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Tried doing video/webcam chat with some family back home, both of us via a built-in webcam in our notebook computers and both via the video chat built into GMails Google Talk (the web client, not the downloadable desktop client).

It worked great the first 2 times.

But yesterday when we started the video chat session, their image was .... a bizarre (and somewhat creepy) white cat whose eyes and mouth are animated to look like it is doing the talking. I wish I had caught a screen capture.

Anyway, regardless as to whether I started the chat, or whether they started it, it was the same. They saw my image just fine, but they too saw the cat in the mini picture-in-picture that shows you how you are centered on the camera.

So... what on earth was going on? I tried to Google around, but Googling for anything with the word "cat" in it turns up half of the internet.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is actually a webcam effect from a program included with the person's webcam software. I think both Dell and HP (not limited to these, just an example) come with programs that allow that cat image, along with a variety of others, such as UFOs, mirror-imaging, border effects, and the like.

(Click on the pictures for a better view)

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That is totally the cat I saw. Strange that it defaulted to that after working normally previously - I am certain my dad didn't poke around his settings (very much not tech savvy) – Matt Aug 25 '10 at 15:45
Any idea what the software is called? And where did you find those images? – Matt Aug 25 '10 at 15:46
If he isn't the kind that would download a program, than more than likely it was pre-included software on his PC, which should make it easy to find the name of the program. Where did your dad get his computer from? – Corey Aug 25 '10 at 15:51
It looks like CyberLink YouCam. It came preinstalled on my HP laptop. – BillP3rd Aug 25 '10 at 15:56
Actually, your dad's PC is probably a Dell (correct me if I'm mistaken) because 1) I remember my friend using that same effect and 2) it's the first result for "Dell webcam effect" on Google. Dell computers usually come with a Webcam Center that pops up on the screen anytime the webcam is accessed. It's quite annoying actually. – Corey Aug 25 '10 at 16:00

Are you using Skype? They have a cat as an avatar. I have heard of people somehow having Skype switch to the avatar. Looking in your settings.

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I definitely was not on Skype (it's not even installed). Who knows what my father had installed, but I seriously doubt he has skype installed (I tried walking him through Dropbox today, and after about 2 mins he quit because it was too complicated). We were both on the video chat inside GMail. – Matt Aug 25 '10 at 15:25

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