If you’re a fan of cards and cats, you should probably be playing Shuffle Cats. The multiplayer mobile game, from King, the makers of the uber-addictive Candy Crush, brings you to 1920s London, where a gang of four wily cats run a casino called Lucky Lane. You play a version of Rummy with the likes of Montie, Bob, Walter or Ruby — or against opponents all around the world.
King recently held a nationwide contest, a “catsing call,” to select ‘America’s Next Shuffle Cat,’ for a real-life feline to join the Shuffle Cats gang for a weekend. The winning cat would be animated and star as the co-host of Walter’s Workshop, a weekly game feature where players try out new rules and challenges from Walter, the wacky, inventor cat.
Hundreds of cat owners across the country submitted photos of their cats for consideration.
On Tuesday afternoon at Marquee in Chelsea, the four feline finalists strutted down a “cat walk” to compete for winner.
Hannah Simone, who plays Cece on Fox’s hit sitcom “New Girl,” judged alongside Joanna Zelman, executive-editor of The Dodo, and Ben Hollis, lead game designer at King.
One very lucky kitty, a nine-year-old Seal Point Himalayan by the name of Wylie Coyote Super Genius,was named the winner. The feline from Fresno, California with big blue eyes and a Grumpy Cat expression easily charmed the judges, leading him to beat out the tuxedoed, showcat-esque Tigger from South Hampton, NY, the feisty, tiger-striped Jetta from Nebraska, and the shy but curious black and white Booger from New Hampshire.
But it was a senior cat that forced the judges’ hands.
Simone, who has “two old man cats” of her own, said it was Wylie’s age and maturity that would make him a wise addition to the crew.
The 36-year-old, who calls herself “the biggest cat lover in the world,” expressed excitement at the opportunity to judge, explaining that Shuffle Cats is the perfect game for her. “If I’m going to play a game online it had better have cats in it,” she joked. Simone, who says she played Rummy as a kid, added that the “global social element” of the game also appeals to her because growing up, her family moved countries every two years. “I love that you can play against someone in India, or Poland,” she said.
When the L.A.-based star isn’t busy filming “New Girl,” which is midway through season 6, she spends as much time as she can with her three rescue cats: Jake and Frank, ages 10 and 14, and a brand new kitty named Alfie. (Follow their adventures on Instagram@havecatzwilltravel.)
That’s not just a clever handle; she does travel with her cats, taking them on road trips across the country. Her preferred mode of travel: in an RV. “That way, they have their own space, which is really nice,” she explained. “If you want to pull over on the side of the road and eat at a restaurant, they’re fine. They’re comfortable, they find their own nooks and crannies.”
Simone does have a feline co-star on “New Girl”: Ferguson, who belongs to the character of Winston. When asked about their onscreen rapport, she exclaimed, “They’ve never let me work with him! I have never done a scene with that cat! It’s the oddest thing, because they know me, they know how much I love my cats and rescuing animals, and then they’re like, it’s going to be Lamorne [Morris]’s. Whattt?”
“I said, if we ever get a second cat on this show, come to me,” she joked.