Gigi from Paris: I have become completely obsezzed by an app called Neko Atsume. Do you know how eet works and why eet eeze impossible for me to put down? S’il vous plait?

Ah so. I understand the obsession completely. Neko Atsume (which means Kitty Collector) is an irresistible little app developed in Japan that allows you to buy (with sardines and gold fish) food, toys, and comfortable or fashionable accessories to entice a cadre of kitties to visit your home and its extension as well as other houses you might purchase.(There’s the original style home; Zen; Rustic; and Modern). Luring different kitties who stay to play or eat will earn you more fish after they leave. And that allows you to buy more stuff. The more you earn, the more you spend. Some toys or amenities earn more. Tubbs, the beach umbrella, the green cushion and several of the balls are big earners. If you prowl around online you’ll find engineers and analytics specialists who’ve tracked what goods attract the biggest fish earners so you can get a jump on the game.

The tricky part is that you never see the kitties come or go live on the screen. You have to close the app in order to attract them. So it’s really an algorithm that tells you how many kitties visited you. It’s not like they’re walking around in your iPhone when you’re not observing. If you have a tough time earning the first home extension (the original confined space can seem pretty claustrophobic) you can actually buy some fish with real money to acquire the house extension. But it’s really not necessary. In 6 – 10 days you should have enough play fish to do the trick.

What’s the attraction anyway? Well, there’s something that’s really appealing about the plump animated kitties, the meow sound, the music and trying to please the critters with better amenities, entertainment and exotic food. So it gives you a chance to do on your iPhone what you do for your kitties in real life.

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