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Why Do Players Love Petting Cats in their Games?

This article introduces cat petting in different types of games and why players love cat petting.

1. The increasingly common games about cats

There is an interesting fact about Chinese new games that in recent years, more and more games have added cat-petting gameplay systems, and some of them even directly take keeping cats as the core gameplay. Some of them are based on the theme of online petting(or as a part of multiple gameplays), in which players can own one or more virtual cats, and even keep large numbers of various cats by feeding and playing with them. Some business simulation games take cats as employees or customers, with the careful petting of the player (feeding) which can gather resources or assist in their business.

Of course in the process the game allows players to keep more cats of their own, and new cats will have more different appearances and functions. There are also some games that get out of the convention of petting (such as feeding cats, playing with cats, taking care of cats) directly features the cat to lead to a series of activities, such as Super Phantom Cat, which take the cat as the protagonist of great adventure, just like Super Mario.

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2. Petting gameplay for the joy of cyber cat petting

Looking back at the cat-petting games or the cat-themed games recommended by people, we found that although there are elements about petting, most of them are idle games or games with management simulation, dress-up, even puzzle-solving as the core gameplay. The focus is not on the petting itself.

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Referring to previous user research results about cyber cat-petting games, what the players really care about is the pleasure brought by watching cat behaviors, and what they desire is the different activities of cats, such as playing with cat dancers, bathing, rolling, and snoring...Only some of them are really interested in how to keep cats and focus on the knowledge related to petting.

Those who enjoy cat-petting gameplay are very similar to those who love petting cats in videos. In the cat-petting games, the joy players have is mainly the pleasure of petting all kinds of cats, especially with their cute appearance in a thousand different ways. The previous user research results have found that the players' general demand for the way of petting and the richness of the interactive way is strong, but there are no obvious requirements for the details, like whether the petting process is realistic, whether the owner needs more interaction with cats.

For example, there are some players hoping the cats to come home more frequently, wanting to change the cats they already have and keep new cats back even the space is not enough, and they would like to know whether the same cats can be sent away. If there are hot springs in the game, some players may hope their cats bathing in the springs(in reality, most cats are afraid of water and never enjoy springs). Compared to this assumption of the need for cat-raising, the real desire of players is cyber petting, which means just enjoying the cuteness of cats. And in the process of keeping cats in games, for players, allows them to have a variety of ways to interact with cats so that they have the opportunity to adore the different loveliness of various cats.

3. Cat-petting games going along with the trend

Adoring cats did not start only from games but gradually spread from the popularity on social networks. Around 2017, people already started discussing why more and more people are showing off their cats online, while at the same time more people are interested in the videos and photos of cats on the Internet. And as this trend shows no sign of slowing over the years, according to the IResearch's study on the petting market in China in 2021, in leading content platforms, the pet content accounts for about 3% of the whole, compared to 2020, the amount, as well as the views, are continuing to increase.

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In leading online platforms, cat-related content occupies 30-40% of all views in the pet content. And the passion for cats is more common among young age groups, 34% of social media users who follow pet information are born after 2000 and 45% are after 1990.

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The continued popularity of cats, with an advantage in young groups, has led more developers to start introducing cat-petting gameplay in their games in order to attract more potential players.

4. Cat-petting just heals people

Consumer research results have shown that round shape reminds consumers of the soft and supple feel of babies; and appearances with large eyes, wide foreheads, plump cheeks that reminiscent of baby faces have similar effects. In addition, the small size is associated with young age, thus producing the same psychological and physical reaction as seeing a baby. The soft (furry) and cute appearance of mammals will also make people think of babies and feel adorable. What is important here, cats are small, furry, with big eyes, round faces, which have the same features that players recognize as cuteness. This same cuteness as infants can stimulate women's bodies to produce hormones, estrogen, and steroids (which are related to recognizing and raising babies). This is probably why so many girls are particularly happy when spending time with cats and can't resist petting them.

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Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz first proposed the point that young animals can stimulate human's desire of showing care, so that people become friendly and gentle and in a happy mood, which researchers called 'Cute Response'. In the case of cat petting games, it refers to the perception of the cuteness of the cat, then making a natural response.

This perception of cuteness is not only physiological but also has a series of effects on people's attitudes and decisions. Research in consumer psychology has found that cuteness triggers consumer responses that are similar to humor, such as feeling relaxed, happy, or familiar. Cuteness can stimulate self-reward tendency for consumers. Self-reward refers to the tendency of people to pursue a goal in order to obtain a reward, such as access to entertainment. As a result, people will purchase products because they perceive cuteness in them, and they will have an additional preference for hedonic products. In addition, consumers are more likely to perceive the satisfaction of caring for others in interactions with adorable individuals, thereby enhancing the sense of self-efficacy (an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments). Satisfying the needs of adorable ones (e.g. buying cute products) can also help consumers build a positive self-concept, improve their social images in others' eyes, and keep them becoming younger mentally.

Thus, it is clear that the process of watching pictures of cute cats, feeding and teasing them online, and earning items to help pet them in games can indeed bring people pleasure and heal their soul, simply due to the adorable cat.

Like in games such as Revelation Mobile, cats exist in an extremely adorable image that attracts people to pet them. They have big eyes as if to say to the player, 'I need you with me all the time'. At the same time, they may become clingy, like they want to cuddle you, then run away and make comfortable sounds. For Revelation, which has a high percentage of female players, it adds to the fun that allows players to relax, in addition to the fighting and competing in the game.

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