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4 Ways to Help Your Cat When She’s Home Alone. Or Not?

“Playing regularly with a cat easily satisfies her stalking instinct, keeps her stimulated, and provides the exercise she needs to stay healthy and happy,” says the Humane Society. But, is it helpful to play with your cat when you aren’t with her?

Apparently, over 1,700 Kittyo backers think so. Kittyo, a device designed to remotely interact with your cat, launched on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $30,000. With 23 days to go, they’ve already raised close to $200,000. Kittyo’s tagline is “Playtime. Anytime.” While it looks like an elegant coffee maker, it does so much more. But, is it all good for your cat?

Here are some of the Kittyo features that early adapters are finding attractive:

  • Video camera helps you spy on your cat while you are away
  • Audio camera lets you speak to your cat while you are away
  • Laser light lets you remotely move a laser light for your cat to chase (using an app on your smart phone)
  • Cat treat dispenser (activated via your mobile app)

I’m not the only one who is concerned that Kittyo will cause sensory confusion in cats. Cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett writes on CatBehaviorAssociates.com, “Laser lights cause lots of frustration. If you really take time to understand how cats hunt and how they use ALL of their senses, you’ll come to realize that chasing a red beam of light without ever having the satisfaction of capturing it isn’t a lot of fun.”

Cat Behaviorist and author Marilyn Krieger wrote in Catster, “Cats seem to go crazy pointlessly chasing the elusive beam of light. Laser pointers and laser toys can frustrate cats, overstimulate them, and, in some cases, cause them to act aggressively toward playmates.”

While the Kittyo treat dispenser may be advantageous, and the video camera allowing you to spy on your cat could be interesting, I’d stay away from the other features that may cause sensory confusion. Instead, take the time to play with your cat when you are home. The playtime will be advantageous to both of you.

What’s your opinion? Is Kittyo a device you would want for your cat?

Related:
3 DIY Products That Think Beyond the Litter Box
4 Ways to Show Your Cat Some Love

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

138 comments

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7:46AM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

My kitty loves to play with small pieces of balled up paper. Sometimes I wonder about her, going to get it and bringing it back without me saying anything. She's funny.

No, this would not be a purchase I would make. Thanks for sharing though.

4:21PM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

Expensive toys and commercial...

1:22AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

I'm home with my fur babies most of the time, so they get to play with me, or each other - tag and chase are their favorite games!!

6:17PM PDT on May 24, 2014

The late and great showman and singer Freddie Mercury owned and loved cats. When he was away on tour, he would call his home and have his feline carers put the cats on the phone so they could hear his voice - and he could tell them he missed them - what a honey of a man!

4:22AM PDT on May 22, 2014

Barbara I., my cat, also, has that toy bird, but I do not think that she plays with it. I also tried the laser, but sadly, did not fool her a bit. I remember trying it and her just looking at me and the thing in my hand with a look on her face, like she's thinking--"I am mature cat-Not a young, stupid kitten. Do you really expect to fool me this easily????"

10:42AM PDT on May 18, 2014

My cats loves a small bird that chirps when she bats at it. She will play with it for hours. I never thought about the laser beam frustrating my cat but I only do it for a few minutes.

9:25AM PDT on May 17, 2014

I 100% agree that a laser light is extremely frustrating & can be downright cruel to use as a "toy" for your cat, it goes against the intrinsic nature of a cat's need to hunt & CAPTURE!. People think it's so funny, but like you mentioned in the article, if they are overstimulated they can become aggressive, say...after laser play they are worked up (overstimulated...& then you go to.pet your cat & he then wails on your hand w/ all four paws & nails...then what!? Will that person now deem their cat(s) crazy & dump em on the streets? I have seen it ALL! as a cat rescuer!. Also, does the "average person" know how much is too long of laser play?... you can overdrive your cat into cardiac & resperitory exhaustion. How about instead, this gadget allow you to remote control (from your phone) a furry mouse that you can steer all over the place, this way allowing your cats to perform her/his normal behavior of stalk, hunt, kill. It will be a lot let frustrating & therefore better for cat & guardian.

6:36PM PDT on May 15, 2014

Not this girl! My kids play with paper bags ,and as far as lasers go, they know where the light comes from and eat the pen!!

11:10AM PDT on May 15, 2014

I know we all feel guilty when we leave our fur babies home alone, especially since indoor cats really weren't meant to just sit and stare 24-7, but this seems like a silly contrivance. You can set up a web-cam if you want to watch what's going on. Imagine how your cat feels hearing your voice floating out of nowhere, and I've seen laser beams totally frustrate kittens when there's nothing to finally really pounce upon.

9:43AM PDT on May 14, 2014

I have platforms in front of many windows so that my fur babies can watch 'cat tv'.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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