ENID, Okla. - Shelter pets often don't get the attention they deserve while waiting for a home.
Now, one Oklahoma animal shelter is using interactive technology to connect cat lovers with shelter cats.
“We are the first in Oklahoma,” said Kayla Waldrop, with the Enid SPCA.
The Enid SPCA is the first to launch what's called the I-Pet Companion, an online tool that allows you to play with the cats at the Enid SPCA from anywhere in the world.
“The exposure can be exponential. Where we may have a few visitors a day in the shelter, physically looking at the cats, we can have thousands a day looking at the cats online,” Waldrop said.
The cat room is equipped with a camera in the ceiling.
Down at cat level, there are three electronic toys: a laser light for the cats to chase, a wobble toy and an arm with a jingle toy that spins.
The toys and camera are controlled online by anyone who logs on to the site and wants to play with the cats.
“For potential adopters, it's great, because they can interact with the cats they're interested in,” Waldrop said.
Each person gets two minutes to “play” with the cats.
The camera is up 24 hours a day, even showing when the cats get visitors, including our crew.
While the cats weren't especially playful on Thursday, shelter employees said they've really enjoyed the extra play time.
“So far, the cats have really enjoyed it. The kittens especially love the entertainment and play time. It helps to socialize them as well,” Waldrop said.
It's a great option for those who may like cats but are allergic to their fur or those looking to adopt but don't have time to get to the shelter throughout the week.
The 24-hour cat cam has no limit to how often you can play but, as it grows in popularity, the line will likely get longer.
“You can always return to the que so you can play again, and you can watch the video as long as you like,” Waldrop said.
It is a free tool for anyone to use.
So far, kittens seem to enjoy the toys the most, but the last kittens were adopted on Wednesday.