Cat naps are the real selling point of Stray

Stray wastes no time in laying on the charm. It’s there when your furry friend first lets out a squeaky meow, daring you not to put your life immediately on the line for them. It comes pouring out of the controller as our feline hero kneads rugs, like Paul Hollywood’s tabby cousin. And who among us can’t say they melted inside when the robot made a little heart face as you nuzzled up against it?

As many pet owners will know, there are times when just sitting near your best bud and doing nothing is restorative.

These instances of arresting cuteness aren’t the reason I’m so fond of this irresistible indie, however. No, the best moments of Stray – which you can play for free on PS4 and PS5 – are its most contemplative ones. Early on in the game, I pad across the rooftops of the Slums, an area where the only light comes from humming neon signs. Spotting a robot gazing up at the sky, their legs dangling, clearly lost in thought, I head over to take in the scene and discover I can curl up near them.

(Image credit: BlueTwelve)

As the cat starts to slumber – a soul-warming purr coming through my DualSense PS5 controller – the camera slowly zooms out to give me a dioramic of the city, letting me meditatively drift as if floating away from the game itself. In that moment, all I can think about is the time I used to spend with my own cat, and that’s the magic Stray captures when you nestle down for a nap. The real joy of owning a pet is captured in these fleeting little snoozes.

One paw-fect moment

As many pet owners will know, there are times when just sitting near your best bud and doing nothing is restorative. Throughout the Covid lockdown, I’d sometimes see that my cat, Mitzi, was just chilling on the bed – and so I would lie down near her and enjoy the company. Maybe it would be to listen to music while she stretched over my legs. Sometimes it would be to talk at her, which I’m sure was much to her annoyance. At others, it was just to look at something infinitely cuter than the walls I’d been staring at all day. I’m not quite sure how I would have coped without these little breaks in my day.

Stray's cat protagonist takes a break from the action.

(Image credit: BlueTwelve)

These are the moments that came flooding back to me the first time I wandered into a sleeping spot in Stray. Approaching a bot for a snooze was a reminder of the time I spent with Mitzi, and struck me in a way that no mashing of the meow button could ever do.

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