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Cat Behavior Expert Analyzes STRAY Gameplay and Is Charmed

The video game Stray is winning hearts and popularity contests all over the internet. In a charming watch video, a cat behavior expert analyzes how realistic the kitty’s behaviors are in the game. JoAnna Puzzo, a feline welfare manager at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, watched gameplay. And also clearly falls in love with Stray

The game includes the cat playing with other members of its colony, meeting robots, ziplining in a bucket, and many other adventures. One of the best moments in the video above is Puzzo confirming that kitties are agile enough not to knock items off of tables and shelves. So when they do it, it’s intentional. I knew it. And just like we all do, Puzzo gets distressed when the sweet kitty injures himself and is limping. Though the disruption of what appears to be a game of mahjong immediately reduces empathy for the cat.  

She also talks about the vertical scratching behavior, which the cat in Stray does on both trees and furniture. Apparently, it provides a visual marker of territory and also leaves a chemical signal from the scent glands in their paws. When the video game kitty first gets his little backpack, he crouches and walks funny. Puzzo says that cats generally don’t like wearing clothes or harnesses and this is a response to that lack of control. But once he’s comfortable with the robots, he rubs on their legs in greeting. Just like a real-life cat would do, especially to people who are allergic to them.

GameSpot

The video, which we saw on Laughing Squid, also includes Kipp, a sweet kitty up for adoption. If you’re looking for your own stray to bring home, check out the Battersea cat and dog adoption pages. Or your local rescue group. And don’t forget that you can also play Stray as Garfield the cat, thanks to a new mod.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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