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Wanted: Cats to play with bored humans

August 24, 2012|By Craig Nakano
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m94k61pd20120823142205/600 (adopt )

Those evil cats. As soon as we reported on a "virtual play room" at a Los Angeles animal shelter where human admirers could manipulate remote-controlled toys and watch kitties' reactions, the feline-obsessed began lining up like it was giveaway day at Pinkberry. At one point, the number of people waiting for the virtual play room topped 70, and the queue for a two-minute turn stretched to nearly three hours.

“This just goes to show I shouldn’t read The Times at work,” one person wrote on the play room’s chat board. “It’s been 48 minutes and I’m still here.”

Wrote another: “I am going to get fired.”

As our story last week reported, the iPet Companion Web page for the Los Angeles Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center has screen buttons to manipulate three cat toys in real time. As mechanical arms dangle and swing toys, a remote camera in the room can pan or zoom to follow the action.

How have the cats reacted to all this new-found human devotion? Like cats.

For every person who successfully played with the shelter animals and posted comments such as "Way to go L.A. Times for covering this -- no work getting done today" and "I can rest happy now -- the Internet officially rules," there were those who greeted it with classic cat indifference.

"I think a kitty just humiliated me," one visitor to the site wrote. "I waited two hours and got nothing."

Our favorite comment: "Just like kids: Hundreds of dollars of tech, and they prefer the balls on the floor. LOL."

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