Your Cat Needs Its Own TV

Cats are wonderful creatures to have around, and they provide us with hours of entertainment. So why not do a little something to entertain them in return? That’s exactly what [Becky Stern] did by making a cat TV that shows YouTube videos of birds and other cat-approved content. Not all cats seem to care about TV, but [Becky]’s cat Benchley really gets into it.

As you may have guessed, this is a fairly simple build, consisting largely of a Raspberry Pi, a speaker, and a screen — a 5″ HDMI LCD display to be exact. Seems like a nice size for cats. After getting the cat-puter up and running, [Becky] set about designing a 3D-printed enclosure to turn it into a TV. The first draft looked great in marble-effect filament, but lacked breathing holes for the Pi, so the final version has a nice honeycomb pattern that is too small for curious cat paws to fit through.

What their paws can do is accidentally pause the video via the touch screen, so [Becky] swapped the USB cable for a charge-only to prevent this. Be sure to check out the build video after the break, because there is plenty of cat cuteness to be had. [Benchley] was so into it that he went looking around back for cats and squirrels inside the box.

Would you rather not encourage your cats to lie about the house watching TV all day? Make them play piano for their dinner.

21 thoughts on “Your Cat Needs Its Own TV

    1. In addition, there’s the thought that cats need at least 100fps to perceive fluid motion (as opposed to 20 for people, 70 for dogs). Links to Elecrow bog down with too many marketing redirects, but similar devices on Adafruit seem all to be refreshing a 60Hz. Apparently this project works for Benchley, so I suppose YCMMV.

      1. They may not see the figures clearly but they see the colors, shapes and movement. It’s enough to peak some cats’ curiosities. Probably blurry for them but it’s something weird moving around.

        Kittens would likely not care regardless.

    2. You remember right, although cats are simultaneously somewhat nearsighted from a human perspective. Most cats can’t focus well at objects beyond 20 meters – the physiology of their eyes just gives them less focal distance to work with overall.

      Interestingly, different breeds of cats have enough differences in eye and facial structure that some breeds are notably more nearsighted or farsighted than others, and of course individual cats can be nearsighted or farsighted as well.

      Not that anyone would necessarily notice unless they were deliberately researching the nuances of cat vision – if you’ve got a cat that cares about TV/computer displays at all, it’s not like they’re trying to read tiny text on it – as long as it looks like a prey item hopping around, it’s plenty interesting even if it’s blurry.

    3. 1. Are Cats Nearsighted or Farsighted?

      We spoke to Dr. Paul Miller, a veterinary ophthalmologist and clinical professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine…

      “Nearsighted” and “farsighted” are terms that refer to where the image focuses in relation to the retina.

      – Nearsightedness (myopia): When the image focuses in front of the retina, making faraway objects appear blurry.

      – Farsightedness (hyperopia): When the image focuses behind the retina, making close objects appear blurry.

      – Emmetropia: When the image focuses correctly.

      “The vast majority of cats are emmetropic, with some being slightly farsighted and some slightly nearsighted,” Miller says. He says cats likely become more farsighted—or, as he puts it, “need reading glasses”—as they age.

      Cats can clearly focus on items approximately 10 inches or more away; any closer, and the object becomes blurry. “This is similar to a 45-year-old human,” Miller says. Fortunately, cats have whiskers on their forelimbs, muzzle, and above their eyes to help detect nearby objects and prey.

      2. How Far Can Cats See? 10 Amazing Cat Eyesight Facts.

      Fact checked by Dr. Lizzie Youens BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS

      – Cats Can’t See Clearly at Long-Distances

      It might surprise you that cats can’t actually see as far as humans can, at least not in any detail. After a distance of about six meters (20 feet), a cat’s vision becomes blurred. This is in comparison to humans, who can usually see clearly to up to 60 meters or more (200 feet plus). You might think that six meters is not far enough to be useful, but a cat’s vision is perfectly suited to hunting, stalking, and pouncing on small prey and keeping themselves safe from any nearby threats. Besides, they have other means of assessing their surroundings and wider environment (more on that later!).

      – Cats Have a Narrow Range of Vision

      It’s not just long distances that cats struggle with – their close-up vision isn’t particularly good either. This is because the muscles that control the shape and size of their pupils can’t focus the light onto the back of the eye at too close a distance. This means that cats can see the sharpest details at a distance of around to six meters – which is perfect for chasing mice or stalking a toy.

      3. 10 Facts About Cats’ Eyes: Vet Verified

      REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY: Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca, Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

      – A cat’s visual acuity falls into the mid-sightedness category.

      You’ve heard of “20/20 vision” before (and maybe have it yourself), but what is the phrase referencing? It describes visual acuity, which is how clearly someone can see. A normal human’s visual acuity is 20/20. For felines, visual acuity is generally between 20/100 and 20/200, which means that if you could see an object from 100 to 200 feet away, your kitty would only be able to see it clearly from 20 feet away. Your pet’s vision is much blurrier than yours for stuff close to their face. But why is this the case? Felines don’t rely on close vision for hunting. One of the reasons that cats have a more difficult time seeing things near them is they do not have the muscles that are used to thicken the shape of and change the eye’s lens so nearby objects come into focus. This makes your kitty rely on their whiskers to help them figure out what’s around them.

  1. What cats need is a Neuralink dog personality chip which not only maintains their ability to do their business indoors, but also to do that on a toilet as a rare few already do.

    1. we may not like it, but “to gift” has been considered an acceptable (if not common) term for centuries.

      and, to answer your rhetorical question, you would use “to gift” because it’s much more specific.
      “to give” merely implies that you have handed over something, it makes no assumptions about intent or even the tangibility of the item in question – you can give someone an object that you intend to take back, or you can even give someone something like a headache.

      “to gift” implies that you have handed over a physical object, and that object is intended as a gift.

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