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
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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. She is a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine. She also is executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

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

Every cat is different. But if they're like two of Fritz's, they will love pawing the screen to catch critters.. That breaks anxious Maxie out of his shell and gives hefty Mr. Brutus a way to exercise, said Fritz. She lives in 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." They chase a mouse and leave a trail of splattered paint. That is where they have pawed, rubbed, jumped or made other marks with their movements. Many cat owners see the results as art. The owners like to share it 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. It's called "Game for Cats" and there's a 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. Claws won't hurt the screen, said Fuller. But nobody has tested for teeth.

Karen Rittmuller of Salem, Massachusetts, found a problem with a bite. She tried to get her calico cat Pixel to live up to her high-tech name. So she downloaded "Game for Cats." 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. The SPCA Los Angeles received a couple of used tablets two years ago. So the shelter decided to see if any of their homeless cats were budding artists.

Two of them, dubbed Pawblo Picasso and Frida Catlo, created what looked like fuzzy circles. The SPCA turned the "art" into sellable notecards.

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. "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

  • EliC-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 08:55 a.m.

    This was a very good idea because the cats can get a lot of exercise just by playing a game on an Ipad. They can chase around a virtual mouse for hours. The only problem is if they hit or bite the screen too hard.

  • Erica-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 09:00 a.m.

    I think this is a good idea because the cats get exercise that they actually like! But what if these cats have actually hunted before? They might try and pin the mouse down and claw the screen. They might also try and bite it. It seems like now there's an app for everything! Are we and animals going to turn tech-savvy and not even remember how we lived before even T.V.?

  • Brenna-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 09:17 a.m.

    WOW! That is such a great idea! I would have never thought of that! An app for cats would give felines an opportunity to get up and move without their owners having to dangle a fake mouse toy in front of their face! We have five cats and I would sure enjoy just sitting back and watching my cats play on an iPad!

  • Rachel-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 09:22 a.m.

    I think this would be a great game for your cats. If you don't want your cat to bug you just plop down your device and let your cat play on that game. If I was a cat I bet I would love this.

  • Ethan-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 09:34 a.m.

    I think it is wonderful cats can play with i-pad apps it is a toy revolutionizing app and is free off the app store which means saving lots of money. Also if people are afraid the cats will break their device screens they could just tape a piece of plexiglass on the screen.

  • PJ-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 09:57 a.m.

    I think that this is a cool app, I have a cat, but I wouldn't get it I think it's going to far like when someone posts something that their cats painted or when they spend money on their I-pad just for their cat.

  • Emmy-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 09:57 a.m.

    This app for cats is a very good idea because like in the winter there may not be to much animals moving around or it could just be to cold out for the cats. The app can be used for basically anytime of the day for example if there at the vet waiting the owner could get out there ipad or iphone, etc, for them to play with. Although the only problem is biting. If they get to caught up in the app like chasing a mouse they could accidentally bite the screen and damage it.

  • Joe-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 10:50 a.m.

    this is a cool idea because most cats aren't very active and these apps can change that and turn the cat into a very playful cat

  • Riley-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 11:36 a.m.

    I think this is a very good idea for cats because most cats aren't very active and this app will make them want to get up and play a game on an ipad. Really the only thing about this app that I don't think is a good thing is what if your cat scratches your ipad.

  • zarab-Orv
    1/12/2015 - 11:45 a.m.

    This article is very funny because there are certain apps for cats . Funny right , as you no cats like stuff that moves around it gets their attention . Its funny how cats play it makes me laugh . If you look at the top you will see a cat on the tablet . On the scene there is a mouse moving around and the cat is trying to catch it .

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