Now is your chance to have a cat without any of the clawing, meowing or scratching. Catz: Your Computer Pet is a lazy pet owner's dream and the little felines are cute in a cuddly, snuggly way that's undeniably appealing. Another plus is that there are several varieties of Catz breeds up for adoption.
Keen and agile by nature, Pouncers react to every toy and the cursor as if they were live creatures. For those wanting a quieter version, the Homebody loves being fed and petted. Sophistos are stuck-up snobby cats with a personality dog-lovers hate, concerned about grooming, appearance and dignity, while the easily pleased and excited Jester Catz are crazy -- always clowning around and acting silly. Finally, there are the Scaredy Catz who, at the slightest sound or movement, will start climbing the walls.
For entertainment, owners can use the Catz Supply Shelf, chock full of goodies for entertaining, chastising and grooming Catz. These virtual pets eat cat food and fish treats, drink milk and water and, most of all love to play. You can bring out the cat dancer, which bounces about as your Catz bat it, or, throw a jingle ball or ball of yarn and watch them chase it. There's even a squeaky toy.
And what would a cat simulation be without a mouse? Catz: Your Computer Pet comes with an irritating, squeaky little beast who occasionally appears from a hole in the Catz Supply Shelf and exists solely for your Catz entertainment. It can be coaxed out with a hunk of cheese but if you own a Pouncer type, this little annoyance rarely lasts for long. It does, however, terrify other breeds such as Scaredy Catz and will continue to squeak, driving you crazy. Fortunately, the mouse hole can be sealed.
When naughty, Catz can be disciplined to behave by punishing them with a spray bottle and, when nice, a brushing or some petting shows them affection. There's a screenshot function for taking pictures of Catz in action. The feature isn't particularly innovative since pressing the Alt+Print Scrn key combination does the same thing, but it's a handy feature for users who aren't Windows savvy. Additionally, the screensaver, in which Catz fall asleep and dream, reveals what they're really thinking about -- both good and bad.
In short, Catz can provide hours of fun for children and adults alike who always wanted a kitten but none of the fuss or upkeep.
Graphics: Catz are basically a series of polygons strung together. At times, movement is somewhat disjointed as limbs and eyeballs seem to float almost independently of the Catz. They can be customized to a degree with a paintbrush tool and painted a variety of colors but it's an imperfect art -- a paintbrush must touch each limb and Catz rarely sit still.
Sound: Catz seem to have a limited vocabulary. The sounds they make are not pre-recorded cat sounds and genuine cat owners will rapidly find the aural content annoying. Most owners will find the mouse sounds irritating but, fortunately, sound effects can be turned off.
Enjoyment: These virtual pets are undeniably appealing. The biggest flaw is lack of full Windows compatibility and the need to open the program in a separate screen. Thus, you can't have Catz running around on your desktop while doing other work. You can have them open in a separate window but it's hardly the same. Children won't mind so much but adults, who'd like to see their virtual pets grow and play while working on other screens, will find it awkward.
Replay Value: Catz don't die of old age or neglect and once mature stay that way. Personalities actually change as they age -- for example, younger Catz are more inquisitive and easily frightened than the mature pets. No training of these felines is necessary, unlike their Dogz counterparts, and calling these independent creatures can depend on luck. Catz make great momentary diversions but are not a long-term form of amusement. On the other hand, they are very unobtrusive and sleep when left alone.
Catz are the next in linze of Computer Petz. Catz live on your desktop and they don't mind sharing it with you. Your Catz enjoy being petted. You can play with them and watch them stalk the mouse across your documents. In screen-saver mode they enjoy taking their CatNapz.
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