How the video game ‘Stray’ is helping rescue real-life cats

Correction: The NewsHour has edited the transcript to reflect the proper spellings of “Raphael Almeida” and “Gatos De Francisca.” We regret the error. 

"Stray," an award-winning video game featuring a stray cat, is helping rescue animals. Online streamers are using their platforms to raise money for felines without a home. The PBS NewsHour spoke to a number of people who are using a virtual stray to help real-life cats.

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  • John Yang:

    An award-winning video game featuring a stray cat is helping rescue animals. Gamers with audiences who watch them play online known as streamers are using their platform to raise money for felines without a home. We spoke to a number of the people who are using a virtual stray to help real life cats.

  • Jeff Legaspi, Annapurna Interactive:

    My name is Jeff Legaspi. And I'm the Marketing Director at Annapurna Interactive.

    Stray is a third person video game where you play as a cat exploring a post-apocalyptic city. It's inhabited by robots and animals, but no humans. And so, you play us the cat that has been separated from its small family of other cats. And you are exploring the city and trying to find a way out. It was a bit of a no brainer for us to see if there were organizations that would be more than happy to partner up with us.

  • Brendan Gepson, Nebraska Humane Society:

    My name is Brendan Gepson. And I'm a Marketing Specialist at The Nebraska Humane Society. We decided that the best way to collaborate would be to give away several game codes for the game stray through our Twitter account through $5 donations. It was very successful from the initial fundraiser we raised about $8,000.

  • No Name Given:

    Oh, my goodness. Oh, it's so cute. Look at him go. Me and my wife had our first cat at the Humane Society on the day after Thanksgiving in 2015. Her name is Paro. She's a little gray Tabby, and she's three legged. And then as an engagement gift, a couple of our friends brought us an orange kitten. He has become a giant fluffy 18-pound Orange Maine Coon cat. You may say I was asking if there were any local streamers that wanted to charity stream the game and I felt like I was going to be a perfect fit. We were able to raise just over $1,500. So, I had posted and advertised that I was willing to match up to the first $200. We hit it in like 20 or 30 minutes. It was crazy.

    Destruction here, doing cat stuff. Knocking all the balls around. It's a super thoughtful game. I think it has a really good message. And it does have a lot of like kind of poignant and powerful things to say.

  • Raphael Almeida, Gatos De Francisca:

    The game is beautiful. Playing cats is fun. And the objective of the game is to reunite the cats in the app with his family. And that's exactly what the shelter do after that. My name is Raphael Correa Boa Nova Almeida and I'm one of the volunteers at Gatos De Francisca, a Brazilian shelter in Rio de Janeiro. I had bought the game. I love the game. The amount that we've raised in the raffle was the equivalent of spaying 25 cats.

  • Debbie Distanisloa, Stray Cat Relief Fund:

    This is Mr. Baig. He is from Southwest Philadelphia. He was found outside and he is like a very, very sweet boy. My name is Debbie Distanisloa, I work with stray cat really fun. This year, we came up with the idea that we wanted to maybe host our first 5K walkathon to try to raise money for the medical care for the cats. I contacted Jeff from Annapurna Interactive, and immediately within the next day he said we would definitely love to be a platinum sponsor, which was $4,000.

    We were able to raise $6,500 to go towards the medical care of our cats, which was just absolutely astounding. Just having a stray cat be the star of a video game is just — it's just amazing. We're really hoping that it can shed some more empathy on the community for the stray cat community.

    Help a stray cat when you see them on the street, please take them in. You don't need (inaudible). Kiddies like big out there struggling on the streets.

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