Play with cats online? Animal shelter ‘virtual room’ lets you

If American worker productivity drops in the third quarter of 2012, I'm fairly certain the cause will be traced back to this: iPet Companion, a “virtual play room” that allows anyone, anywhere, to play with criminally cute, reprehensibly distracting orphan cats waiting to be adopted in city shelters.

The Los Angeles Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay Neuter Center, a Mission Hills facility owned by the city of Los Angeles and operated by the nonprofit animal welfare organization Best Friends, launched its iPet Companion virtual play room Wednesday. Cat lovers, compulsive Web surfers and bored cubicle dwellers can go to the iPet Companion page, see a live video feed from the adoption center's “free-roam” cat room and click on “Let's Play.” When it's your turn, screen buttons allow you to manipulate three cat toys in real time.

As mechanical arms dangle and swing toys — “teasers” or “charmers” in cat-person parlance — the human at the other end of the Internet connection can pan or zoom the camera for a closer look. As much as a dog lover might want to scoff, he would have to admit: It's genius.

More here: iPet Companion 'virtual play room' lets cat lovers interact with shelter animals –