Cat TV, good or bad for your furry housemate?

A recent discovery in Republic HQ is that of cat television and entertainment.

With many of us working from home and staring at a screen for the best part of 8 hours a day, we turned to options that could keep our kittens entertained, especially those that are of the indoor persuasion. Many city dwellers don’t have the luxury of a garden or even access to large windows for outside world observation, so we took to the internet and did our best googling to find some entertaining options for our felines.

With endless streaming possibilities for the humans, we found plenty of pet options too. YouTube and Amazon Prime both offered up the goods for our four-legged friends, with dedicated channels to cat viewing, so it seems it’s not uncommon for people to turn to the television to keep their pets content. But what we really want to know is whether this is a positive or negative influence over our purring pals.

A study conducted in a shelter, found some cats that didn’t have access to a window for real life nature programming, actually saw huge benefits from watching cat tv, acting as a positive form of enrichment for those with no opportunity to explore the outside world. ‘The cats in the study were shown a variety of images, and the most popular programs depicted birds, rodents and fish — natural prey for felines.’ – Dr. Jillian Orlando, DVM, a veterinary behaviour resident at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. It’s been thought that those cats with a higher prey drive can become much more devoted fans of the telly box, the quick twitches of movement on their screens can lead to a sort of fixation and obsession you see in cats in the wild, observing their prey when on the hunt. 

TV can also provide stimulation for those cats that might just be a little more bored. The lazier house cats who love nothing more than to lounge, may see some great benefits from a little background viewing, and could even increase their energy levels and motivation to play and pounce.

And even better, we don’t need to worry about the television damaging their peepers, as there’s no risk for our floofs there. The only real worry is that if our cats become a little too engrossed in the latest plot of Planet Earth, it could be your HD plasma display that’s a little more at risk. Making sure your cat has toys available to interact with and isn’t just transfixed with the telly is super important, so they can channel those instincts into real life objects and keep your screen safe.

It seems as though Cat TV is most definitely a win, though just like a child, we don’t want our pets becoming hooked on the shiny colourful noise box for an unhealthy amount of hours. Some light entertainment whilst you may not be able to serve your small furbaby with 100% of your attention can be really beneficial for your cat’s mental enrichment. If you find yourself at a loose end and needing some visual stimulation for your cat, check out some of our top recommendations we’ve come across to get those eyes wide and tails twitching here:

Cat & Mouse – 8 hours of uninterrupted teeny mice

Calming bird watching for 8 hours solid

One for the aquatic lovers, an 8 hour fish frenzy

10 in 1 – Ever changing cat games

Catch the fish

A calming cat Spotify playlist

Netflix for Cats

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By Lois Roberts

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