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Do Cats Really Like Television?

One of my kitties cannot be bothered with the boob tube, but the other is straight-up obsessed.

Heather Marcoux  |  Apr 14th 2015


When people say they don’t own a television, I am kind of incredulous. I mean, I can understand cutting the cable and just getting your Netflix on, but I don’t think my household would survive if we got rid of the glowing screen itself. I’m pretty sure my husband and my Ghost Cat would both go into withdrawals.


These beautiful eyes are quite often glued to the television.

Ghosty is definitely a kitty couch potato. She doesn’t just curl up on our laps when the TV is on — she actively watches it. Her beautiful blue eyes get fixed on the screen and she’s immersed in the action. If Ghost Cat were my only cat I would probably believe that all felines like a little TV time, but my younger cat, Specter, proves that isn’t the case at all.

Speck would not give two scoops of cat litter if we got rid of the TV. Her life would not change one bit. Unlike Ghost Cat (who goes into a bit of a TV trance when she’s watching Animal Planet with her dad) Specter prefers to entertain herself. This may mean she’s up on the cat tree swatting at her toys while the rest of the family is watching The Walking Dead, or it may mean she runs back and forth along the back of the couch, periodically jumping down onto us with her claws out. She’s a kitten who knows how to make her own fun.

I don’t know why Ghost Cat is so much more interested in television than Specter is. Maybe it’s because we watched a lot of TV back when we first adopted Ghost Cat, and she just got used to it. Back then, TV was a huge part of my life. It was actually my job. I was working as a morning news anchor when we adopted Ghosty, and my husband used to watch my show in the morning, so maybe Ghost Cat got used to hearing the sound of my familiar voice coming from the TV, and that’s why she started to like it so much. Or maybe I’m giving myself way too much credit here and she just likes bright colors and fast moving action.


Ghosty even came to the studio once and later watched herself on the PVR.

It is true that fast-paced shows do seem to be Ghost Cat’s favorites. She really enjoys watching anything on Animal Planet. She likes shows about other cats — unless they meow in a distressed manner. If a kitty on the TV sounds upset, Ghost Cat gets concerned. She’s a very sensitive girl.

Animal shows aren’t all Ghost Cat watches, though. Some of the shows that have caught her attention the most don’t feature animals. She surprised me by enjoying The Walking Dead (she has even tried to swipe at the screen a few times). I don’t know whether it’s the slow-moving zombies that appeal to her, or perhaps she just likes it when the people run and shout. My husband, on the other hand, has outgrown The Walking Dead and feels the show is past its peak. I can tell Ghost Cat disagrees — when her little eyes lock on the screen I can see she is still firmly on Team Rick Grimes.


It’s not all about zombies. The other day I was very sick and Ghost Cat kept me company watching Grumpy Old Men.

One show my husband and Ghost Cat are both super into these days is Orphan Black. Ghost Cat seems especially invested in this Canadian sci-fi drama. As soon as we turn this one on, Ghost Cat comes running and takes her place on my husband’s legs, staring intently at the screen until the episode if over. Maybe she is just trying to figure out how Tatiana Maslany can be in so many places at once, or maybe Ghosty just likes British accents. We’ll never really know why she loves it, but her dad and I are happy to share a couch snuggle with her during every episode.


Ghost Cat just loves this Canadian show about clones.

Because my husband is a guy who loves to watch movies and loves to try the latest technology, Ghost Cat has plenty of TV viewing options. We have cable, plus Apple TV, Netflix, and now also a Chromecast. I came home the other day to find this little Google-based USB stick sticking out of our PVR, playing a custom screensaver my husband must have installed on it — all pictures of our family.

Later, my husband, Ghosty and I watched some YouTube videos via the Chromecast while the dogs and Specter snoozed. When our playlist was over the TV reverted to the screensaver and a picture of Ghost Cat popped up on the TV. Ghosty, who was on my legs at the time, reacted strongly to seeing herself on the screen.


It was like she knew that was her up there.

First, she sat up straight, staring at herself before crouching down and jumping from the sofa to the ottoman that sits under our wall-mounted TV. From there she tried to scale the wall, obsessed with reaching herself. I’d always heard people say that cats can’t really tell what’s on the TV — that’s it’s all just moving shapes to them — but trust me, Ghost Cat knew that this was her on the Chromecast (she just couldn’t seem to figure out how she was in two places at once).

Eventually the Chromecast switched to another picture and Ghost Cat lost interest. It seems that of all the shows she watches, she likes pictures of herself the most. I can’t blame her, after all, I do tell her she’s “my little beauty queen.” I love looking at Ghosty, so it’s no surprise she would like looking at herself.

The television gives Ghost Cat so much enjoyment, I could never get rid of it. Even if I wake up one day with no desire to watch my stories, I would still keep the TV. I would just load it full of pictures of Ghosty and use it like a digital picture frame. That way Ghost Cat (my adorable little narcissist) would get to watch her favorite show all the time.

Do your cats watch TV? What’s thier favorite show?

Read more about cats, TV, and household goings-on:

About the author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but Specter the kittenGhostBuster the Lab and her newest dog, Marshmallow, make her fur family complete. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google +