Visual stimulation is important to your cat. Cats love to watch the world around them, their little heads tilting and turning as they take in their surroundings, but do cats like watching cat videos on youtube, or the tv?
Cats respond to moving images on screens which leads scientists to believe that cats enjoy the visual stimulation provided. Videos representing the natural world keep a cat’s instincts sharp. Studies show that cats watching videos actually improves a cat’s well being.
When your cat is not sleeping on your favourite pillow or meowing for some food you will probably find them sitting on the window sill watching the birds outside. Without visual enrichment they would go a bit stir crazy.
An experiment once demonstrated that a cat confined to a room without a window, but with a tv playing videos of natural cat prey animals, showed signs of improved wellbeing. So what does your cat want to binge watch on video? Read on to find out.
Why Cats Love Videos That Are Made For Cats
Your cat has amazing vision and is very sensitive to movement which is why they can get transfixed by the changing movement and colours on a screen. Although they don’t see the TV the same as we do in as much technicolour, they still like the movement which catches their attention.
Cats have a hunting instinct so they may be drawn to the digital images especially if they look like prey, ie birds, mice and other creatures they may chase and eat in the wild.
The more prey driven your cat is, the more likely they are to be entertained by watching videos made for cats as they are attracted to the quick movements across the screen.
Watching videos on a TV can actually be beneficial to a cat even if you think they are not paying attention to it. Programmes featuring birds, fish or mice can keep a lonely or bored indoor cat mentally sharp and enriched.
What Can Cats Actually See When They Watch a Video?
If your cat is watching a video on a TV then they, like a dog, will see a series of stills. This is because the refresh rate of your TV screen is too low for your cats to see the picture like a human. We need 24 frames per minute for motion to look smooth, your cat would need 100. Your cat’s eyes are designed to detect movement so any flickering image is likely to attract their attention initially. But do they know what they are looking at?
Studies have indicated that your cat can recognise the shapes, patterns and textures of prey animals on a screen.
How do you know if your cat loves what they are watching?
Take a look at your cats body language to tell if they are enjoying the video, or if they are being stressed out by it. Your cat should have their eyes open with narrow pupils and ears and whiskers pointing forward. They will be intently watching the movement and their head following the action. This means they are likely to be enjoying the show.
However, if their pupils are huge and their ears flatter towards their head they may not be quite so happy and you should change the video and make sure they have a way of getting out of the room away from the TV, or just put your iPad down.
Is it Bad for Your Cat to Watch Videos?
Watching videos is fine for your cat. Their eyesight will not be damaged from too much screen time, no matter how close your cat is to the screen. However, cats have three times the light receptors in their eyes so you’ll want to turn down the brightness on the screens for them so they don’t get retina burn!
There is a danger if they are watching a wall mounted TV and try to pounce on it and either knock it off, or fall awkwardly and injure themselves. Although we all know cats always magically land on their feet.
Videos can’t be the only form of visual enrichment you provide for your cat either as this will lead to frustration if your cat is trying to ‘capture’ the prey on the screen. So make sure they have plenty of other visual stimulation and enrichment.7 Videos Your Cat Will Love To Watch ( No 3 is our Favourite) Click To Tweet
Our 7 Top Picks for The Best Cat Videos, Games and TV Channels to Entertain Your Cat
What videos can your cat watch? Well, there are plenty of nature programmes you can tune into on Netflix, Amazon and iPlayer. Anything that features a prey animal that might appeal to your cat is usually a good call (and who can resist David Attenborough).
Youtube, as you can imagine, is a brilliant resource for entertaining content to stream for your cat’s delight. There are whole channels devoted to Cat TV! Here’s our top picks for your kitty’s entertainment.
1. The Epic Forest Bird Table ( 8 hours)
This is great to have playing on your TV anyway. A small pile of bird seed on a tree stump attracts all sorts of birds including a spotted woodpecker to come and feed. Top quality filming and all natural sounds to bring the forest into your home. For one viewer this helped them keep their cat out of mischief whilst they were decorating!
2. The cat’s eye view ( 18 mins)
This great video is a compilation of different birds shot from a cat’s eye view. Great footage that you will enjoy watching, even if your cat doesn’t!
3. Birds and Squirrels (8 hours)
Just when you think it doesn’t get any better here’s another scintillating 8 hours of birds and squirrels.
4. Mice in the Jerry Mouse Hole ( 8 hours)
Well I couldn’t stop watching this cute little mouse as he and his friends nip in and out for a nibble on the nuts from Cat TV on Youtube.
My cat: Stop watching youtube all day!
Me: Shows them this video
My cat: Transfixed with big eyes looking at screen
5. Squirrel Peek a Boo
And whilst were on the subject of squirrels, this adorable video of squirrels peeking in and out of a tree is a good one. I love the clip where the squirrel goes for a little drink in the stream.
6. Top 3 Cat Video Games For Your Cat to Play on your Phone or Tablet.
Don’t forget your screen protector and to hold on tight to your device for these:
Catch the Mouse Game
Cat Fishing Game
10 in 1 cat games ( changes every minute)
7. TV channel for Cats
Pluto TV has a Cat 24/7 channel dedicated to entertaining your cats every day. It’s free to watch and available online. Be warned, it’s a bit addictive to humans too!
So, Watching Cat Videos Is Good Visual Enrichment for Your Cat
Popping the television on and hitting play on your youtube list may seem a bit weird, but your cat will love it. Ideal for indoor cats or entertainment on a rainy day, videos can provide some much needed visual stimulation. Don’t let them watch too much tv! Remember that your cat will need other enrichment too, like a high shelf to view the world, a bed near a window and toys to play with. Cats prefer real life so let them out and let cats be cats.