If there’s a gaming equivalent of “crazy cat lady,” we here at Gamezebo are probably it. Put a cute cat (or even just an inky blob of a catlike thing) on or near a game, and we’re sure to at least try it. The result: we’ve played a lot of titles featuring felines over the years and now have a list of favorites to share with you, dear readers. Whether you’ve played every cat game you could get your hands on and are looking for just one more, or you’re allergic to cats and have to get your furry fix from the digital world, or secretly hate cats and think playing games starring them will help you better understand and undermine their motivations, this list probably has something for you.
Instead of ranking the games in order of preference—it’s hard to compare idle clickers to Mario-esque platformers to tower defense builders—we’ve listed them by their last update on the App Store. All of the titles included on the list were tested and ran fine on iOS 10, so don’t let their age give you paws—just consider them ranked from adult cat to baby kitten.
Trauma Ted is a blast from the past, yet it still plays well on modern devices and holds its own against more recent puzzle platformers. The controls are extremely simple—tilt to move Ted and tap to jump—with your only goal to reach the painkiller stationed somewhere in the level. (Poor Ted has a chronic migraine, although we don’t recommend giving human medicine to headachy cats.) The entire screen wraps around, so if you walk left off-screen Ted will reappear on the right, or if you fall into a pit Ted will drop down from the top of the screen. The levels require both thoughtful movement of boxes, elevators, and other devices across the screen jumps as well as quick actions to beat the timer. And there’s a lovely accordion soundtrack that accompanies Ted’s sorrowful relief-seeking and puzzle platforming, resulting in a polished package that doesn’t feel as dated as it actually is.
- App Store (free)
Hackycat is, without a doubt, our favorite game about kicking cats repeatedly into the air. It would technically be a good physics arcade game if you were just kicking a little beanbag around, but the real joy of course lies in punting kitties and watching their adorable little faces transform from blissfully ignorant to horrifically shocked. There’re also the added bonuses of feeding them hamburgers, super-kicking them into outer space, inflating them into anti-gravity cat balloons, and adopting new cats—ranging from those with mustaches to those made of tofu—with special being-kicked powers. You might feel guilty about foot-slapping them the first few times, but by the thousandth kick and tenth cat, you’ll be a Hackycat master both physically and emotionally.
- App Store ($0.99)
MovieCat 2 – The Movie Trivia Game Sequel!
The MovieCat series proves that cats and film trivia go together like, well, cats and anything, honestly. But seeing adorable cartoon cats act out famous film scenes is even more endearing in reality than it sounds on paper. In addition to all the catty goodness, both MovieCat games contain tons of trivia questions and a wide variety of categories that make them great trivia games period. They’re just great trivia games that also happen to contain shots of Titanic’s Rose Cat being drawn “like one of your French girls” or Luke Skywalker Cat gazing at the two suns of Tatooine.
- App Store ($1.99)
Fort Meow is one of the more realistic games on our list, painting cats with the brush of obvious cat owners: attention-seeking lap hogs that make it impossible to sit quietly and read a book. Your goal in Fort Meow is to build a protective barrier of junk that will stop the waves of pouncing cats that want nothing more than to fall asleep on your open book. To do so, you must stack the odds and ends found around the attic—from old mattresses to empty boxes—around the heroine, Nia, and hope that the items hold out long enough for her to make it to the next chapter. The object physics and cat attack variety requires each tower to be designed slightly differently and rewards ingenuity in your cat-thwarting.
- App Store ($3.99)
WonderCat Adventures is a gorgeous platformer with a bit of Lunar Lander thrown in. Your robot-assisted cat alien must escape the mines where his spaceship crash-landed, jumping between mine cart platforms and using soft rocket boosts to land safely on the few stable footholds available. Stages are fairly short and introduce new obstacles regularly, from fiery torches to spinning platforms to super speed runs. Platforming across the lovely backgrounds and levels that form a rewarding combination of soothing and challenging is fun enough, but we also love WonderCat’s cheeky wink when you reach the end of a level, solidifying that yes, robot suit or not, this is still a cat game.
