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Click Below to See Snoopy, the HDTV-Watching Cat!

News Feature
My Cat Is Watching HDTV!
And she isn't alone. Many High-Definition TV owners report that their pets are having trouble distinguishing the realistic picture from reality itself.
By Phillip Swann

The other night, I was thinking of watching a movie on HBO, but my female housemate wouldn't let me. She was absorbed in a PBS documentary about birds, which was broadcast in High-Definition TV.

My female housemate is named Snoopy. She's a six-year-old black domestic cat.

Yes, my cat watches High-Definition TV.

In fact, she will watch for 20 minutes at a time, particularly if the show features birds, fish or animals. If she sees a bird flying on a high-def channel, she will crouch down in the attacker stance as if the winged creature was right in front of her.

The high-def picture is so clear and life-like that Snoopy apparently thinks it's real.

Snoopy, the HDTV-watching cat.

The Eagle Soars
I first noticed this phenomenon in 2001 when I brought home my first high-def set. Surfing the dial, I stumbled upon a HDTV channel that was showing a documentary on the American Bald Eagle. Snoopy was taking a cat nap in a chair to the left of the TV, but suddenly looked up and saw an eagle soaring across the screen. She immediately walked over and began watching -- and she hasn't stopped yet.

Over the last four and a half years, Snoopy has also shown remarkable interest in baseball games broadcast in high-def.
(See video below.) But, oddly, she totally ignores other sports, such as football and basketball. (Just like a woman, huh?)

Click below to see Snoopy watching baseball in high-def:

I have told several people in the industry about my HDTV-watching feline and I have been greeted with skeptical looks at best. I was beginning to think that either Snoopy (or I) was crazy until I recently researched the topic on the Internet. There are actually several message boards filled with comments from high-def owners saying their pets are watching HDTV -- and having the same trouble distinguishing the realistic picture from reality.

"My cat attacked the TV when (the high-def network) HDNet was playing a show about lions," said one high-def owner at alt.tv.tech.hdtv.

"Our cat generally ignores the TV. But one night there was a show with wolves. She went over to the screen and tried to touch one," said another.

Snoopy watches Winged Migration on HDNet Movies.

I asked members of the AVS Forum, another popular message board for high-def owners, if they had ever seen their pets watch HD. The response was immediate.

"One of our two cats watches HD all the time," said Greg. "It's funny. I can put it on Animal Planet (a non-HD station) and he's not that interested. I put it on Discovery HD with animals and I have to keep him from attacking the screen."

Frequently I catch my Goldendoodle, Harry, staring intently into the screen," says another poster. "Both my dogs react to other animals (on HD channels), especially if there is audio as well. But Harry watches all sorts of programming."

"My Siamese cat will watch intently when Blue Realm ( a documentary series on Discovery HD Theater) comes on," said one HD owner. "She sits right under the screen and watches. Then she will stand on her hind legs and softly paw at the fish on the screen."

I can relate. Check out the picture of Snoopy below:

Snoopy tries to catch a fish in a PBS documentary in high-def.

Of course, there have been reports for years of pets watching TV, regardless of the picture's clarity. In 2003, the Oxygen cable channel launched Meow TV, a non-HD show dedicated to the interests of cats. Sponsored by Meow Mix, the 30-minute program featured videos of birds, squirrels and other cat attractions.

However, Meow TV was cancelled after just a paw full of episodes.

Perhaps if they brought it back as a HDTV program, it would have more success.

I know Snoopy would watch.


Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

And click TVPredictions.com to read more news and features on TV technology. 




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Contact Swann
Phillip Swann can be reached at:
or call 703-505-3064

Mr. Swann is available for speeches, editorial projects, consulting work and media interviews. He has been a guest on dozens of TV and radio shows, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. And he has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune.
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