I must admit that I over the years I have become addicted to several television programs. “Scandal”, “The Good Wife”, and “Sister Wives” and “My Cat from Hell” are a few of my all-time favorites.
While my husband Marty and I always enjoy an evening of what we consider worthwhile programming, unfortunately I am afraid that Edgar Allen Poe, our six-month old kitten, may have caught the “watching TV bug” also.
At first it began rather innocently when Edgar Allen Poe was hanging out with my husband who was watching a basketball game. The moving ball caught Edgar Allen’s eye and he leapt off the couch, his attention riveted to the screen; following all the action. In fact, a couple of times he even attempted to grab at the ball.
Then, a few weeks ago we were watching a re-run of Jackson Galaxy’s “My Cat from Hell”. Edgar Allen was fast asleep curled up on the sofa, and Sir Hubble Pinkerton was snoozing away on my lap. But peaceful nap-time was quickly interrupted when one of the cats Jackson was working with began to growl, hiss and shriek.
Hearing the loud sounds of an angry kitty, Edgar Allen instantly awakened and jumped off the couch. The tip of his tail was swishing back and forth and his ears were pricked forward. He crouched low to the floor wiggling his hind end- ready to pounce on some yet unseen intruder. He kept looking around to find the cat to no avail; but all of a sudden the upset cat on the TV screen caught his eye.
I have never in my life seen a cat attack a TV screen before. But I guess there is a first time for just about everything. Edgar Allen started growling at the feline image, and whacking at it with great animation. But Edgar Allen became very confused when the image of the cat disappeared from sight. He looked up at me with his big green eyes as if to say “What happened to that nasty cat?”
To learn more about whether cats truly can distinguish images on television or if Edgar Allen’s ability was a quirk after extensive research I ran across a fascinating article by Auckland Veterinarian, Dr Alex Melrose, BVSc, and MRCVS. According to Dr. Melrose, both cats (and dogs) are able to take in a great deal of visual information while watching television; and what they are seeing doesn’t have to be about animals. The images just have to be moving.
What I found most reassuring in the article is that felines are able to process visual information far more quickly than dogs or humans.
What’s more, according to the results of studies cited by Dr. Melrose; since the speed of the pictures on the old, standard 50 Hz televisions are too slow for cats to “compute”, they can get bored easily. It’s a good thing that we have a high definition LCD screen so that Edgar Allen Poe can become even more delighted with the DVD of birds and wildlife that we bought for him strictly for stimulation and entertainment. I just hope that Edgar Allen won’t start hogging the remote!
Do you think your cats do enjoy watching TV? You can check this out by showing them this wildlife video that’s replete with enticing sounds, uploaded to YouTube by cat lover, Paul Dinning.
Did your cats react to the video? Let us know in a comment.