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If your cat watches tv, this post is just the one for you!

My one-year-old cat has discovered the TV. She loves watching YouTube videos for cats and seems captivated by what she sees. In fact, she already has her favourites in a playlist on YouTube. I have decided to limit her screen time to an average of ten minutes, twice a day. Not because it is bad for her, but because like anything else in our pet’s lives, moderation is key. She asks to watch TV more often when the days are wet and cold and she can’t go outside to play.

That said, if you ever noticed your cat staring at the TV screen, you may have wondered what it is they actually see. After all, they might seem to be watching the screen, but do they really pay attention to what’s going on?

Can cats watch TV?

Yes, cats can watch TV but process images differently than humans. TV images are tougher for cats to see because they process at a rate of 70 – 80 Hz; faster than what TVs show. Even so, many cats are capable of watching television and do so. Some studies have indicated that cats are able to identify imagery on TV. However, we do not know with certainty what they perceive the images to be. While cats are intelligent, they lack the cognitive capacity to translate visuals and sounds into more complex concepts. Either way, we know that colour and movement on the screen delight cats.

Identifying images

My cat has preferences for what she watches. She particularly pays more attention to cockroaches, lizards and birds, but is not much interested in fish and squirrels. It seems that certain shapes and sounds, maybe the more familiar ones, are more likely to stimulate a response from her.

Is it bad for your cat to watch TV?

The short answer is – No. It’s really not bad for your cat to watch TV. Some experts think that viewing TV could be adequate enrichment for a bored cat. However, you may want to limit the amount of television they watch and the distance from the screen. TV is just another source of stimulus for your cat, but should only be one of the many activities to occupy their time.

If your cat is interested in the TV, go ahead and let them show that interest. You can even leave the TV on when you’re away to keep them distracted and entertained. But make sure that the cat does not lunge at the screen and that the TV can’t fall over or be damaged.

Not all cats like to watch TV, though

While all cats love to gaze out a window at real-life birds and animals, only some cats enjoy watching television. It is thought that cats that are more active hunters may show more interest in the TV than others.

Final thoughts

Cats are curious creatures who respond quickly to visual stimuli and unusual noises. Cats require mental stimulation, which can indeed be provided by television. Watching TV is a fun way to kill time if your cat is bored until something more exciting happens.

References: FAQ Cats, nd, Can Cats Watch TV – The Fascinating Answer, Accessed 20 June 2022, <>

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