Got a cat? Theres an app for that
Got a cat? Theres an app for that A cat named Maxine playing "Game for Cats" on an iPad (AP photos)
Got a cat? Theres an app for that
Lexile: 1310L

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When Laura Fritz's felines play with her iPad, her fat cat loses the urge to eat, her scaredy-cat loses his fear and her youngest just loses interest.

If you've had enough time to play with the tablet you got for the holidays, try turning the device over to your tech-savvy cat. Every cat app, no matter the maker, has something for felines to electronically track, stalk or hunt, such as mice, bugs or laser dots.

"Cats are attracted to things that move, and that is the 'magic' for most of the apps," said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine and executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

"The motion in most apps is jerky and quick, much like an insect," she said, adding that any sound component would quickly be eclipsed by the draw of movement.

Every cat is different, but if they're like two of Fritz's, they will love pawing the screen to catch critters, which breaks anxious Maxie out of his shell and gives hefty Mr. Brutus a way to exercise, said Fritz of Waltham, Massachusetts. But they may be like her youngest, Pansy Rose, who couldn't care less.

Maxie and Brutus work together on the app "Paint for Cats," chasing a mouse and leaving a trail of splattered paint where they have pawed, rubbed, jumped or made other marks with their movements. Many cat owners see the results as art worthy of sharing on social media, so the app allows people to email the creations.

It is among three popular apps created by T.J. Fuller and Nate Murray's Los Angeles company Hiccup. The company also features a mouse-chasing game called "Game for Cats" and monster-crushing game dubbed "Catzilla."

There are several cat apps on the market. "Pocket Pond" for Android tablets allows cats to follow fish or dragonflies with their paws. Friskies' "Cat Fishing" also taps into the fish theme for Android and Apple devices.

Some people worry about damage to the devices, but claws won't hurt the screen, said Fuller, who ran many tests. But nobody has tested for teeth, and Karen Rittmuller of Salem, Massachusetts, found a problem with a bite.

Rittmuller tried to get her calico cat Pixel to live up to her high-tech name, so she downloaded "Game for Cats," but her pet will only stalk, pounce and bite the iPad, so she took it away.

"I did not want the device ruined or her hurt from biting too hard," Rittmuller said.

Even cats at shelters are joining the tech trend.

When the SPCA Los Angeles received a couple of used tablets two years ago, the shelter decided to see if any of their homeless cats were hiding inner artists.

Two of them, dubbed Pawblo Picasso and Frida Catlo, created abstract art that looked like fuzzy circles, and the organization turned it into sellable notecards.

Those trading up to a newer model tablet should consider donating used devices to shelters, said Ana Bustilloz, spokeswoman for the organization. People give food, kitty litter and blankets, but many don't think of animal shelters when it comes to tech equipment, she said.

Back at the Fritz house, the cats work out their problems with the tablet. The 21-pound Brutus is only motivated by food and refuses to exercise, so "Paint for Cats" gets him to move, Fritz said.

"Maxie is scared of everything that moves. But when he's painting, he becomes a different cat ... and really gets into it," she said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are tablet-based apps better for cats that desktop-based programs?

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Why are tablet-based apps better for cats that desktop-based programs?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • nylienc-Koc
    1/12/2015 - 08:31 a.m.

    I think that us having apps for everything even a cat shows how lazy we're being in society. It even isn't even that serious

  • RTyler-Sti
    1/12/2015 - 09:53 a.m.

    This is a really cool invention, I should get it for my cats if I could find it on the app store. What is the name of the app, my cats don't have any cat toys.

  • LJavier-Sti
    1/12/2015 - 09:56 a.m.

    This article was pretty much about a app that is for cats. I own a cat and I usually make cat noises through my phone and she always attacks my phone. So I think a app is worse.

  • JSteven-Sti
    1/12/2015 - 11:08 a.m.

    In my honest opinion that is a very great and exciting app that the creators came up with to get cats to stop eating all the time and get exercise like all the humans do

  • pp2000alpha
    1/12/2015 - 01:02 p.m.

    I think this app is very nice for a cat to be who they are naturally. When I get a cat, I'll buy a tablet and get this app.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    1/12/2015 - 01:32 p.m.

    If my cat, Jewels, hadn't ran away years ago I could imagine him looking at the cat app on a tablet and, instead of pawing at the tablet, he would just lay down on it. This kind of reminds me of a guitar app that my uncle has on his phone. Whenever he comes to visit he always likes to mess with my dog by playing the higher pitched cords.

  • Haley Patterson
    1/12/2015 - 02:10 p.m.

    I think this is really funny. It's also very interesting that cats are attracted to whatever is on the screen. I'm also tempted to see if my cat will do anything with it.

  • r2000soccer
    1/13/2015 - 08:39 a.m.

    tablet-based apps better for cats that desktop-based programs because it is big that cat can see easily or touch easily and also Android tablets allows cats to follow fish or dragonflies with their paws.

  • AdenCPink
    1/13/2015 - 12:02 p.m.

    That's cool, but do cat's paws work on devices like iPads? Or do you actually do anything besides watch the little insects and stuff crawl around?

  • ne2001bieber
    1/13/2015 - 01:11 p.m.

    Tablet-based apps better for cats that desktop-based programs because desktop is usually on a computer or larger and you can't touch the screen to click on stuff. For a tablet you can sit it on the floor and they can use their paws and touch the screen.

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