lazy grey cat lying on couch with TV remote

Cat TV: Should Your Cat Be Watching?

Cat TV videos and channels might sound a bit…well…niche. But they’re popping up all over YouTube and other streaming services. Basically, cats have their own Netflix nowadays, whether rightly or wrongly.

And why not? Before TV and streaming was a big thing, cats used to hang out in trees or by windows to watch the world go by. And so did kids! But with screen time becoming more commonplace, especially thanks to pandemic restrictions, cats are moving with the times.  

So whether your cat is an avid watcher of nature documentaries with you on Sunday nights or prefers a good old action movie, here’s what you need to know about cat TV.

What TVs do cats like?

We’re not suggesting you take your cat along to browse for your next TV, but cats do actually have screen preferences. And of course, it’s the newer ones they like best. Obviously.

Cat parents will be nodding along knowing their cats like the best of everything, but there’s a reason behind their preference. Newer TVs have a higher refresh rate, which means that images change faster. Cats prefer this because it’s closer to real life.

So splurge on that brand new TV. Just tell yourself (or your partner) it’s for the cat.

Favourite cat TV shows

Your cat might cuddle up to you and endure your Saturday series binge, but they wouldn’t watch them by choice. Nope, they’re just humouring you. In fact, studies show cats have their own favourite TV shows.

Unsurprisingly, the shows cats like best tend to be nature-related. But not of the big cat or polar bear variety. They enjoy TV featuring small animals like fish, birds, and rodents. Basically, if cat TV stimulates their prey drive, they love it. Regardless of whether they’re good hunters or not.

It’s kind of like how we love watching those fancy criminal lawyer shows even if we’ve never read a law textbook. Or how we critique Susan’s souffle on Masterchef despite burning this morning’s omelette.

If you’re lucky, and you particularly enjoy nature documentaries, you and your cat might have some shared favourites when it comes to TV time. But if you’re not really into the whole nature thing, don’t worry – your cat will continue to watch your television with you just for the sake of bonding time. They do make some compromises, after all.

Here’s a video of a cat watching TV, just for the cuteness factor:

Is TV good for cats?

Is cat TV kind of like kid TV? In the sense that it’s useful for distracting them but probably shouldn’t be used all day?

Cat TV can be entertaining for your kitty, that’s a given. If they’re indoor cats, they’re more likely to enjoy TV as they don’t get natural stimulation from hunting and so on. If they love the TV, you should consider getting them a cat bed near a window so they can see the great outdoors too. And smell it, as well.

This will help keep their other senses firing. Unsurprisingly, cats love the smell of trees and all kinds of nature-related elements. Read about more scents cats like.

Outdoor cats get greater stimulation, but might be a hazard to local wildlife. So if you live in an area with lots of birds, fish, insects and so on, you may want to use cat TV as an alternative to hunting.

It’s also useful if your cat is sick or injured and needs some time to recuperate. Often, this requires extended periods of time in small spaces or lying still. Crate rest is no fun for cats, but it is sometimes necessary. Watching cat TV can keep them occupied for some time, giving both humans and cats some relief.

TV isn’t damaging for cats’ eyes, so there are no concerns there. The biggest danger is probably them damaging your laptop or TV. Or vice versa. Sometimes they get so engrossed they start tapping and swatting the screen. So make sure you’ve backed up your work and any screen is securely mounted if you’re treating your cat to some TV time.

Free cat TV shows

If your cat likes TV, check out these free shows you can put on for them:

woman on beanbag watching TV with black cat

Cat insurance for a soft landing

The sofa isn’t the only soft landing you can give your cat. Cat insurance makes health care more affordable so you have a safety net in place for when they use up one of their nine lives. You know, while they’re imitating James Bond after movie night and make an error of judgement.

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