Scrappy Cat is one of a long list of “deceptively difficult” platformers that have risen up on the App Store in recent years, utilizing simple geometric stages and adorable characters to lure people in and trap them in their endless cycle of jumping and death. But even though Scrappy Cat is much harder than its short stages and generous checkpoints would lead you to believe, it always feels surmountable thanks to its perfect, fluid controls and nimble ninja cat protagonist. Scrappy Cat lives up to his name, wall-jumping, moving block-hanging, and chain-climbing his way to his kidnapped girlfriend on levels that get gradually more difficult until you’re split-second dodging rotating spike platforms. We have, admittedly, rage-quit Scrappy Cat in the past, but only because we can never be as nimble as that adorable, white-tail-tipped hero.
Ice Cream Cats
While we feel like a disclaimer is needed for Ice Cream Cats—you should not actually stuff cats full of ice cream, no matter the flavor—we fully endorse the game itself. It’s a Pipe Mania-style puzzler in which your goal is to rotate pipe pieces in order to get ice cream from its origin vat to its same-colored cat located somewhere on the puzzle board. You can mix ice cream flavors and send them to two cats at once—strawberry and chocolate swirl directed to both the pink and brown cats, for instance—or you can feed the cats individually with focused piping. Since levels are timed, you’ll need a quick swapping finger at the ready, but the stages never feel so rushed that you can’t stop and enjoy the sight of once-hungry alley cats bursting with ice cream bliss.
This one’s for any dog people who accidentally found themselves trapped inside this list. This gorgeous space shooter escalates the war between cats and canines to intergalactic dogfights, although players have to join the side of the human-supported dogs. Besides having our favorite title of almost any game ever, Apocalypse Meow is also a highly polished arcade shoot ‘em up that leans toward the slower end of the genre. The galaxy you’ll travel has some areas of emptiness with only asteroids or rubble floating nearby before you ultimately engage squadrons of tightly organized cat fighter pilots. The added challenge of picking up and transporting humans floating in space gives the battles a bit more gravity and the entire game is a gorgeous representation of what we know is coming eventually: cat space conquest.
ArcherCat is a fantastic combination of arcade defense, RPG upgrades, and epic cat lore. Although a remake-slash-sequel, ArcherCat Friends, retained all this and added multiplayer, we still recommend the original due to its lack of load times. Both games pit your ArcherCat against an army of cursed birds that cloud the sky while dropping rocks or dive-bombing him in an attempt to end his heroic journey. You’ll have to aim and shoot down the waves of bird baddies, using special skills like poison or ice arrows to take out the toughest of the flock. The games are level-based with story progression between stages and new equipment and upgrades available as you grow stronger. Your cat will get a better bow, armor (which even changes his appearance), and magic as he travels the land, eventually becoming the legendary ArcherCat he was always meant to be.
Cat Puncher may have initially pounded its way onto this list by being the only cat arcade fighting game we’d ever heard of, but it kept its spot by being a ridiculously fun homage to the Street Fighter series—just with cats. As a touchscreen title its controls have been reduced to jump, attack, charge attack, and super move, but the smaller amount of abilities does not mean it’s without strategy. You’ll still have to time attacks when there’s an opening and be nimble enough to retaliate in the short window of opportunity. If you’re victorious you’ll be treated to a Street Fighter-esque win quote from your cat (that’s in English, not meows), and if you’re not so lucky—well, you just got to spend a few minutes tournament fighting cats, so we still count that as a win.
Banacat Building is actually the sequel to The Last Banacat, which introduces the endangered Banacat species as it flees from its volcanic island home, and you quickly construct bridges for its escape. Banacat Building shows the cats making a new place for themselves in some bustling metropolis where they must construct a tall apartment building to house all of the survivors. Both Banacat games are fairly straightforward takes on existing genres—path-building for the original and tower-layering for the sequel—that really shine thanks to their adorable cast of characters and funny, cartoonish style. In Banacat Building, your construction cat rides around in a Bowser-esque copter sphere, frantically smacking buttons if a piece of the tower falls out of place. Each level of the tower is populated by other Banacats going about their business in their new home. It’s a sweet take on the genre most players probably know via The Tower, and hopefully it’s an indication that further Banacat adventures are yet to come.
