Is your Cat at Risk of Becoming A TV Addict? Our Kitten is!

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.

Cat watching television
Cat watching television
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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.

Cat watching television
Photo credit: Flickr User: Patrick Briggs

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.

7 thoughts on “Is your Cat at Risk of Becoming A TV Addict? Our Kitten is!”

  1. Since I’m not a TV watcher, my cat wasn’t exposed to it until I was staying in a friend’s guest room while I was looking for a room to rent. There was a TV in the room, so I turned it on, and did some channel surfing. Somehow I got on to a child’s program with animated figures. Mitzy was mesmerized, so I began to tune in to this channel for her. She was confined and unable to go for her usual walks outside, and there was nothing to see out the windows but buildings. It was winter, so there weren’t even birds in the trees. I was happy that she enjoyed these programs. I tried the videos for cats, but she didn’t show as much interest.

    Now, 6 months later, we have a room of our own, so I’ve tried to interest her in the same channel and similar ones, but she shows no interest.

    We also have a nice fenced yard, and I take her out with her halter and leash once or twice a day, depending on weather, since it’s fall and colder now.

    She prefers to go out, to watching anything on TV or my computer. I keep trying various ones, and also music to calm her when she can’t go out. Even though she has a large window with lots of birds and people activity, sometimes it’s just not enough.

    The strange thing is that when she was confined, and couldn’t go out, she never cried to go out the entire time. I knew that once I took her out in our new place, she’d cry to go out, and she does! Wish I could find a program she liked.

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  2. Our beloved Samuda LOVED car chase scenes. Nature programs of any kind are favorites of us all; insects, birds and fish are particularly riveting content, but cats command attention as well, and we’re also huge fans of “MY CAT FROM HELL”, though in our opinions, the CATS are from a decidedly different place. It’s their often clueless dim-bulb people who could be described as “from Hell”.

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  3. Thanks for posting this, Jo! I downloaded it and will show it to Samirah when she wakes up. I’m come back and post her reaction. The Queen is taking her nap now and does not wish to be disturbed.

    She does show interest in tv shows like Agents of SHIELD. I guess she likes the sounds and noise of the special effects. That doesn’t explain why I’ve also observed her watching “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” though.

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  4. The only cat I ever had who watched TV was Minx, if you remember her. She watched basketball games and chased the ball on the TV screen.

    I’ve tried those cat games on the tablet and none of the 5 in our clowder *see* it.

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  5. I showed this video to Sir Hubble Pinkerton yesterday and his attention span was off the charts! He watched several of the videos that were uploaded in this group- but he particularly reacted to the ones with squirrels and birds. His ears were pricked forward and he even reached out a paw now and again to try and “catch” the little critters. But what was truly amazing was he also started staring up at the ceiling as if he was trying to discover any of these animals in the room! He watched non-stop for 15 minutes before he decided there would be no “pay off”. LOL

    See if your kitties respond to the video! I bet many of them will!

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