Cat TV

There is a strange and unexplained phenomenon on the Internet — the popularity of cat images and videos. Cats sleeping in bowls, cats playing the piano, cats yodeling, cats sleeping on top of dogs, cats climbing curtains, fat cats looking like bored feline Confucians about to reveal the secret of life. However you grade it, cats rule the online world.

Given all that, the popularity of the new, interactive Web connection showing the cage-free cat room at the Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles should be no surprise, but even I was surprised that the L.A. Times did a feature on the cool, new gizmo that allows Web viewers to not only watch the cats but manipulate toys for the kitties remotely from home or from a cubicle at the office via the Web.

Webcams have been a staple of progressive shelter marketing plans for a long time, but iPet Companion, the owner of the technology that allows for remote camera panning and zooming, as well as the manipulation of interactive cat toys, has raised the bar considerably and done a tangible service for shelter cats.

The idea was introduced to us by our friends at the Kong company, the rescue-friendly manufacturers of the trusty Kong for dogs, as well as other toys for cats and dogs. Kong has partnered with iPet Companion and installed the virtual cat playroom in five shelters around the country, including the Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The arrangement not only allows cat lovers the opportunity to play with shelter kitties from home, it also constitutes a form of virtual volunteerism that enriches the cats’ lives and helps them show off their charms to potential adopters.

The Best Friends installation went live last week, and action and adoptions are up. It’s too early to tell if it’s a fad or a trend, but reports from other locations that have had the iPet Companion system in place for a longer time point to adoption increases of 25 percent above the same time last year and over 65 percent compared to the month prior to installation. Pretty cool.

So, given that you probably have nothing better to do or you wouldn’t be reading this blog, I suggest that we cut to the chase and get you right over to the kitty room at Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles. Check out the iPet Companion link on, and start playing with some cute kitties.

Spread the word, and let’s get these cats adopted!

Francis Battista