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

  • Demii-OBr
    1/12/2015 - 01:59 p.m.

    I think that tablet based apps are better than desktopbased because there apps have more movement and there on a flat surface so the can play on it on your floor and others. I also think that they are really cool apps now on the market and most for tablet phone and more. I like how with tablet apps theat lots are free. The apps on tablets are cool because they can give the cats exercise .

  • NoahMurr15
    1/12/2015 - 02:13 p.m.

    That is awesome how now cats can play on iPads just like us. The only bad thing that i thought of is if they have nails it would scratch up the screen.

  • ryancoly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:17 p.m.

    I would never guess that they would make a app for cats. I will might have to try that app with my cat. That app is different but lets the cat be active.

  • abbiboly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    That's really cool I should try it with my cats. My cats would probably will be to lazy to look at it.I will try to download it and see if it works.

  • clintonmoly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:21 p.m.

    I think this is a great idea ! all my cat does is sleep during the day so i think that this would be perfect for my cat.

  • tannerpoly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    In my opinion not a bad idea. Its great for if you want your cat to be active and have fun will doing it. If i ever got a cat the second we would get home I would get the app and see it have fun.

  • cademoly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    I think that the apps look to be good for the cats to get more active and play more often then sitting on a couch or chair and if the cats move more then normal they will live longer and have fun.

  • DashaYoly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:25 p.m.

    I think tablet-based apps are better for cats then desktop-based programs because tablets have hard screens. Come, on. The surface is made of glass. Cats can't scratch glass! And how could a cat bite a flat surface? If they did, and biting the screen DID hurt them, then they should know, "uh-oh, I better not bite the screen or my teeth will hurt." I have eight cats at home, and I love them to death, but I would rather actually REALLY play with them, not just say,"Okay cat, have fun. I'm going to go play on my iPhone." I mean, sure, if you're busy doing homework then I understand. But if you have free time, you
    need to go love your cat.

  • Coppermark
    1/12/2015 - 02:25 p.m.

    Tablets are better. Due to touch screens, cats can paw the screen. It's structure is much better. Unlike a desk top, you can lay it out on the floor. It's safe too. Instead of a cat catching a real mouse and risking getting sick or diseased, it can play safe. In conclusion, I think tablets are good for cats.

  • kaidenfoly2015
    1/12/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    Tablet based apps are better for cats because then cats get more exercise with movement. The tablet based apps also let your cat move more freely than desktop based programs.

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