We’ve already covered our love of Cat Moped in a previous article, but the much shorter version of that is it’s a wacky physics racer with the wobbly challenge of a game like Hill Climb Racing, but packed with unlockable cats. Despite its simple appearance, Cat Moped is wonderfully detailed, from the very different handling of each cat driver to the defeated faces they make after toppling over. It’s the very definition of one-handed, quick-burst mobile gameplay, but every time we pick it up we end up playing for much, much longer.
Hungry Cat Picross
We’ll admit, this one is a bit of a stretch: despite the title, Hungry Cat Picross is not especially cat-heavy. It does feature an adorable cat face always stationed in the corner of the puzzle you’re working on and sporting a beret to match the color you’ve currently selected. And you do collect delicious fish for completing pictures. But otherwise, its pixel portraits run the gamut of non-cat subjects from Batman to the Mona Lisa. It also happens to be one of our all-time favorite Picross games, made especially engaging by its use of both numbers and colors for clues and a mobile-friendly restriction of single puzzles that are never larger than 10×15 blocks (although single pictures may be made up of numerous 10×15 puzzles to create more intricate final results), as well as its never-ending supply of challenges, with new puzzles added every Tuesday. It also happens to star a cat that falls asleep when you take too long to make a move, so we’re rightfully including it on this list.
Super Cat Tales
The Android version of this entry should give you a better idea what it’s about: Super Cat Bros is a loving homage to Nintendo’s famous plumber brothers and their superbly designed platforming worlds, but starring a group of cats instead. Those cats must also like The Lost Vikings, as they pool their different skills together to complete each stage by swapping out as needed at designated platforms. If you’re entering a dark cave you’ll probably want to take Kuro, the spelunking kitty decked out in a mining helmet, while levels with walled off areas can be broken through by Brutus, the husky orange tabby. The one-touch controls, clever stages packed with secrets, and adorable kitty crew make this an homage worthy of its inspirations.
If WonderCat Adventures piqued your interest, Jasper’s Rocket may be up your alley as well. It also stars a mechanically-inclined kitty marooned alone with only a machine at his side, although this time it’s a rocket ship that wasn’t exactly designed for cat flight. Jasper must try his best to fly the ship along the lovely, muted moon without running into the rocky terrain or other ships passing by. With its own hint of lunar landing challenges, Jasper’s Rocket allows the player to gently dock on the ground or at fuel stations, assuming they come in at the right angle and speed. It’s part awkward endless rocketing, part delicate spaceship landing, and all adorable cat astronaut anxiety.
- App Store ($3.99)
Nyan Cat: Lost in Space
The reward for longest-updated cat app on our list absolutely goes to Nyan Cat: Lost in Space. This nearly five-year-old game received its last update just over a month ago, with yet another new theme added to its huge list of existing areas that range from the snowy “Nyan Pole” to under the ocean to the post-apocalyptic “Max Cat.” And those are just the backgrounds for the main endless runner gameplay, which also boasts dozens of skins, power-ups, boosters, and missions, as well as the various game types such as the hilly Nyan Wings and the reverse Tac Nyan. In addition to the already jam-packed main game, you can also use coins you earn running in a pet simulator, buying food, treats, and toys for your own pet Nyan Cat. There is even a pixel editor that lets you create your own Nyan Cat from Poptart-y body color to head shape. We’re always amazed by the effort and dedication that has gone into making Nyan Cat: Lost in Space not just an amazing meme game, but a truly great mobile game (that just happens to star a famous cat).
