What We’re Watching: How a DVD for Cats Got Me Hooked on Bird Videos

A photo of the Cat Sitter DVD case and an old TV.
Andrew Heinzman

I don’t know what I expected from Cat Sitter Volume II, a poorly-printed DVD that promises to hypnotize housecats with hours of bird footage. At best, it would give my cats a few minutes of fun before finding its way to my pile of neglected discs. But something strange happened when I fired up Cat Sitter for the first time—I became hooked.

Cat Sitter Volume II is the second installment in a series of videos by GO CAT, the company famous for its “Da Bird” feather toys. GO CAT used to sell an array of Cat Sitter DVDs and VHS tapes through its website, alongside toys, catnip, and a CD-ROM full of cat screensavers. Today, the company sells its classic Da Bird toy and a new Cat Dreams DVD, but not much else. (You can find an archived version of the GO CAT website and an ISO of Purr-Fect Cat Screensavers on the Internet Archive.)

The concept behind Cat Sitter is simple; it’s an endless loop of intimate bird videos. Some cats go crazy for it, while others see straight through the facade (or just don’t care much about TV birds). Believe it or not, the idea of Cat Sitter lives on today through YouTube, where titles like Videos for Cats to Watch and Calming TV for Cats rack up tens of millions of views and, presumably, generate serious ad dollars.

Of course, I didn’t know all this crap when I bought the Cat Sitter Volume II disc at a Salvation Army last week. I just like to buy weird junk, and Cat Sitter seemed right up my alley. Its dinky cover art and “digital catnip” slogans are easy to laugh at, and hey, cats always love the toys that you least expect, so why not give it a shot?

After popping in the Cat Sitter disc, I had to round my cats together and hold them up in front of the TV to get their attention. They stared at the TV a bit and eventually wandered off to look out a real window or play with a real toy. But I left the video going. It’s an endless loop, after all, and I figured that my cats might come back to it. But they didn’t. Still, I kept watching Cat Sitter.

I don’t know why I like the endless loop of low-quality bird videos. Maybe it has something to do with the audio, which makes for decent background noise. Maybe it’s because the birds are cute, or because they give me something to look at without distracting me. All I know is that I keep watching bird videos for cats on YouTube, and I keep playing the Cat Sitter disc on my junky little TV.

Copies of Cat Sitter are easy to find on eBay, and as I mentioned earlier, GO CAT sells a new DVD titled Cat Dreams (which looks like a widescreen take on the older Cat Sitter videos). But I suggest that you skip the DVDs and watch videos for cats on YouTube instead. The Paul Dinning Wildlife channel is a good place to start, with fantastic HD videos like Videos for Cats to Watch and Mouse Videos for Cats to Watch. Of course, you can just look up “videos for cats” on YouTube and find one that you like to watch. I mean—that your cats like to watch, yeah.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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