French Society for the Protection of Animals drops real, abandoned cat avatars into ‘Stray’ game to raise awareness  

David Murphy

Every summer, many cars are abandoned in France. To raise awareness about the issue, and animal adoption amongst French people, especially younger generations, the French Society for the Protection of Animals (La SPA) and its partner agency Havas Play, have launched a campaign that models real cats from their shelters directly in the video game, Stray.

Havas Play and La SPA have incorporated five real rescued cats directly into the game, in which the player embodies a small cat wandering in the deserted streets of a forgotten city.

Instead of playing the main character, La SPA offers all players the option of putting themselves in the paws of one of five cats – Pastelle, Doc, P’tite Crevette, Zoya and Câline – currently waiting in their shelters, looking for a home. It’s a way to put them in the spotlight and encourage their quick adoption, but also to draw attention to all the other cats still waiting for a better life.

“This summer was particularly challenging for our teams,” said Jacques-Charles Fombonne, President of la SPA. “They had to face the saturation of our 63 shelters and SPA houses. They took in more than 10,150 cats who are now waiting for a new family. What better way to showcase them than in a successful video game? We are proud to present five cats we have taken in and we hope they will become ambassadors for the thousands of cats abandoned in our shelters. Beyond getting to know them in a virtual world, we hope that players will push the doors of our shelters to establish a real contact with them and hopefully become responsible adopters offering them a new life.”

The campaign will be amplified by dozens of influencers and streamers who will give visibility to the five cats.