My life was taken over by Neko Atsume: A True Story

My life was taken over by Neko Atsume: A True Story

One day, I downloaded an app called Neko Atsume.

neko atsume logo

I thought I was downloading a casual, low commitment cat-collecting game developed for iOS and Android by Hitpoint. I thought I was going to go “oh cute” and then never touch the app again. Then I caught my first cat.

neko atsume screengrab

Look at it.

neko atsume bad cat


neko atsume bad cat


neko atsume bad cat


The premise of Neko Atusme is remarkably simple: you arrange objects and food to entice cats to visit so you can take photos of them to store in your catbook.  The cats will leave you gifts of silver or gold fish, which you can use to purchase different objects and foods. Because the cats have different tastes, a variety is necessary to attract all 49 of them to your yard.

Some cats are rarer than others. While most of the cats are standard, adorable little animated puffballs, there are 17 rare cats with unique costumes and ironic, pun-filled names that will taunt you with their elusivity.

Except for Tubbs.

neko atsume tubbs

I hate you, Tubbs.

I haven’t spent this much time arranging objects  outdoors since a song told me that milkshakes could bring boys to my yard (but only if they’re better than yours*).

Neko Atsume brings all the joys of having a yard full of cats without the ammonia stench of cat-urine and hair-raising yowls of unprotected cat sex wafting through your window at 3AM. Next to being able to wear slippers without the risk of discovering hairballs inside of them, the best part about Neko Atsume is the low commitment needed to play the game.

The cats come to the yard after a period of inactivity. To play the game, you simply just open the app and see what felines are in your yard. It’s that easy.

After a cat has visited your yard several times and decided it likes you, the cat will leave you a memento.

neko atsume billy the cat

neko astume billy the cat mementos

There’s no right or wrong way to play Neko Atsume. However, collecting every cat in the game AND the mementos is a challenging goal.

The game is free to download and play. The cats will occasionally bring you the rare gold fish needed to buy the more expensive upgrades. While gold fish can be purchased in store, it’s almost more fun to wait and see how many gold fish you can amass by luring your feline friends to the yard.

neko atsume gold fish

Of course, just because you only need to open the app once or twice a day doesn’t mean you won’t soon develop a horrible obsession with periodically checking your yard to see what cats are there.

Scientists are speculating that a parasitic infection caused by toxoplasmosis is responsible for making people obsessive about cats. If that’s the case, then the developers of Neko Atsume managed to make the digital version of this parasite because Neko Atsume is addicting as hell.

I’ve already convinced eight other people to play the game.


It’s not even a cooperative game. There are no perks for inviting other people.

And sure, there are other things I could be doing instead of obsessively checking my phone every hour to see what cats are there, but at the end of the day, they’re not that fun.

Besides, I can quit whenever I want.

It’s not like I’m addicted to Neko Atsume.

How to Neko Atsume – my tips

If you’re going to risk playing the game, here are a few helpful hints to make sure Neko Atsume consumes your life as quickly as it did mine.

Save up for the kotatsu.

neko atsume kotatsu

The kotatsu is only 60 gold fish and it’s a large item, meaning it takes up 2 spaces instead of 1. However, the Kotatsu can fit up to four cats on it at once, meaning you can really bring in the bacon (or sashimi, as the case may be). The kotatsu can help you quickly accumulate fish to purchase other big-game items like the yard expansion.

Buy canned food in bulk.

Ritzy Blitz only costs 7 goldfish and sashimi only 12 goldfish if you buy in bulk; the option comes up once you tap to purchase, so don’t double tap too quickly.

You can get free fish each day by inputting the daily password.

neko atsume daily password

neko atsume gifts

In your menu, click news, and then after that Other—Connect—Input Daily Password. After five successful daily passwords, you can gain a free cat of food.

Play at your peril.

You’ve been warned. Neko Atsume will consume your life, too.

*(Damn right, they’re better than yours.)