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Can Cats Watch Baby Sensory Videos? Is It Good for Them?

Written by: Gregory Iacono

Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Cat intently watching TV

Can Cats Watch Baby Sensory Videos? Is It Good for Them?

Indoor cats are wonderful pets and companions that bring millions of people joy and comfort. However, one drawback to being an indoor cat is the need for more stimulation. Like any intelligent animal, indoor cats can get bored, especially without the stimulation the outdoors provide. To keep them engaged, many cat parents show videos to their cats. That begs the question: are baby sensory videos good for cats, and can you show your cats this type of video?

The answer is that you can show baby sensory videos to your cats, and many veterinarians and cat experts believe they provide some benefits. However, other video subjects, especially videos of birds, mice, and small animals, might help your cat even more. A mix of several videos is suggested to keep your cat engaged and happy when there’s nothing else to do.

3 cat face dividerDo Cats Like Baby Sensory Videos?

Cat owners have been showing videos to their cats for as long as videos have been made, and some cats seem to enjoy sensory videos immensely. The good news is that no matter the video, anecdotal evidence shows that sensory videos are not harmful to cats. Your cat might like them, love them, or ignore them, but if they’re bored, a sensory video is an excellent way to keep them more engaged. Cats that are more prey-driven and have a high hunting instinct are typically more entertained by sensory videos than cats that are more sedentary.

cat watching TV
Image Credit: Ingus Kruklitis, Shutterstock

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What Kind of Videos Do Cats Like Most?

The type of sensory video your cat likes depends on your cat. Some cats love baby sensory videos for the bright images and colors. Not surprisingly, other cats love sensory videos focusing on mice, birds, and fish. Like us, all cats are unique and have unique tastes, likes, and dislikes.

Cats tend to like watching sensory videos featuring animals they see as prey. They’re most attracted to videos where something is always moving and prefer high-contrast and colorful images (even though they can’t see all the colors).

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Is Visual Stimulation Good for Cats?

Visual stimulation is good for younger cats and important for growing and maturing. It can be as important for adult cats as it is for humans; it lowers their stress levels and helps them feel more relaxed and at peace. Also, visual stimulation helps a cat’s brain to stay active and create more neurons, which can help their overall wellness.

As proof that visual stimulation is good for cats, you need to look no further than this experiment at the University of Lincoln. The experiment included 25 cats and found that visual stimulation “may hold some enrichment value for domestic cats.” At Ohio State’s University College of Veterinary Medicine, studies have shown that leaving a sensory video playing during a stressful event like a storm may also benefit your cat. It creates “white noise” that drowns out the noise and visuals caused by the storm or other anxiety-causing event.

Cat watching TV
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

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Can Cats Feel Overstimulated by Sensory Videos?

Some cats get overstimulated by videos showing birds or mice. Some cats will go a little crazy when they see sensory videos by pawing, scratching, and even leaping at the TV. If that happens, veterinarians suggest shutting off the video and letting your cat “cool down.”

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What Do Cats See When Watching Sensory Videos?

Cats see TV and video images very differently from humans. Cats have fewer cones, the part of the eye that detects colors, so they see fewer colors than we do. Cats have more rods in their eyes, which gives them much sharper vision than us. A cat’s vision is about six times sharper than a human’s.

The moving images you see on a TV screen look like a bunch of random photos to a cat. For humans, 24 frames per second (fps) is enough to fool our brains into thinking an image is moving. A cat would need a whopping 100 fps to see a moving image rather than different still images. In other words, what you see as a movement when watching a sensory video, your cat sees as a series of flickering images.

two cats with tv remote
Image Credit: lucioly, Shutterstock

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Why do Some Cats Like Baby Sensory Videos?

One of the main reasons that cats seem to enjoy baby sensory videos is that most are made with bright primary colors and contain many quick movements, similar to a mouse or bird in the wild. Because of how they see things, some (but not all) cats are attracted to baby sensory videos. Other cats might not like baby sensory videos but prefer videos of small animals.

cat face divider 2How to Know if Your Cat Likes What They’re Watching

It’s helpful to know your cat’s reaction if they like or dislike a particular video you’re playing for them. That way, if they aren’t enjoying a specific video, you can switch to another or at least turn it off.

If your Cat Likes a Video, it will:
  • Keep its eyes wide open
  • Have narrow pupils
  • Ears and whiskers will point forward
  • Intently follow movements with its head
If your Cat Dislikes a Video, it will:
  • Have huge pupils
  • Ears will be flattened on its head
  • Whiskers will point downward
  • Will seem stressed or anxious

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Is Watching TV or Another Screen Bad for Your Cat?

Because of how cats see the TV screen, there’s very little chance they will damage their eyes, even if they sit close to the screen. However, it’s best to turn down the brightness as cats have three times as many light receptors as we do. If the image is too bright, it could make them uncomfortable.

If your cat is watching a large flat-screen TV, it should be firmly attached to the wall or stand. Some cats might get overzealous and jump at the screen to try and grab what they see. If it’s not attached well, the TV could fall over and badly injure your cat (and destroy your TV).

3 cat face dividerConclusion

You can show baby sensory and other types of videos to your cat, which can be beneficial to their health. Most cats enjoy watching videos with quickly moving objects, bright colors, and small animals they consider prey, especially birds, rodents, and fish. Baby sensory videos interest cats because they have bright colors and moving objects. Some cats may like sensory videos immensely, while others may not be interested at all. All cats are unique, so the best thing to do is put on some sensory videos and see which of them your cat likes best.

Featured Image Credit: SnacksInTheBackpack, Pexels

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