An animation artist and a computer programmer have made an iPad app that enlivens the days of rescued big cats. White tigers, lion and smaller wild cats, such as servals and Geoffroy cats, enjoy batting the mice and chasing laser beams around on their high tech toys.

Hiccup founders TJ Fuller and Nate Murray have created the Game For Cats for the iPad and the newer Game for Kittens for the smaller iPhone screen. Fuller graduated from the four-year Cal Arts character animation program that trains artists in both the traditional and computer-generated animation environments.

Murray is a software engineer who works with big data, distributed computing and web crawling as senior research engineer at AT&T Interactive. He writes a blog with helpful hints about related issues.

The Game for Cats has either a laser dot to chase, or a mouse to jump at. It even keeps score. The former is a free download, the mouse version carries a small fee. The animals at the Conservator’s Center in North Carolina illustrate how the game intrigues them in a YouTube video at the bottom of this article.


Ocelots play with their iPad

A Geoffroy’s cat, indigenous to South America, tracked the mouse and even tried to find it under the edge when it disappeared off the screen. The app has been a big hit if the other uploaded videos of domestic kitties playing it at home are an indication. The Game For kittens is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and needs iOS 3.2 or later.

The Conservation Center shown in the video below has more than 30 big cats, who were either rescued or were born to rescues who arrived pregnant. Staff at the Center say:

Perhaps this video will help us communicate how perceptive and interesting these wild cats are, and show that they deserve everyone’s support.

We hope that if you are moved by seeing them here you will consider contributing to their care, or perhaps will find a good quality facility near you where you can volunteer. Everyone can make a difference.

Arthur, the white tiger on the right image, was confiscated by authorities when he was an undernourished cub being used in a photo booth setting.

Government agencies provide oversight and shut down bad facilities that don’t provide adequate vet care, feed spoiled food, or house incompatible animals together in cramped spaces. Animals are taken from owners charged with animal abuse, neglect or cruelty.

Arthur recovered after being put on a nourishing diet and getting lots of exercise, and now has his own Facebook page. The Center’s menagerie contributes to the survival of their species because visitors learn why it is important to protect them, and their habitats. The non-profit organization does it all without state or federal funding to transport or house the animals that are rescued.

In addition to the app directed at cat lovers, Hiccup developed a game, Jacob’s Shapes, which Murray named for his two year old. Depicted in a pair of above screenshots, the game is designed for toddlers who can drag puzzle pieces to their corresponding shapes, and be rewarded by hearing the name of the piece.