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It's All Downhill From Here: The Snapcat App Lets Your Kitty Take Selfies

A free Android app allows cats to take self-portraits. Will the world ever be the same?

 |  Jun 28th 2013  |   2 Contributions


Admit it: You’ve taken oodles of selfies, probably in your bathroom (yes, we can see your toilet and your cat’s litter box as well as your duckface expression) and using the infamous “Facebook Angle” -- you know the one: phone or camera above your head, eyes staring toward the sky -- to make yourself look as skinny as possible.

Now cats can get into the selfies scene, too, thanks to a new free Android app called Snapcat. In the name of science, and silliness, my cats and I tried it.

Wide-eyed Bella

How does it work? When you start the app, a red dot starts moving randomly around your device’s screen, which is supposed to capture your cat’s attention. Every time your cat touches the red dot, the front-facing camera on your device takes a photo.

How did the Paws and Effect gang like it?

I put my phone on the floor in front of Siouxsie, and she batted at the moving dot a couple of times, capturing one rather impressive self-portrait.

Siouxsie's selfie is quite artistic.

Then I tried it with Thomas. He just sat there as the red dot bounced around my phone's screen and looked at with a “You couldn’t pay me to care less than I do right now” expression.

Bella, on the other hand, went to town! I know she’s a diva, but I never imagined how excited she’d be to take pictures of herself.

Bella: Single black kitty, looking for snuggly times.

Actually, I'm not all that surprised. Bella’s just over a year old and she’s like a young teenage girl: at one moment all suave and sophisticated, and the next moment shrieking with childish glee. For Bella, the kitten in her means she must swat at anything that moves, so I think that was 99 percent of the app’s appeal.

Bella contemplates the meaning of the red dot.

Is that a Facebook angle I see there, Bella?

Bella, you goofball! How did you manage to be upside down and facing away from the camera and STILL get a selfie?

Snapcat is a little clunky, though: In order to stop the dot from moving around and see the photos your cat has taken, you need to press the volume button on your phone.

One big disadvantage of Snapcat is that it’s designed to link to a social network called EyeEm, and you can’t save photos after editing them with Snapcat’s rather impressive suite of tools unless you create an EyeEm account. But this is understandable once you learn that the app was developed in 24 hours during EyeEm’s Photo Hack Day 3 in Berlin.

A review of Snapcat posted on CNET is wrong in one crucial detail, though: The reviewer says, “The photos do not appear anywhere in your phone’s gallery.” Actually, they do, and here’s how to find them.

Step 1: Open your camera app and tap the gallery button in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Step 2: Scroll through your galleries until you find the Snapcat folder. Voila! Now you can select a photo and share ir to your social networks or upload to your Dropbox folder for later fun.

Once you access the raw photos, you can then share on Facebook or other social networks using one of Android’s installed file sharing tools. You can also access the Snapcat gallery through Instagram or other photo manipulation tools. If you have Dropbox installed, you can save the files to your Dropbox folder and manipulate them in a photo editing app like Photoshop or Pixelmator.

Do I recommend the Snapcat app? If you don’t mind either joining EyeEm or taking an extra step or two to find and play with your cat’s photo, rock it out! I’ve been enjoying it. If you’re not technically inclined enough to feel comfortable with the extra steps, hold off until the app evolves a bit.

You can download Snapcat from the Google Play store. Sorry, Mittens, there’s no iPhone version of Snapcat yet, so you won’t be able to include any photos in your texts.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.

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