You really can't go wrong with a live YouTube video titled -- in all caps -- "PLAY WITH A CAT AND FEED IT ONLINE 24/7." This is what the internet was born for. What you get is a live feed of a corner of a room containing two automated cat feeders, an LED light, a cat condo and a fluffy toy on a string. If you're lucky, you'll also get an orange tabby cat.
The YouTube live-chat feature lets you control what happens on-screen. You can use commands starting with "/play" to move the toy around. Color commands change the LED light.
Russian software engineer Alex Ulitin started the live feed earlier in October and Boing Boing brought it to our attention on Tuesday.
The cat roams free, so it's not constantly on the screen. A monetary donation made through thetriggers the release of a small amount of kibble from one of the dispensers, which may tempt the fuzzy critter to step into the frame. The cat can also push a button on the floor to dispense food for itself.
Ulitin writes, "NO GUARANTEE THAT CAT COMES for your donation but we have Imperial March playing before the treats dispense. We can't do much if that doesn't help." Maybe that means the cat is a Star Wars fan.
Like all cats, Ulitin's tabby will do what it wants when it wants to, so you may be staring at a feline-free video feed for quite some time before it decides to make a cameo appearance. Ulitin sometimes jumps into the live chat to let viewers know if the kitty is full and if he's lying on the couch off-screen.
As a YouTube novelty, this is not the worst way to whittle away at your free time, and it may even be good for your health. If you're impatient, then you can check out a prerecorded portion and fast-forward to the cat action parts.