"Game for Cats" is an iPad app with a moving image (either a laser dot or a mouse) upon which all housecats are genetically obligated to pounce, repeatedly. It's almost unbearably adorable. But what about the less domesticated felines out there--lions, tigers, caracals, servals, and the housecat-sized Geoffroy's cat? Turns out they'll play with the app as well, even if their paws are iPad-sized to begin with.
This video, which features one of those ear-piercing songs that come built-in to those 15-key Casio electric pianos that can only play one note at a time, is the result of a collaboration between the app's developer and the Conservator's Center in North Carolina. The Conservator's Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving these animals as well as other non-feline animals like wolves, lemurs, binturongs, kinkajous, and deceptively cat-like genets. You can read more about the Conservator's Center here.
I had a cat that chased Navy once on a TV screen. (Legend of Zelda)
Our staff had such a good time showing the iPad to our cats! Grace Geoffroy's cat kept looking off the edge to see where the mouse was hiding. Arthur Tiger is so big his paw practically covered the the whole screen, but he kept smacking the mice. The spotted servals loved the squeeky noise the game made when they whacked the mice, and lions kept poking it with their noses and watching intently. Kudos to the amazing screen cover on the iPad that kept Arthur from leaving his permanent mark of approval on the screen. He gave it a "four claws in" rating. -- Mindy
Real sanctuaries don't breed. There are far too many big cats being exploited and abused and continued breeding only contributes to this problem. Check out www.BigCatRescue.org to learn more.
I don't recall saying we are a sanctuary. Our mission includes rescue work, but our biggest focus is education, so we can prevent problems before they occur and help protect these animals' cousins in the wild, where we would all like to see them flourish.
We do have more than 30 big cats, all of which were rescued, born to rescues who arrived pregnant, or in one case was placed here by a loving owner who could no longer afford to care for the cat properly. We are not big cat breeders, though I have no issue at all with qualified people who do breed them and provide lifelong loving homes for them. It is expensive to do so.
The cats in this video have varied backgrounds. Grace Geoffroy's cat is the first one you see, and she was brought here as part of our educational outreach program. We chose her in part because she comes from a healthy bloodline and was born at a responsible and gorgeous breeding facility known for the high quality of their care. We think she is amazing. Did you see how she tracked the mouse across the screen and tried to find where it might have gone when it disappeared off the edge?
Arthur Tiger, the white tiger who got so excited he tried to grab the iPad, was confiscated by authorities as a malnourished cub traveling for photo booth use and being very poorly cared for. He came to live with us because he was in such a terrible condition that the confiscating veterinarians wanted him placed with experts in the care of very ill animals. Once he was on a proper diet and getting plenty of exercise, he flourished. He has a marvelous Facebook page now.
Other big cats shown in the video came to us from confiscations by authorities for violations like not providing necessary veterinary care, housing incompatible animals together in small spaces, feeding spoiled food, not providing adequate water or shade, and other serious issues. Government agencies provide oversight and shut down bad facilities like these. Some of the cats shown were born to pregnant confiscated lions and tigers shortly after their arrival here in 2004. They have grown up big and healthy, and we love them, though going from housing 3 big cats to more than 30 in only 4 months was a serious strain on our budget. Their presence here means we have been able to take in fewer rescues in recent years, but we are working hard to keep the animals we have already committed to as happy and well tended as they deserve to be.
We believe that people who can meet these animals by standing only 6 feet away from them and being introduced by a keeper who can teach them to talk to the cats and understand their body language will be more likely to help care for their well-being and want protect these species in the wild. Educating people about these wonderful creatures should be a main goal for every good zoo, sanctuary or other facility.
Perhaps this video will help us communicate how perceptive and interesting these wild cats are, and show that they deserve everyone's support. We hope that if you are moved by seeing them here you will consider contributing to their care, or perhaps will find a good quality facility near you where you can volunteer. Everyone can make a difference.