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Amazon Prime comes with a ton of perks — and at the current price of $119 a year, it better come with a slew of benefits. But there’s a surprisingly good freebie for those of us who share our homes with cats.
Search your Prime Video for “cat tv,” scan the delights within and you’ll see what I mean.
The streaming service offers free videos that would keep any indoor cat glued to the screen. There are scenes shot at people’s bird feeders in the woods. “Movies for Cats – Forest Birds and Chipmunks” has exactly that. So do “Songbirds and Squirrels on a Tree” and “Baby Robin’s Day Out.” And then there’s my personal meta-favorite: “Movies for Cats – Gray Catbirds.”
Of course, you don’t have to have Prime to keep your feline friends engaged with entertaining video. Wildlife watcher Paul Dinning has an entire YouTube channel full of options for your cats, including some that are eight hours long — in case you wanted to stream something for your cats while you’re out at work:
Keeping indoor cats entertained is a chore but, for many of us, it’s a must if we want to have a happy, harmonious household. Just watch a few episodes of cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy’s Animal Planet show “My Cat From Hell” and you’ll see a trend: Bored cats who don’t get to follow through on the urge to hunt, catch and kill through play can cause trouble.
On his blog, Galaxy lists cat TV among his tips for “catifying” your home for harmony, as it provides “passive engagement” that can help keep feline minds occupied. The cat TV he’s referencing, of course, is not literally on the TV. Rather, he’s referring to the things cats can see from the window, like “a bird in a birdbath, bees visiting flowers, squirrels at a feeder.”
“Make the window a destination location with a cat tree, perch, or cat bed that invites your cat to sit and binge-watch Cat TV to his heart’s content,” he writes.
But we suppose Amazon’s cat TV is a more literal version of what Galaxy recommends.
I have two cats, and they love watching the neighborhood birds. My feisty girl cat perches on my desk to watch the flocks of small birds that pepper the trees near the bird feeder outside my office window.
But since I have both Prime and cats, I decided to test Amazon’s cat TV options. When I turned on “Forest Birds and Chipmunks,” my boy cat was instantly immersed in the wooded creatures on screen, where the chipmunk and birds were as big as my kitties.
We ran into a snag, though. My girl cat had been snoozing comfortably by the fire on this chilly morning. But when roused by cat TV, she transformed from a sweet, snuggly kitty into the born killer she is. She wanted the chipmunk on the screen. She wanted the bird, and then the next bird. Her heart was consumed with murder.
As entertainment, this was definitely working. Perhaps too well.
Some raucous blue jays appeared on the screen. Her whiskers and ears tilted forward, her pupils darkened and her focus cranked to 110%. She would hunt and catch and kill every single one of them.
She lifted a paw, her butt rose to a hover and I realized she was calculating the distance from the coffee table to the birds on the television screen, winding up for what would be a disastrous attack that could knock the TV right off its stand. I lunged for the remote, freezing the birds on-screen. Confused, she paused, and I hit the TV’s off switch in time to avert disaster.
Both cats circled below, trying to figure out where the birds had gone. Were they hiding? Could they still hunt one?
No wonder Amazon’s own Fire TV blog post about cat television says, “careful if your TV isn’t mounted strongly.” Uh, yeah.
Prime’s cat TV isn’t going to work at our house. Instead, we’ll be sticking with birdwatching out the window. But let us know if you try it at yours.
Meanwhile, if you want more tips from Galaxy about happy homes with kitties, you might want to pick up a copy of his latest book, “Total Cat Mojo,” which is in paperback at Amazon for $12.79.
[h/t: Apartment Therapy]