen, mooch at the task bar and possibly swat at and chase things. It was very good. It never crashed or interfered with Win 98 SE either (yes we are talking that far back)

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