If you already know about Neko Atsume—the Japanese kitty-collecting app that has inspired a bunch of adorable toys, the term “loafing,” an active subreddit, and a whole lot of adults yelling at their phones, “HOW DO I GET ALL THE CATS??!!”—then you understand why 3/4 of the Mercury staff are fully engrossed in this game.

Yup, this is what we’re doing now. Collecting digital cats by rearranging digital furniture and then talking about it. Thanks, Internet!

  • CD Skehan.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about the app, I envy you. Now listen up, because you are about to build the most dazzling cat yard the world has ever seen!

How to after the jump>>

*You’ll be given an empty yard.
*You’re going to fill it with furniture, kitty treats, and toys.
*Cats will come (but only when the app is closed, so have patience young cat-collector).
*Kitties will lounge, play, eat, and sleep on the things you’ve strategically placed in your yard.
*Kitties are very cute, have unique personalities, and have xs for buttholes.
*Kitties will leave you silver and gold fish currency.
*You will in turn use this valuable fish currency to buy them more extravagant cat amenities.
*You will take photos of your cats as they visit. You will become obsessive about this.
*Eventually your kitties will also leave you mementos, things like, “a beautiful osprey feather,” “matches that are too damp to light,” or the coveted, “cast-off skin from a molting cicada.”
*You’ll attempt to collect all the cats, and their mementos to “win.” Note: This will never happen.

It will start looking like this…

[crickets, wind whistling, screen door slamming in the distance] —Steve Humphrey
  • [crickets, wind whistling, screen door slamming in the distance] —Steve Humphrey

But fear not! Someday your yard will become a bustling center of cat commerce!

Its like Division street! —Steve Humphrey
  • Katie Peifer
  • It's like Division street! —Steve Humphrey

Pro-tip! To start, save all your gold fish for your yard expansion. Doubling the size of your yard is expensive, and will probably take you about a week of active playing to save up, but it’s worth it! None of that fancy food, only thrifty bits until you get that yard expansion! Then you can level up to sashimi which will inevitably devoured by Tubbs, leaving you in a blind rage.

God damn it, Tubbs!
  • Katie Peifer
  • God damn it, Tubbs!

A note on rare cats: There are 17 rare cats that will visit your yard. What makes them rare you ask? Well, their silly outfits and ridiculous names, of course!

Can you spot Senor Don Gato, Joe DiMeowgio, and Mr. Meowgi?
  • Can you spot Senor Don Gato, Joe DiMeowgio, and Mr. Meowgi?

You can easily cheat and find a full list of things to buy to make rare or special kitties show up. That’s what I did, because I'm an impatient cheater by nature. But don’t think cheating makes Neko Atsume any easier. I’m still waiting on goddamn Katmandu to show up and chill in this goddamn expensive-ass lacquered bowl.

Neko Atsume, at it’s core, teaches the very zen lesson that you have no control. ABSOLUTELY NONE.

Check back next week for a Neko Atsume update: Tubbs is a fat asshole, quit hogging the green pillow Breezy, and more!