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Cats Pokies

Cats is a pokie game that has been at the centre of IGT’s range for years. Its enduring popularity is not only down to the pictures of wild cats that take up much of the reels, but also down to some innovative features such as Split Symbols that can stretch winning lines for bigger payouts, plus there’s wild substitutions, scatter wins and a free spins game to enjoy as well.

Even though this game has been around for a while, the design and gameplay are still pretty much up to date and players still flock to this game like a moggie to catnip.

Playing with Cats

Anyone looking for cute domesticated cats should look elsewhere, as the felines in this game are all wild animals. They land on 5 reels, with symbols in 3 rows and running across the game, there’s 30 lines, although players can activate fewer if they want to place smaller bets.

Activating all lines means that all winning combinations that land on the reels will count and this can be done for a minimum of just 0.30 per spin, while those who like to bet more can adjust up from there.

To give a bit more atmosphere to Cats, a picture of the African landscape peeks out from behind the reels, but apart from a decorative frame surrounding the main part of the game, there’s nothing particularly special about the layout, which will suit most people who just want to get on with spinning the reels.

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The Jack, Queen, King and Ace playing card symbols are included in the line-up of Cats, with J, Q and K being worth 5x, 15x or 100x the amount staked per line when they stop across an active one, on adjacent reels running form the left side. The A pays out slightly more, with 8x, 20x or 200x returned to players when 3, 4 or 5 land across a line.

But this game is all about the cats, and would be fairly pointless otherwise, so it’s the pictures of mountain lions, cheetahs, tigers, lions and black panthers that are important. The panther is the most valuable of the regular symbols, being worth 10x when it lands on 3 reels, 30x or 100x for 3, 4 or 5 on a line.

Straight away, this is clearly less than the Ace is worth, but the trick is that all cat symbols come in two formats, single and double. Although there are only 5 reels in this pokie, double-cat symbols count as 2 individual icons and if for example a single panther lands on reel 1 and a double on reel 2, this will count as 3 panthers and pay out accordingly.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, anyone landing a full row of double symbols will be paid out for a line of 10, which in the case of the panther is 2,500x, which is how it earns a place as the most valuable cat.

Bonus Features

On top of the double symbol rewards, there are a couple of more conventional bonus features in play, with the Cats logo being a wild symbol that substitutes for all except the bonus if it can help to create a winning combination.

If the wild acts as a cat symbol, it will be counted as a double and when it makes up a line on its own, players are in for the biggest rewards of the game, with 10,000x paid out for a line of 5.

The bonus symbol is a paw print, and landing 5 of them anywhere on reels 2, 3 and 4 will trigger 6 free spins, while 6 will be the start of 10 free spins. The paw print can also appear as a double symbol, so it’s a bit easier to enter the free spins round, but even if not enough land, players still win 2x their total stake per spin when 4 of them turn up.

The Verdict

There’s a couple of good reasons why Cats has been so popular for so long. First and foremost is the simple fact that lots people like them, but even the most appealing of animals wouldn’t hold their attention for long if the gameplay was sub-standard.

The outstanding feature of this game is without doubt the Split Symbols which stretch winning combinations and while payouts for landing 3, 4 or 5 cat symbols are nothing special, it tends to be fairly easy to get at least 1 or 2 of the doubles creating lines longer than 5.

Wild substitutions are common across most pokies, although the fact that these can count as doubles is an extra boost, but the free spins bonus game is a standard format, with nothing added to the reels to make them more rewarding.

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