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A Petlover's Guide to Videogames

Spend some quality time with your fuzzy friend this holday season by...gaming?

Александар Цветановић from Pexels


It’s no secret that we love our pets! Whether you’re a cat-person, dog-person, or anything in-between, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our furry companions. I myself recently adopted two cats who are currently making every possible attempt to walk across my keyboard as I write this. Though I haven’t had them for long, they’ve already made themselves quite comfortable in my house, promptly taking over the living room and basement as their own territory. Now, when I watch television in the evenings, they sit and eagerly watch alongside me. It was through this that I first started to notice their keen interest in movies. Enthralled by the movement on the screen, flipping through my Netflix seemed to fascinate to them.


But the real question was- if they were so interested in humans on the TV screen, what would they think of other animals? Putting on a bird video from Youtube, my cats were instantly hooked, jumping around excitedly and pawing at the screen, I knew I had just found their new favourite show. Once the video ended they instantly demanded more, and I was led down a rabbit hole of subsequent critter videos until I ultimately ended up on a channel called CAT GAMES.


CAT GAMES, as the name implies, is a channel filled with fun videos just for cats. More complex than simply showing animal footage, they actually come in wide variety of forms: from "hide and seek" games, to "hunting" games, to "fishing" games, the videos on this channel are designed to mimic movements that specifically pique a cat's attention to engage them. If a cat gets bored of chasing any one animal, there's a wide array of other critters to chase instead - with options to hunt birds, mice, fish, squirrels, bugs, lizards, and many more, there were hundreds of videos to choose from, well and truly adapting the videogame experience for cats.


CAT GAMES: Forrest Hamster


Upon further research I’ve since come across more animal game channels; TV Bini, Best Cat Games and Carumela being some of the most prominent for cats, and Paul Dinning appealing to both cats and dogs. Some channels are relatively new, while others are as old as 6 years, though it’s the more recent videos on these channels that appear to have really started gaining traction; with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of views per video, and the most popular having a whopping 45 million views! Though it may at first seem a ridiculous notion to consider animals a notable demographic in media production, perhaps less ridiculous is to consider their owners; approximately 57% of Canadians and 67% of Americans own pets- and as any good pet owner knows, we would do anything to make our fuzzy friends happy!


These game channels are not the only media designed for animals- Youtube is full of theraputic pet videos as well: there are videos to calm them down, help them sleep, relieve anxiety, prevent boredom, and more! I was even able to find a “movie” for my cats: an hour-long feature following a family of meerkats (they watched the whole thing)! Such videos exist for a vast number of animals, not just cats and dogs!


Photo by Sereja Ris on Unsplash


Could this emerging genre of media for animals be taken even further in the future? Appealing to more animals and aiding them in more ways? As technology continues to grow and evolve, stranger things have certainly happened. Though animial-targeted media is still a relatively unexplored topic, it certainly boasts an interesting potential for the future, one that everyone with a fuzzy friend should keep an eye out for!


In this world of ever-expanding media, there really does appear to be something for everyone out there!


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Facts about Pet Ownership in Canada. PetBacker Blog, 1 Jan. 1967, www.petbacker.com/blog/facts/facts-about-pet-ownership-in-canada.


Facts + Statistics: Pet Statistics. III, www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-pet-statistics.