Finally, fishing for cats

First impressions 

Why is it that we always want our pets to do things, beyond just being our beloved companions?

We love to teach them tricks, to make them perform on cue, and show off their skills. I know this, because for years I hosted the Humane Society Dog Show.

The costumes and tricks portion of the show was always wildly popular, and it was hilarious to see how many dogs, once faced with the spotlight, simply wouldn’t comply with their owners’ urgent commands. 

Is it because we’ve always wanted to run away and join the circus, or we fancied stepping into Siegfried and Roy’s shoes? Whatever the reason, from the time of the caveman, man has tried to get beast to do his bidding, with varying levels of success. 

Dogs are wonderful, tolerant creatures, often quite happy to learn tricks, but what about cats? I was keen to see if my moggies were capable of retaining anything (although when it comes to cats, is it a retention problem, or simply a lack of interest?), and so I downloaded the Purina Friskies Cat Fishing 2.1 free app before I began investing in flaming hoops. 

How it works 

As this is geared towards cats, it’s pretty jolly simple. Even if I’d had issues figuring out how to use it, I wouldn’t be admitting them here. 

Once it’s downloaded, all you have to do is tap the “Start Game” button, and you’re into Level 1. A fish magically appears on your screen, swimming around in lazy circles to the music of moving water, while a timer counts down from 30 seconds to zero. 

Along the top of the screen you’ll see “Current Score,” which records what points your cat accumulates for this game, and “Your High Score,” which keeps track of the highest score attained over all the games played. 

How does your cat score points? All it has to do is “catch” the fish by pawing it, and the fish disappears to have another immediately replace it. Each fish is worth 20 points. This will keep happening until the time runs out for the level. 

As Level 1 ends, so Level 2 begins. This time two fish appear together, swimming around your screen, and again, if one is “caught,” it is immediately replaced. 

Can you guess how many fish show up in Level 3? Yup, your tablet screen will barely be able to contain the three fish swimming around on its surface, and hopefully, even if your cat showed no interest up until now, it won’t be able to resist the full cyber aquarium before it. 

That’s all there is to it! There are no in-app purchases, although it’s hard to imagine what those would be, if they were available. Upgraded fish, perhaps? Maybe a mahi mahi or two instead of goldfish? 

When I tried it 

My house was the perfect training ground for this app, as I have a cavalcade of cats, all with their own personalities. It would be interesting to see how many of them would take the bait. 

I sidled up to Pumpkin on the couch, and woke her from her slumber, pushing the iPad towards her as I ramped up the volume and started the app. 

She seemed interested at the beginning, and her head moved as the fish did for about 15 hopeful seconds before she yawned, blinked, stared at me, stretched, and went back to sleep. 

Next up was Toast. She’s an older cat, so I figured that perhaps she’d be more inclined to concentrate. 

She actually did paw at the screen a couple of times, but that was before I started the app. She then proceeded to walk over my iPad to get to a comfy spot elsewhere and never looked back. 

From there it continued in much the same vein. The cats seemed vaguely interested, and they’d make enough moves to get my hopes up, but then would get distracted by something else, or simply stare at me as if to say “look, we’re both better than this.” 

I had nearly given up by the time I got to Cairo, our once feral black male that has now firmly ensconced himself in the house. Maybe it was his survival skills from when he was wild, coming to the fore, or maybe he just wanted to make me happy, but from the moment I started the app, he was captivated. 

I had almost given up, when suddenly, on Level 3, he made a move, pawed at a fish, and it disappeared. Wahoo! 20 points! 

Sure, that was as good as it got, and yes, I was way too excited over a breakthrough this minor, but it had made the last 33 hours so worthwhile. 

Final thoughts 

The Cat Fishing 2.1 app confirms everything you always knew about your cats – that they have no interest in being trained, and they’ll play when they’re good and ready. 

Despite the fact that it’s primarily an exercise in frustration, you’ll be surprised how many times you’ll give this a try, particularly when Garfield or Mr. Twinkles seems particularly active. All those tears you shed weeks before will be forgotten, and you’ll eagerly get your iPad out, in the hope of advancing that high score number beyond zero. 

Cat Fishing 2.1

Cost: Free
Seller: Purina

  • Devices: iOS and Android

  • Rating: E for Everyone 


Free. Doesn’t require Internet connection. 


Most cats won’t cooperate. You’ll be tapping fish 


Let the madness begin.


Level 1 starts you off with just one fish.


If your cat isn’t interested by Level 3, you may as well give up.