Tag: tabby cat

Stray’s Feline Protagonist Is Picture Perfect

Determined to get inside an apartment, the ginger tabby leaps onto the ledge of an air conditioner unit, then onto the roof, where he drags a piece of debris to the edge, swipes it off and watches it shatter a skylight.

Boom. Kitty door created!

The scene isn’t part of a Youtube video or a documentary about smart cats, it’s a gameplay sequence from the upcoming Stray, a game in which the protagonist is a lost cat who’s been separated from his family and dropped into an eerie, near-future Hong Kong.

The overlap (or Reuleaux triangle) in a Venn diagram of gamers and cat-lovers is pretty sizable, and for that enthusiastic cross-section, there’s no game more highly anticipated than Stray.

Stray
Our hero gets his sustenance from bowls, needs to pause for a scratch every once in a while, and likes to rub against the legs of friendly characters he meets.

Previously we’d seen a short trailer and still screenshots, and now a video from the developers shows off more than four minutes of glorious game footage following the feline protagonist as he explores Hong Kong’s streets, back alleys and noodle shops.

The developers are clearly cat lovers: The kitty hero of Stray moves with the grace, energy and caution of a real domestic feline, and the game forces players to tackle obstacles and challenges the way a cat would. The protagonist cat gains access to a vent shaft, for example, by swiping a coffee mug into fan blades to get them to stop spinning. In another scene, the cat is startled, jumps a full pace back and lands on all fours in a way only cats can.

Everything from gait to reactions is perfectly cat-like. In the opening moments, our kitty hero is clearly injured, nursing one of his back legs as he hobbles down an alley. In a later scene he bats curiously at a drone the way a house cat would with a new toy.

There are no magic abilities or impossible inventories here: As the player, you can only do things a cat can do in real life, although you’re given a boost later on when a friendly character equips you with a harness on which B12, the above-mentioned drone, can dock. B12 can interact with man-made inventions, understand your cat’s intentions and facilitate rudimentary communication.

If, for example, your kitty character is dehydrated and stops to paw at a vending machine, B12 can send a signal to the machine, order it to dispense a beverage, then open it for the adventurous cat. B12 also helps your catagonist fight off enemies. By flashing a purple light at hostile machines, for example, the little drone can render them harmless and deactivate them.

Ultimately, though, the game designers want you to think in cat terms to make your way through the game world, and that means considering feline physiology when encountering obstacles, and feline psychology when trying to solve puzzles.

Stray
“A new toy?!” Stray’s hero cat is curious as he meets B-12 for the first time.

The project’s lead designers are both industry veterans who decided to strike out on their own by forming an independent studio after years of working for UbiSoft, the game industry giant known for game franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Watch_Dogs. Like those games, Stray gives players the opportunity to explore a highly detailed open world.

“Our goal is to create a unique experience playing as a cat. We are inspired everyday by Murtaugh and Riggs, our two cats,” creative director Viv said. “Most of the team are cat owners as well, giving us all a lot of helpful first-hand references. Cats are always so playful, cute and lovingly annoying that it’s an endless stream of gameplay ideas for us.”

Stray_gameplay

For the game’s atmosphere, the creators were inspired by Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, a former military fortress that became a slum in the days of British-ruled Hong Kong, with Chinese triad gangs serving as de facto authorities in the lawless zone. Today, the former Kowloon Walled City is a park.

“It is also a very unique point of view for an adventure game. Exploring the strange world we are building feels really fresh when you’re sneaking under a car, or walking the rooftops with the inhabitants below unaware of your presence. Or if you want them to be aware, you can just meow endlessly to annoy them.”

Stray was originally slated for a late 2021 release, but it’s looking more likely that we won’t see it until the first quarter of 2022. Given the recent history of highly anticipated and rushed projects like Cyberpunk 2077, few gamers would begrudge a development team taking its time and getting things right rather than going into a months-long crunch period to meet a holiday deadline. Good things come to those who wait, especially in the complex world of game development.

Today Is ‘Respect Your Cat Day’!

To: Buddy the Larger

From: Buddy the Smaller But Smarter and Better Looking

Memorandum on National Respect Your Cat Day

Dear Big Buddy,

As you know, Sunday (March 28) is National Respect Your Cat Day, a very important holiday!

Last year’s spread was subpar and underwhelming, so you find yourself in receipt of this message in an effort to avoid repeating the Great Tragedy of 2020.

This year’s spread should include a selection of cheeses including cheddar, swiss, provolone and my personal favorite, gouda, in addition to a delicious array of meats including turkey, turkey and more turkey.

You can skip the veggies: No plants except catnip and silver vine!

