The cat is out of the bag.
By popular demand, a sleek little cat has become the newest Monopoly game piece, clawing its way to the top of a nationwide poll. Nabbing 31 percent of a vote on Monopoly’s Facebook fan page, the cat token beat out four potential challengers: a helicopter, a diamond ring, a guitar, and a robot.
Fans from 120 countries voted on the potential newcomers, as well as on which of the existing tokens they wanted to keep. The cat token was unveiled live on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday morning.
That means it’s the end of the line for the iron, which received the lowest percentage of “keep” votes. It was a tight race to the bottom for the iron, shoe, and wheelbarrow, which were tied for last place (at eight percent each) with 12 hours to go.
The surviving tokens include a racecar, a Scottie dog, a battleship, a top hat, a thimble, a shoe, and a wheelbarrow. Of those, the Scottie dog proved the most popular, receiving 29 percent of the votes. The car came in a distant second, followed by the battleship, hat, and thimble, respectively.
The cat’s debut means that two of the animal kingdom’s most natural enemies will be squaring off on the streets of Atlantic City (off of which Monopoly’s properties are based) for the first time. And if US pet ownership demographics tell us anything, then perhaps the Scottie dog has gone unopposed for too long. According to Humane Society statistics, approximately 86.4 million cats are kept as pets in the United States, with 33 percent of households owning at least one cat. A higher percentage of households keep dogs, at 39 percent. But there are fewer owned dogs – 78.2 million. The majority of cat owners, 52 percent, own more than one cat.
This means the millions of cat lovers among us now have a suitable avatar to challenge the Scottie dog’s real estate empire. Meanwhile, it’s sad to see the exit of the iron, which has been with the game from the beginning. But maybe it’s best. A budding real estate mogul doesn’t have time to worry about wrinkled shirts.
Monopoly editions including the new cat token will hit stores sometime this summer. In the meantime, a limited-edition "gold token" version of the game will be released in Target stores this month. It will feature all of the current pieces, including the iron, as well as all of the potential newcomers.