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‘Stray’ Video Game Being Used by Animal Shelters To Help Rescue Kittens

stray is helping other strays

The latest gaming sensation is the new title by Annapurna Interactive called Stray, which is about a lost orange cat who is separated from their cat family in a robot-controlled dystopia. Playing as the cat, you meet a tiny robot companion, B12, and go on a daring adventure together to return to the outside world. Due to the tried and true reality that people (especially internet people) love cats, the game has been a big hit. Now animal rescues are using that viral popularity to help real strays.

Cats and kittens always need our help, but at the moment things are particularly dire because we’re in “kitten season.” Per the Partnership for Shelter Animals NYCC: “In late March/early April and extending through October, thousands of kittens are abandoned to New York City shelters each year (millions nationwide).”

This an ongoing and persistent problem every year, despite the hard work of many rescuers and organizations:

“During the warm months, more animals of every age and type are entering the shelter. A huge influx of kittens means shelters become strapped for staff and resources. It is nearly impossible to properly care for, and find homes for, so many kittens. Some come in sickly or too young to thrive on their own and are euthanized immediately due to lack of needed resources.

Mature cats also suffer during Kitten Season. People entering a shelter to adopt will gravitate toward the kittens, leaving the moms and other older cats left without homes. These cats may face euthanasia if homes cannot be found.​”

So it’s a particularly prime time to get into the stray-helping game IRL. As Polygon shared, shelters now are fundraising by saying you can play Stray with real cats and the funds will go towards helping protect our feline friends. They are also doing giveaways.

Annapurna Interactive is also partnering up with some cat welfare organizations and humane societies to raise money for shelters via the interest in Stray. “Annapurna Interactive reached out to us in June to gauge our interest in collaborating on something around the release of Stray,” said Brendan Gepson, a marketing specialist with Nebraska Humane Society, via email with Polygon. “We landed on giving out 4 PlayStation codes via a fundraiser. […] When the fundraiser concluded, we had raised over $7K for the shelter from 560 donations. That’s especially notable because the vast majority of those donations were from people who had never donated before. So all in all, this has been a massive success for us and we’re super happy with how it turned out!”

You can still donate to the Nebraska Humane Society’s Stray campaign here, with the money going to help our feline friends in need.

Remember, folks, spay and neuter your cats, adopt a shelter cat, and run as fast as you can to protect your virtual cat in Stray.

(via Polygon, image: Annapurna)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.