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  • Writer's pictureCrone

(Un)real cats

Before I head to work, I go upstairs to say goodbye to the cats. I raise the duvet, which is folded back over the bedstead so that I can see them in their little cave. I stroke them and they purr gently, reach out their paws to touch my hands or face and look me in the eyes.

When I come home, they are waiting when I open the door and as soon as I have stroked them and said 'Hello my precious, hello my 'ickle!' they rush to the 'tree' and sharpen their claws before returning to me as I make my way, laden with empty water bottles and tupperware boxes, my computer and my phone, to the kitchen.

But I have 19 other cats. Soon, I will have 20. I expect to add Vivian in a few days.

They are digital. On a silly app. Basically, I have a 'cat cafe' and pair my cats with the customers then give the customers food and drink. I earn hearts and stars and baskets and new cats and new furniture and cat play things. My cats are Bon-Chan, Salem, Shadow, Muffin, Loveable, Woolie, Mochi, Takeshi, Koala, Butter, Mylo, Odie (who only has one eye), Ninja, Mittens, Sasha, Rad, Whiskers, Mese and Cinnamon. I had to look up Cinnamon and now feel really guilty as Cinnamon is sweet. My favourite is Odie then Ninja but I feel bad having favourites. They have different personalities (Friendly, Playful, Curious, Shy, Gentle, Energetic and Capricious - I think there's Majestic too but I don't have one of them). You upgrade your cats by earning gems from baskets, so long as they've earned enough hearts.

The aim of the game is to get you to spend money buying gems to upgrade your cats. I have spent no money. It also sends you advertisements. First it sent me loads of ads for the Muse headset. It know I'd looked at it, but not that I'd bought it. Now that I am researching animal experimentation, it sends me PeTA videos of kittens with neurological damage mewing and falling over in a sterile cage. All while I ignore my own cats to play with digital cats.

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