Can't keep your cat from getting its claws in to your iPad? You are not alone, according to RMIT researchers who are claiming pets could be gaming as much as their owners.
RMIT University's Professor Larissa Hjorth said a three-year study into the everyday gaming activities of Australians revealed people are playing electronic games devices — and so are their cats.
"When we started, we were not expecting to find anyone other than humans playing games but it seems their animals are joining in with them as well," Hjorth, from the School of Media and Communication, said.
"We are all aware that some families have animals that are part of the family but when we began our research, we didn't think the interaction between the humans and animals would extend to things like play and gaming."
Hjorth said the researchers were surprised by the results.
"It's a case of cats watching their family members and noticing when the games are about to start and wanting to join in," she said.
While the study initially found just one home where a cat played on an iPad she has since discovered more in other Australian capital cities.
"It seems in some homes that cats are seen as equal members of the family and the relationship between humans and their animals now extends to play."
Drawing from her three-year ethnography into Australian households and their use of mobile gaming as part of broader socio-cultural practices, Hjorth said playful media saturate our lives.
An artist and digital ethnographer, Hjorth will explore the connection between art, games and play at an exhibition in which audiences are invited to consider connections between contemporary and older forms of playful media.
The Art of Play connects the histories of play by exploring the entanglements between online and offline, and past and present. The exhibition will be held at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy, until 6 September.