Here’s the plan: put in a video–VHS or DVD–and leave it running while you go off to work. Supposedly, your cat will gravitate to the television, turning into a couch meatloaf as he or she watches the “show.”
But does this actually work?
Nita Heerk decided to put this cat-sitting concept to the test by showing The Original Kitty Show Video Toy for Cats to her cats, Bob and Aurora. This VHS production included shots of insects—moths, cicadas, crawling bugs—fluttering and scampering across the screen. The background varied from white to light-gray to black to simulate time of day (insects in the “night” scenes were backlit). The entire video was accompanied by an outdoorsy soundtrack, bird calls included. The last minute or so of the tape was a scene of birds flapping in trees.
Here is Nita’s report:
Aurora, my oldest, noticed the show first and was quite focused. However, she was easily distracted by sounds and sights from the actual outdoors. Bob, my youngest, was initially far more interested in the video recorder than in the action on the screen; however, after dinner, he become enamored of the day-time scene and watched for over five minutes. He began watching the moths and returned to eye the crickets and spiders. After about seven minutes, he wandered off.
Both cats were aware of the soundtrack while the video played; their ears perked up. However, the sounds seemed to bother as much as attract them. After about thirty minutes, both cats left the room.
The show did not distract either cat from dinner. The show also didn’t distract Bob from his favorite toy de jour: a long, golden ribbon.
I was impressed that the cats focused on the show as much as they did! However, it couldn’t beat real birds outside the window or even Bob’s collection of twist-ties.
Every cat is different! If you would like to give television-for-cats a try (and would prefer a DVD to a VHS), here are some possibilities: Purrfect DVD, DVD for Cats: While You’re Gone, and Cat Sitter DVD.