It turns out you can teach an old cat new technology.
Felines in the care of the Regina Humane Society in Saskatchewan, Canada, now enjoy playing interactive games on iPads — usually games that feature moving fish, mice or insects that the cats try to “catch” with their paws.
“Cats love to hunt and stalk things, and what these programs do is they give the cats the opportunity to do that on the iPads,” the humane society’s executive director, Lisa Koch, told the CBC.
The humane society started experimenting with the cat-oriented iPad games ― which he said they simply downloaded from the iTunes store ― in the fall. Shelter spokesman Bill Thorn said they incorporated the games as a formal part of the volunteer program in late 2016.
“It is geared toward our younger volunteers (as young as 12 years) as the technology aspect appeals to them,” Thorn told The Huffington Post in an email.
Thorn noted that the cats have other toys to play with, as well — including items hand made by volunteers — and the iPads are just one method the shelter uses to keep the cats happy and calm.
The most surprising thing about introducing the iPads, Thorn said, was how good the cats seem to be at sharing.
“We usually use the iPads in our communal areas where there are multiple cats roaming freely in one room,” he said. “They will gather around it and almost take turns playing with it by chasing the images on the screen. Often, this eventually leads to them playing with each other, which is a nice bonus in that they are not only playing the game, but increasing their socialization with each other too!”
While Thorn said he’d recommend people try out iPad games with their own cats at home, they’re not for every feline. Some cats at the shelter, he said, were unimpressed.
“The key is to provide toys and activities that your pet likes and engages in – that could be an iPad or a simple ball or other toy,” he said.