In the spirit of today’s holiday you must play with me more than usual, give me more massages, tell me I’m a good boy at least 20 times, and above all, respect my authoritah!

It’s gonna be an epic partay!

Buddy on catnip
Mmmmm, catnip!

Buddy on Catnip
Oh yeah! That’s good!

Buddy on catnip
“I think…I’m pretty sure I’m feeling it. Oh yeah! Break out the laser pointer and the snacks!”

2FCDCAEB-2EB1-427B-B340-D4003AB9D8AB
Buddy the Cat, a true hero.

Watch A Firefighter Use CPR To Revive A Cat

A firefighter in northern Italy used an improvised form of CPR to revive a cat who was trapped in a blaze last week.

A family in Montebello Vicentino — a rural town of rolling hills, vineyards and Roman ruins not far from Verona — noticed smoke coming out of their detached garage and called the local fire department.

Firefighters arrived within minutes and were able to bring the fire under control before it could destroy a car and a motorcycle parked inside, but when they went in to assess the damage they found the family’s tabby cat near death from smoke inhalation.

Cat Revived In Italy
A firefighter rescucitates a cat who was trapped inside a garage when it caught fire. Credit: Montebello Vicentino Fire Brigade via SkyNews

The cat had become entangled in wires in its desperation to escape the flames and had inhaled smoke. Kitty stopped breathing after a firefighter carried it to the garden outside, but thanks to the fireman’s quick thinking — applying a child-size oxygen mask to the cat’s face and performing an improvised form of CPR — the big tabby was revived, to the relief of the family.

We’re unable to embed the dramatic footage, but you can watch the 56-second clip here via SkyNews. (Obvious warning: The footage shows an animal in distress.)

The cause of the fire was likely electrical and wasn’t suspicious, according to Eco Vicentino, a local newspaper.

Cases involving animals revived with CPR aren’t especially common, but they do happen. Here’s a GoPro video of a firefighter in the US resuscitating a kitten who similarly suffered from smoke inhalation in a fire:

Top image credit Alpha Fire Company in Ferguson Township, PA, during a 2019 rescue of a cat trapped in a home during a fire.

Despite Snow and Danger, This Buddy Made His Way Home After 2 Weeks

Today we’re bringing you a story about another Buddy the Cat from New York, a well-loved domestic shorthair who went missing before a series of snowstorms walloped the New York City area.

This Buddy belongs to John Forestieri of Southold, NY, a town in Suffolk County, at the easternmost tip of Long Island. Forestieri brought the little guy to Fork Animal Hospital in Southold on Feb. 8 for surgery, but on the way out of the veterinary office something spooked Buddy and he bolted from his carrier.

Forestieri searched for his missing feline friend and enlisted the help of others. The veterinary office wasn’t far from his home at just more than two miles away, but a storm was bearing down on the area and Buddy would have to cross busy roads to make his way back.

“I walked for miles, for days and days and days,” Forestieri told local media. “Then the weather got nasty. I didn’t give up on him, but I did think, ‘I don’t think I can do anything for him now.'”

The New York area was already deep into winter weather after it was blanketed with more than a foot of snow on Feb. 2 in one of the worst winter storms in recent memory. A second snowstorm dumped another half foot of snow on the day Buddy went missing. To make matters worse, New York was caught in the deep chill that enveloped most of the country, knocked out power to millions and set new records for low temperatures.

“At first I was holding out hope that he’d be able to stay warm,” Forestieri said.

The Long Island man was beginning to think the worst when he was awoken by scratching outside his sliding door at 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Forestieri was overjoyed to see his Buddy. The cat, who’s been with the family for 10 years, was skinny and his epic trek had taken a toll on him, but he was otherwise okay. He cried out to Forestieri, and the Long Island man said he cried too — tears of joy at his cat’s safe return.

“I thought I was dreaming,” Forestieri said. “But he did it. He found his way home.”

Buddy In A Box!

A very special package came in the mail today:

Buddy: The Unboxing
FRAGILE: “Hmmm. Must be Italian.”

Amazon gave me free shipping on my brand new Buddy, which is supposed to be a vast improvement on the original first-generation Buddy. This Buddy is “more delightful than ever,” according to the marketing materials:

“The amazing Buddy 2.0 is 15 percent cuter, 0.003 percent more brave, and is better than ever at impressing your friends with his vast knowledge of poultry and useless trivia! Thanks to our patented Silky Smooth™ technology, your new Buddy’s fur will feel velvety and softer than ever when you pet him! IMPORTANT: Do not feed Temptations to your new Buddy. Doing so will void your product warranty.”

Buddy In A Box
This model must be plugged in 12 to 16 hours a day to recharge. Indicator lights (his eyes) will glow when fully charged.