Stray saves real cats while animal shelters raise funds on Twitch


Stray saves real cats while animal shelters raise funds on Twitch

Stray is a game starring an adorable orange cat, which helped it become an instant sensation. People absolutely love cats and it’s an addicting game in which the feline protagonist navigates a dystopian environment to return home. The story will melt and tug at the hearts of cat lovers, and pet care and rescue organizations have even been able to stream the game to show support for the kittens and cats in their care.

It’s kitten season, which starts in late spring and lasts through October, and that means organizations are dealing with a surplus of kittens and cats in need of help. Homes and care organizations often have to resort to unconventional forms of fundraising, such as Facebook groups, online sweepstakes or streams. Stray is an excellent game for the latter because it’s a game that understands cats. (There’s even a dedicated meow button, which is very important.)

It’s a very simple hook for viewers – you like the cat game? Well, we have cats here. I’m always a fan of little orange kittens in my feed, and Twitch streams of the game have become a great way to raise support for a good cause. Crits for Cats is one such organization and currently uses a Twitch channel and Twitter account to showcase rescue and foster cats and kittens. Crits for Cats endorses rescue and TNR (which stands for Trap-Neuter-Return).

Fans who tune in to the Crits for Cats Twitch streams are getting good gameplay – the organization streams Stray but has shown a number of games in the past – as well as a live kitten cam where viewers can watch kittens play and redeem channel points for cat facts or give the kittens treats.

strayThe Annapurna Interactive publisher has also partnered with the Nebraska Humane Society as well as Cats Protection, a UK-based cat charity, to raise funds for the game. The Nebraska Humane Society raised $7,000 for cats in need through a giveaway that will be used towards medical care and upkeep for the cats in their care.

“Annapurna Interactive reached out to us in June to assess our interest in collaborating around the launch of StrayBrendan Gepson, a marketing specialist at the Nebraska Humane Society, told Polygon via email. “We ended up giving away 4 PlayStation codes through a fundraiser. […] When the fundraiser ended, we had raised over $7,000 for the shelter from 560 donations. This is particularly notable because the vast majority of these donations came from people who had never donated before. So all in all this was a great success for us and we are super happy with the result!”

The money raised will directly help the pets in the shelter. There are over 80 cats available for adoption, “and more behind the scenes getting surgery and care,” Gepson said. “This year alone we’ve found homes for 4,000 animals and that number keeps growing so we need all the help we can get.”

Streaming is a fantastic tool for outreach and education, as well as for sharing cool games. When cat rescues use this tool, they can raise funds well beyond their local communities. You can also share information about kitten season, the importance of spaying and neutering pets, and why you should keep your cat indoors.

“It was really a great experience for us – we got to connect with a whole new base of donors and everyone was incredibly nice,” said Gepson. “A couple of people told us they didn’t even have a PlayStation or any way to play the game, but they still wanted to donate to help us. Right now we’re looking for some local streamers to keep that momentum going.”

Accompanying the gameplay of a silly orange cat scratching carpets, making robot friends, and running across keyboards makes it that much easier – especially when you can spice up the footage with unscripted Kittencam antics.

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