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

  • Trey-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 11:48 a.m.

    The cat app is a great way because they can jump on the tablet and it won't hurt the screen or the cat but on the other hand the computer lets them sit and watch the computer mouse icon plus if they do try to pounce on the icon then they will most likely knock the screen down or brake something on the table.

  • Addie-Arm
    1/12/2015 - 12:14 p.m.

    Now cats have a way of working out and having a fun time catching and hunting things, while not being outside. Instead of buying your cats something for ten dollars, you can buy these apps for maybe three dollars and less.

  • dp2001blue
    1/12/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    i remember there was an app where you tap on ants to kill them and there was this viral video on youtube where this guy had his pet frog use the app and it was very popular so its no different with this app

  • L2000neon
    1/12/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    I have a cat and before I got a app for it to play with and it was little fishes swimming on the screen and I put it out for my cat to play with and he just sat there and just started at it watching the fish , once and a while he would try to hit them but it looked like he was scared to so it was very entertaining to me.

  • OJ2001Steelers86
    1/12/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    I think its cool to see the new technology that people are coming out with these days, and soon animals are going to start wearing classes.

  • Cs2001Tardis
    1/12/2015 - 01:05 p.m.

    What a great idea. These apps can help cats by making them move and find something that they like to do. Tablets are able to be put on the ground then desktop programs. I can see people doing more things like this.

  • DG2000Optic
    1/12/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    That's pretty cool that a cat can have something to do all day, but what about its nails, won't it leave scratch marks? They should've thought about that before they created the app

  • Peytonk-OBr
    1/12/2015 - 01:43 p.m.

    I think that it is because the cats would knock the desktop over, and it cannot sense that the cat is touching it. I like that they programed the Ipad, kindle fire, or any other tablet to do what it does, that is so cool. I wonder how the tablet would sense that the cat is touching it, because the tablet that you are playing, or working on is most likely used to human skin, and not animal paws or animal fur.

  • Alecl-OBr
    1/12/2015 - 01:45 p.m.

    I may not have a cat, but this seems like a great app for a cat I might get in the future! Why an i pad is better than a desktop is because it's easier to pounce the mouse than to try to jump to the top of a desktop screen. This app is a great source of exercise for the cat. I think there should be an app for dogs too! everyone who has a cat should download this app!

  • Wilfreda-OBr
    1/12/2015 - 01:53 p.m.

    I think these apps are better for cats because they get exercise. They also learn to hunt and so they don't get fat. I think I should get it for my cat he mite play on it. I would play it if I was a cat the app sounds cool.

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