Neko Atsume: The Strange Allure Of Collecting Cats Without Doing Much Of Anything

Last week I wrote about my own personal disinterest and investment in most app games you download to your smart phone. I rarely use my phone to play games on it and the few I have decided to keep are most likely wasting space on the low chance I may actually feel like playing some of these again. I pretty much swore to myself I wouldn’t download another app game again until a very close friend of mine convinced me to give Neko Atsume a shot.

Developed by Hit-Point for iOS and Android devices, Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is a game about collecting cats. No joke. This is the only real purpose of the game. You start off with a yard and are given a little bit of gray fish and gold fish (the game’s currency) to buy food and the cheapest toys to attract the cats. You’re then prompted to leave the food and toys in any available spots around the yard. Once you do, you’re done and can close out of the app and check back in a little bit to see what kind of cats show up. It’s that simple.

I first heard about Neko Atsume when I saw a few friends post a few photos on Facebook of their yard filled with the cutest animated cats I’ve ever seen. I also encountered an article Kotaku wrote about the game. In many ways it’s almost hard to call this a game when it’s really a game about nothing. As cute the animations are and watching cats do adorable things with the toys or pillows you leave out for them, I really wasn’t interested in downloading this game. So why did I finally cave and download an app game about nothing? It stems from a conversation I had a month back with my best friend about Pokemon Go.


My friend plays Pokemon Go and while he’s not obsessed with the game per say, he plays it often enough to have a little more investment in it than I would. I explained to him why I simply didn’t want to get in on the Pokemon Go craze and cited how it’s too much of a time investment to go around catching Pokemon in the neighborhood. I also mentioned how I’m not really playing a ton of app games anyway. He made a case for trying out Neko Atsume, which is sort of like Pokemon without all the work. It’s a low investment app game and one I can check once a week or a month later if I wanted. I guess the cuteness of the kitties finally got to me and I downloaded the game.

After having this game on my phone for about a month now, I can say I find myself casually addicted to it. I open the app about three times a day to see what cats came to visit, fill the food bowls, and occasionally switch out toys for newer ones. Every cat that visits you gives you more fish currency, the gray and gold ones, to buy more stuff to lay out in the yard. There’s even a yard expansion that costs a certain amount of gold fishes to purchase, but collecting the fish currency is a lot easier than one might think. Neko Atsume also has rare cats that will visit your humble abode if you lay out certain items that will attract these cats specifically. For example, leaving out a baseball will get you a visit by Joe DiMeowgio or leaving almost any kind of food out will earn you a visit from a white fat cat named Tubbs, who actually reminds me of the Pokemon Snorlax when it lies on its back, big belly protruding in the air, after eating a good meal.

Tubbs is such a lazy and fat kitty, but he's sort of endearing for it.
Tubbs is such a lazy and fat kitty, but he’s sort of endearing for it.

Neko Atsume is a silly game with no real purpose other than to collect animated kitties. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this game as a must play, unless you don’t mind having an occasional app game with no real purpose other than to check on it maybe once in a blue moon when you don’t really want to play something. But for a meaningless game, I find myself somewhat cheered seeing these cats when I need to take my mind off a particularly hard day at work. They’re just cats being cats with the sweetest smiles on their faces and in a weird way it warms my heart.

9 thoughts on “Neko Atsume: The Strange Allure Of Collecting Cats Without Doing Much Of Anything

  1. My wife is addicted to this game too. You are right when you say the game seems to have no real end goal or purpose, but she still seems to check every day for new cats.

    1. It might be the cute animations and the possibility of getting those rare cats to show up in your yard that make this game oddly addicting in their own way. Each cat also interacts with the objects differently, which is a nice surprise when you happen to open the app during a spare moment. It’s a good quick fix type of game when you really don’t have time to play anything.

    1. It is cute! Actually, it sort of does. This same friend described Neko Atsume as sort of like having a Tamagotchi minus having to worry about feeding it every day or risk your pet dying as a result. 😛

  2. I don’t do any of this game but I have always been curious. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this. Although, I enjoy looking at people trying to catch the rarest Pokemon 😍

    1. Haha, it’s certainly interesting to watch people catch Pokemon or having friends take random photos of you with the wild Pokemon that’s nearby. 🙂

  3. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I *almost* downloaded this game once…maybe twice. 🙂 It’s hard to argue with getting a daily dose of cuteness, and I do love the animation style of the game. But in it, do you literally just keep collecting cats, or do they come and go with different ones appearing each day?

    1. Haha, no literal collecting of cats, which is the beauty of this game. The cats just come and go as they please. After a while, you see the same cats visit you again and again. Those are the not so rare cats. If you place the right item in your yard, then you’ll see a rare cat like Joe DeMeowgio or Tubbs as I mentioned in the post. 🙂 It’s cute and it’s fun to see what cats pop in to play or rest for a while.

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