Who says companions have to be sentient beings? Certainly not 21st century technology, which has now produced a robotic cat to keep the elderly company (because sometimes, cleaning a litter box just gets to be too much). For $99, you can buy your lonely grandparent a fake feline, one that can “vibra-purr,” meow, and roll over. Really, it’s quite the deal — you never have to worry about buying food or cleaning up after your robotic pet, and it’ll still love you to the best of its mechanical capabilities.
“Joy for All” pets are robotic cats that “look, feel, and sound like real cats,” Hasbro claims on its website, which allows customers to choose from one of three varietals — orange tabby, silver, and creamy white. Noting that these pretend pets are “so much more than soft fur, soothing purrs, and pleasant meows,” the toy company claims that the robots “respond to petting, hugging, and motion much like the cats you know and love. This two-way give-and-take helps create a personally rich experience that can bring fun, joy, and friendship to you and your loved ones ages 5 to 105.”
Companionship has long been heralded as a defense against dementia, and pets are often prescribed as therapy treatment for older individuals. Robot pets have even made their way into pop culture, with Aziz Ansari’s hit Netflix show, “Master of None,” featuring a robotic seal that helps a character’s grandfather make it through the day.
“We believe that the power of play can bring joy to people at all stages of life, and we’ve heard from our friends, fans, and consumers that some of our toys and games are especially appealing to seniors and enhance meaningful interactions with their loved ones,” Hasbro says on its website.
The robotic cat even comes with an instruction guide that teaches you how to make the most of your pet experience. And seeing as it’s just a fraction of the $6,000 seal seen in “Master of None,” this furry friend seems like the ideal Christmas gift for that lonely someone in your life.