5 Games for iPad to keep your cat entertained
The modern cat
Nowadays cats seem to have endless amounts of entertainment - from sitting on top of laptops to playing with high tech toys to... iPad games! Originally conceived by cat food manufacturers, games for cats are starting to take hold on the App Stores.
Searching for these games is hard, because typing in anything with a word "Cat" in the search box is likely to result in dozens of games for humans. This is why I've created this list of iPad games created specifically for Cats (links to iPad App Store):
- Game for Cats and Kittens
- Another Game for Cats
- Cat Fishing 2
- Friskies JitterBug
- Catch the Mouse Cat Game for iPhone
In this article I proceed to discuss what works and does not work in a game made for cats.
An ideal cat game
Studies of cat hunting and feeding revealed exactly how cats like to hunt:
Cats use two hunting strategies, either stalking prey actively, or waiting in ambush until an animal comes close enough to be captured.
With this in mind, a good cat game would imitate the hunting experience a cat can have in the wild as closely as possible. Having played all of cat games currently available on the App Store, I've created a list features that really turns a game into a "Game for Cat":
- Starts instantly and goes into play mode
- Game is endless
- Has no buttons or options
- Evokes the feeling of ambush
- Has partially concealed objects
- Features lifelike objects
- Has audio
- Is predictable
Such game would be easy to use - when a cat asks to play, you open an iPad and place it next to the cat. He knows what to do.
Game for Cats and Kittens
Cat game in action
Game for Cats and Kittens
I created Game for Cats trying to integrate all the features of an ideal cat game. In this game, a cat hears audio coming from an iPad speaker, followed by an appearance of a slow moving bird image on screen. The cat can "catch" the bird before it flies off screen. The process repeats indefinitely with 15 different kinds of birds available.
Originally the game featured different images and sounds - from a bug to mosquito to butterfly to bird. After weeks of testing, I determined that the cat most strongly responds to bird calls and bird images, so I added more birds.
A defining feature of this game is the ability to "catch" prey - once the cat taps on a bird, it stays on the screen "dead". Repeated taps on the bird evoke bird movement and more chirps. After a while, a cat can have a pile of trophies on screen which will keep making sounds as long as he taps on them.
The game has a speech synthesizer which praises the cat for his efforts, and it seems to really work for my cat - upon hearing words like "Good Kitty",he goes berserk, clawing at the screen to hear more voices.
Catch the Mouse
Catch the Mouse Cat Game for iPhone
Catch the mouse was the very first game that my cat ever tried on an iPad. The game features an animated mouse that shuffles around the screen with squeaks and walking sounds. Tapping on a mouse briefly squashes it and produces a squeak. There's a variety of backgrounds to choose from.
My cat really liked this game when first presented. He actively clawed at the screen trying to catch the virtual mouse. He frequently looked under the iPad or got his paws around it. I saw him turn on his back, exposing his belly while rubbing his face on the screen. He had good time.
Then, after a few sessions he realized that he cannot really catch the mouse, and his response to the game dropped. Still, this is by far the best free cat game I've ever seen.
iPad Game For cats
iPad Game for Cats
iPad game for cats is the game you are most likely to find when looking for cat games. It has the best looking promotional materials, so I was excited to try it. The game has two levels - mouse and laser. Seeing how my cat ignores real life laser, I tried the mouse. The game started, then BAM. The mouse got into a trap and stopped responding. The game at that point started to ask for 2$ in-app purchase.
The laser level features a fast moving laser dot that moves around the screen and imitates the real life laser - it can do circles and moves erratically. As some reviewers have pointed out, the fact that the laser goes off screen just a bit too long has got my cat distracted as soon as the laser got off screen. Trying to bring the cat's attention back to the laser was difficult.
Cat Fishing 2
Cat Fishing 2
Cat Fishing 2 is another game by Friskies, it features a virtual fish tank where the cat can tap fish and screen to create ripples. The game features animated fish and fish tank sounds - bubbles and splashing. Occasionally the game plays cat meows to attract cat's attention.
My cat got got very excited about the game with most "Paws on screen" time I've seen yet - actively clawing at fish for the couple playthroughs. Unfortunately, the game only lasts for 90 seconds or so, and I have to repeatedly restart it.
After a while, the cat stopped paying attention to the game and left the room.
Friskies JitterBug Review
JitterBug is a game created by Friskies brand of cat food, and is a quality game with good graphics, and no sound. The game features several kinds of colorful insects crawling on the screen and has an "infinite mode" where the bugs never stop showing.
Initially my cat showed interest in the game, tapping on bugs and trying to get under the device. During a few days of testing I left the game running on my iPhone for the cat to play with when I could not play with the cat. The cat's interest in the game quickly faded, and after 3 days he would not even look at the iPhone anymore.