Cat play and toys incorporates predatory games of “play aggression”. Cats’ behaviors when playing are those similar to hunting behavior. These activities allow kittens and younger cats to grow and acquire cognitive and motor skills, and to socialize with other cats. Cat play behavior can be either solitary (with toys or other objects) or social (with animals and people). >>>source

using both arduino/makey makey and processing to create a toy that a person and a cat (in this case, my cat, sheep- shown above) can play with.

earlier attempt at making a cat toy (done for pcomp class):

things to take into consideration:

1. durability / cat-proof-ness
2. appeal / cat’s short attention span considerations
3. relationship between cat and person during play / creating a bond?
4. creating seamless interaction between person and cat during play

what i thought of initially was to create a system of moving lights set in a grid-like pattern. the cat will use their paws to try to touch these lights. depending on the position of their paws, active lights will change their position. this is more self-contained play. i wanted a person to be involved as well through the use of simple game mechanics and applying it to something made in processing. the simplest game mechanic that came to mind was point and click. this will create some sort of relationship between cat and person but the interactivity seemed too linear.

the cat’s paw position/arduino will communicate with processing and vice versa to create a relay with one another. cat’s play affect’s person’s play / person’s play affect’s cat’s play.

one of my biggest concerns stem from the fact that cats have short attention spans and are distracted easily. the minimum goal is to get a couple of seconds of play going between person and cat.

[cursory] research (will add on more):

>>> 5 tips for making video games your cat wants to play
>>> http://www.cattv.com/ (haven’t tested this with my cat yet…)

future applications

as a person who is involved with animal rescue, it would great for this project to go through successfully and be used as a tool to help socialize rescued cats with people. … but this is a thought for the future.

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