The first-ever game jam dedicated to the world’s fluffy little murderballs is just one week away.

Cats are cute. Cats are also perfect killing machines. In fact, it’s that murderous nature that makes them so adorable; all that horsing around they do, like when they’re gleefully bouncing around after a laser dot? Yeah, that’s just practice for murder.

Anyway, getting back to the point, it’s fun to watch them cut loose when they can’t actually eviscerate whatever it is they’re chasing, and that has apparently turned videogame development for cats into something of a cottage industry. There are websites dedicated to the craft and last summer, Gamasutra actually ran an article entitled “Five Tips For Making Vidoegames Your Cat Wants to Play.” And now Purina is about to hold the first-ever game jam for cats.

The Games For Cats Hackathon runs March 23 and 24 at the Amplify campus in Los Angeles. Entrance costs $20, but there are some pretty serious prizes up for grabs: $15,000 for first place, $3000 for second place and $2000 for third. Development criteria isn’t clear beyond “create an app or game for cats,” but given that they don’t have thumbs, it’s likely that most entries will involve batting at things on the screen.

I won’t be in LA this weekend and I don’t know anything about programming anyway, but if I was involved in this feline game fest I think I’d opt for a sound-based game that meowed, hissed and growled at random intervals, with frequency increasing as the cat smacks the screen. Realistic-looking cat eyes would appear on the screen every now and then, blink a couple of times and disappear, and every ten minutes or so, just to keep things fresh, DOG! – a big, dumb, full-screen dog face, complete with heavy, slobbery, so-happy-to-see-you panting noises. Hey, I know what cats like.

So if you dig cats, know something about programming and plan on being in LA over the weekend with nothing to do, why not give it a look? There’s even food – presumably people food, but I make no promises. Get all the details at the official Games For Cats Hackathon website.

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