Like Scrappy Cat, Nekosan revels in being both extremely easy to play but extremely difficult to live through. Even though we have died–a lot–in Nekosan, we always come back for more. For starters, who can say no to that always-smiling yellow cat blob? And perhaps more importantly, Nekosan perfectly combines ultra-short on-the-go simplicity with surprisingly deep platforming challenges. A room with a single set of spikes may not look too sinister, but in reality it will take a dozen or more attempts to clear, collect all the golden fish, and earn that satisfying sense of accomplishment that comes with activities like beating tough platforming stages or getting your cat to stop jumping up on the dinner table.
- App Store (free)
If we could point to one game that made us think our readers might appreciate a list of cat games, it’s Neko Atsume. The popularity of this kitty-collecting idler—to the degree that a live action movie of it is in development—is both astounding, but also completely understandable. While the “game” is little more than placing kitty bait—in the form of food, toys, and comfy cushions—around your digital garden space and waiting for the inevitable cat leeches to show up, checking back in and watching the cats enjoy your gifts has a surprisingly strong appeal. The work-to-reward ratio is extremely low, considering you’re free to leave your garden empty without the cats getting angry. But as soon as you put out some food they’ll show back up in mere minutes, peeking out of boxes or rolling around on the grass, flashing furry tummies you can pretend are yours for the petting.
While we generally don’t like to get our pets mixed up in politics, we’ll gladly make an exception for PolitiCats. This idle clicker is extremely straightforward, with most of your input simply being tapping as much as possible to earn voters and campaign donations and managing a few upgrades like tap boosters and volunteer staff. The charm of PolitiCats comes from its breakneck speed and adorable cat candidates: while your cat of choice will begin merely running for Class President, it won’t be long before he’s climbed the ranks to Mayor, State Representative, and Commander-in-Chief. He waves his paws in the air while rallying and sometimes stops to wash his face. His debate opponents range from an angry bird in a tie to a cutthroat shark (and yet all the voters are human…) It’s a simple, adorable clicker that lets you show your support for the Cat Party.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Game Ever
Although most of the cats on our list are merely adorable, anonymous pixels, Grumpy Cat comes with a pedigree of internet stardom. Her trademark always-annoyed pout adorns each of the many mini-games that make up her fast-paced, finger-twitching arcade extravaganza. She engages in a lot of classic cat activities, like knocking glasses off counters and angrily staring down the hands of would-be petters, as well as more fantastical fare like conducting magic tricks and jamming out on a guitar. Whatever she’s up to, it’s always fun, and the unlockable iOS 10 stickers and endless challenge mode are merely bonus ways to stay grumpy.
Super Phantom Cat
In case you didn’t get enough Mario Bros inspired feline platforming from Super Cat Tales, Super Phantom Cat is here to fill the void. This bright, cheerful adventure combines smooth platforming, scattered collectibles, fun power-ups, and secret areas with an adorable cat protagonist who simply dreams of emulating the hero that once saved his life as a kitten. As the second most recently updated game on our list after a year of release, Super Phantom Cat is still regularly receiving new worlds and additions as of last week, meaning we’ll hopefully never run out of places to see or run with Phantom Cat.
Haywire Hospital was developed by Coconut Island, the same team who created Naughty Kitties, so we know they’re experienced in the cat genre. Haywire Hospital is, however, even more bizarre than the endless cat tank battle of their previous game: it’s an idle clicker slash hospital simulation that stars a group of anthropomorphic cat medical staff curing animals’ of their various ailments, like owls’ insomnia or cats’ “dot destroyer” affliction. The game is extremely manic, with patients running in and out of the hospital constantly, entering diagnosis rooms and wandering out just as quickly in the same wrinkled pajamas. You’ll need to hire cat doctors, assign them to treatment rooms, research new illnesses, keep an eye out for peculiar patients, and a ton of other micro-management duties that make this much more complex than your standard clicker. On top of that, Haywire Hospital’s style is endearingly strange with a wide range of emotions on the harried animals that come through the ER’s doors and meme-like cat faces on the hospital staff, who seem like they could cure anything–even “Oh man I have so many new cat games to download”itis.