January is the month of pauperism. After splurging through the holidays, we all await that fateful day when the credit card bill is due. Fear not though! Thanks to the wonderful marriage of cats and apps, there are many free feline-themed apps that you can download to enjoy on your iPhone or iPad without dipping further into the recesses of your bank vault.
Here are my current favorite 13 gratis cat apps that will perk up your entertainment options for the bleakest month of the year. Sushi, furniture destruction, and cat showering all ensue. Enjoy!
Clumsy Cat has one mission in life: “Destroy as many objects as possible before your owners get back.” What follows is a simple platform game that has you running amok through a house attempting to knock over as much furniture as possible, including a stash of tape cassettes and a Mona Lisa. Strategy comes from pushing objects together to reach more expensive items. On my first run I clocked up a whopping $27,870 worth of damage. High scores let you unlock more cats to control.
Satiate that constant itch to dress your cat up with this cartoon-styled app. After selecting a kitten, I added the classic combination of a frog mask, a tutu and dinosaur feet. When I gave my now foppish feline a cushion to sit on, the app told me, “Looks good!” Very hard to disagree.
Another entry into the micro-genre of piano simulators fronted by cats, Feline Synth‘s main draw is its hand-stitched look, which imbues it with the freaky charm of a skewed ’60s kids TV show. The cat’s head also moves constantly, while touching items on the screen causes hearts and birds to pop up.
“How well do you know cats?” asks the 3Strike Cats app before setting you the challenge of picking the correct cat breed from a selection of felines. On my first attempt I was asked to identify the Korat. I plumped for the weird blob-like cat but found out it was actually the sleek dark grey one. Edutainment!
In Kitten Dreams you take control as Nuj, a one-year-old kitten who likes sushi and dislikes danger. That’s handy, as Nuj lives in a dreamy bucolic world where she likes to run through lush fields filled with pink cotton-candy-topped trees and catch bubbles filled with sushi while avoiding bombs. She also dabbles in catnip for the occasional speed boost.
Smelly Cat likes to dwell in garbage cans but soon realizes he will only be able to impress the feline love of his life if he spruces himself up. Cue a physics-based puzzler where you pull Smelly Cat’s tail to fling him through various mazes until he successfully sinks into a bathtub.
Welcome to Catlandia, a world where the evil ChowCorp’s tainted feline food has made all of the cats aggressive and crazy to the point where they are overflowing into the streets and no one will adopt them. The only thing that can restore some semblance of normality is baking bread and putting it on the heads of the kitties. Cue a totally skewed but thoroughly entertaining baking-slash-battle strategy game. The unerringly realistic plot really adds to the immersive appeal.
Satiate that other constant itch to bathe your cat with this cartoon-styled app. After you choose your water-loving feline, froth them up with a sponge and soap, shower them off and then dry them back to a fluffy state with a hairdryer. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The freebie version of Kitten Sanctuary is a gorgeously presented puzzler that has you moving items around a grid in an attempt to match three or more similar ones so that you can collapse the traps that a bunch of aliens have captured all of the kittens inside. Once freed, you can collect toys to play with your newly freed felines. My first rescue, George, very much enjoys the ol’ fish-on-a-string toy.
Jigsaw Box isn’t an exclusively cat-based app, but it does contain an entire selection of feline-themed jigsaws to attempt. You can chose to have each image split up into between 8 and 252 pieces (note: Start out easy!), and toggle a timer option on or off. I went with Kittens In Boots which, at the 24-piece setting, was a pleasingly fulfilling way to spend a couple of minutes.
Kawaii Kitten is a simple match-three puzzle game presented in a pastel-colored anime style and set to a soothing piano soundtrack. You have 60 seconds to pick out as many groups of three similar cats as possible, but despite the time limit, it’s an endearingly relaxing experience.
Imagine a rave-themed version of the Nyan Cat phenomenon but with unicorns, UFOs and narwhals. Techno Kitten is that game. Pulsating images fill the screen as you navigate a cat with a jetpack on its back through a technicolor world.
Apps that play a selection of meow noises are common, but Cat Sounds App stands out through the sheer horror of it all. If the freaky low-resolution pictures of cats looking like they are in distress isn’t enough, the actual sampled sounds appear to have been captured during torture sessions. For the ultimate live-from-the-shelter experience, you can keep the meowing on a constant loop.
About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.
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