Boy, have I opened up a box of worms. Unleashed a veritable Pandora’s Can. Gone down a hare hole.
My cat has discovered the internet. More to the point, Chicklet, our fluffy, rotund feline, has stumbled upon YouTube, if in fact cats can stumble. And even more particularly portentous, she’s discovered cat games on YouTube, and now she’s hooked.
In case you don’t have a cat, don’t like cats, or you happen to be a dog, you may not know what on earth these internet cat games are, of which I speak. Allow me to explain.
So if someone has a cat who is habitually sitting at a window staring out at the Mother Nature they can’t be a part of, or constantly watching lame shows on Netflix, it likely means that cat is bored. Either that, or just plain lazy. Or perhaps they’re cleverer than you are because, really, staring out the window or binging on Netflix isn’t the worst day I can think of.
Be that as it may, it’s still pretty obvious that the cat needs some sort of stimulation. Some kind of activity. A challenge. A bit of fun in their lives. And heaven forbid we cat owners have to get up from the couch to amuse our pets.
That’s why most cat people have cats and don’t have dogs. Who wants to dig out a leash and head out into the unpredictably uncomfortable outdoors on a regular basis?
If humans were meant to walk around the block every day, cats wouldn’t have been invented. Cats don’t do leashes. At least the feline ones don’t.
Throwing a tin foil ball at the cat is work enough for a human who already clothes and feeds it, right? If the cat is in a rare acceptable mood, this will keep him or her busy for at least five to 10 seconds.
And then it’s time for another nap. For you, not the cat. And that’s when the cat shreds the leather couch under the pretense of sharpening its claws.
Hence: Cat games.
Cat games is the general term for videos that are supposed to amuse, stimulate and/or keep a cat’s attention for longer than five to 10 seconds. These are created by various people with obviously no life and they feature two hours of a brightly coloured screen with, say, a picture of a mouse skittering by, back and forth, making little mouse sounds.
Our cat now incessantly jumps up on my desk when I’m working, sits directly on my keyboard and sticks her furry face in front of my computer screen.
This is her way of telling me (telling, not asking) that it’s time for cat games. Luckily, I use two screens on my desk so that I can (sort of) keep working on one whilst she is playing on the other.
Chicklet has now viewed and reviewed several dozens of these videos, some featuring animated fish swimming by, actual birds and squirrels chowing down on seeds, and cartoon worms squiggling seductively.
Her favourite, however, is a video with dancing string. The first time I played it for her, when that piece of digital string started dangling on the screen two millimetres from her quivering nose, it unleashed her innermost primal feline ferocity.
She lashed out at the screen with paws and jaws, attempting to murder the living daylights out of that string, biting into the thin air, claws scrabbling the screen, very nearly toppling my expensive monitor over onto the floor.
So she’s banned from cat games on my desk. But now she’s bugging me for her own iPad for Christmas. That’s a cat for you.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.