Not kitten around on this one.
Ready for the most pawsitive story of all time? Have we got some uplifting mews for you.
The video game Stray (released by game company Annapurna Interactive in July 2022) is unsurprisingly mega popular among feline fans. What cat lover wouldn’t love the thought of traipsing through an abandoned post-apocalyptic city as a scrappy orange tabby, unlocking clues and scratching up carpets?
Stray - State of Play June 2022 Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games www.youtube.com
Turns out, the indie video game taking over the internet with memes and general stray cat fandom is doing much more than providing kitty-centric entertainment to humans—it’s doing some real good for cats IRL. AP News announced that Annapurna Interactive used livestreams of the game on Twitch to raise money for multiple animal shelters and cat-related charities.
Cat people are a different breed, no question. It’s never a passing interest, only an all-consuming adoration, bordering on obsession. So it’s no wonder really that Stray became the fourth “most watched and broadcast game” on the Twitch platform the day it launched.
In addition to setting up charity livestreams, Annapurna Interactive also offered copies of the game to Nebraska Humane Society as part of a raffle. Participants needed to pay only $5 for a chance to win the normally $30 game.
We're teaching these kittens how to turn on a PlayStation so they can play Stray, the new cat adventure game from @HKdevblog and @A_i! 🎮— Nebraska Humane Cats (@NHSCats) July 15, 2022
Wanna play with them? Donate $5 to the shelter and you'll be entered to win a code for the game! Donate here: https://t.co/FGJhY9HNae pic.twitter.com/BFLZJCxslX
Marketing specialist Brendan Gepson told AP that within a week, the organization was able to raise $7,000 because of the giveaway, which he added was especially notable because the vast majority of those donations were from people who had never donated before.Though the drawing has already been made, you can still donate to the Nebraska Humane Society campaign here.
New Yorkers truly got the ultimate experience, when Annapurna Interactive partnered with NYC cat cafe and adoption agency Meow Parlour for a weekend. Visitors got to play the game for free for 20 minutes, all while being surrounded by the cafe’s adorable kitty residents and maybe even go home with one! This is the stuff dreams are made of, people.
This extra support comes at a particularly crucial time for our feline friends—”kitten season.” According to the ASPCA, “kitten season” typically takes place between March and October, though it varies across the country. Of the millions of cats that enter shelters each year, a huge majority are at-risk kittens that come in during this time period and approximately 860,000 are euthanized.
Unsurprisingly, the creators of Stray are notably cat people. The game’s website states the development team is “mostly made up of cats and a handful of humans,” and the beloved orange tabby protagonist is based on an actual adopted stray named Murtaugh. Murtaugh is so famous he even got his own interview. What a legend.
However, it’s one thing to have feline fondness. Annapurna Interactive came up with a truly purrfect way to put love into productive action. Never thought I’d see the day where playing a video game could help save thousands of cats nationwide, but here we are. What a time to be alive.
Be responsible, folks. Consider adopting from a shelter, be sure to spay/neuter your cat and of course, go play Stray.