Cats are pretty independent creatures. When I’m away, I get the impression I miss mine more than he misses me. This is especially true now that I’ve introduced him to the Petzi Treat Cam. It’s a Wi-Fi-connected camera that also shoots out treats to your waiting canine or feline friend. My cat loves this thing. He’d love it even more if he could break into it.
I’ve reviewed a number of security cameras in my day, so I have no shortage of videos of my cat. He tends to trip the motion sensor… constantly. The Petzi doesn’t record video, but you can check on your pet remotely thanks to its live-streaming capabilities. You can also snap a photo, and sharing is heavily encouraged by the iOS and Android app’s social features. It’s not perfect (purr-fect?), but it does allow for some quality interaction between you and your pet when you’re not home.
Out of the treat bag
The Petzi isn’t exactly pretty. It’s plastic, white, and rectangular. There are screws for mounting it to the wall and Velcro for affixing it to a piece of furniture. Go rogue and leave it standing by itself, and your pet will knock it down. Whether he was trying to stick his face in the dispenser part of the contraption or batting at it, my cat managed to knock it over a couple times before I wised-up. You’re not supposed to just let it hang out on the floor, though. It shoots the treats, spewing nibblets in several directions, so your pet gets some exercise while going from bit to bit.
Setting up the Petzi was relatively straightforward and involved downloading the app, selecting the camera from the list of Wi-Fi networks under my phone’s settings, and going back to the app to connect the camera. It worked perfectly well the first time, but I had some issues reconnecting after I accidentally unplugged it a few days later.
There are some aspects of the treat cam that are well designed. My cat may have stuck his face in the dispenser, but he never managed to crack it open. While it’s a little annoying that you have to wrench the cover off every time you want to fill it with treats, it does seem to manage to prevent break-ins. The back of the Petzi has channels where you can feed in the cord. This is pretty smart, because the only thing my cat loves more than treats is wires.
There goes your social life
To set up the app, the Petzi wants to know all the deets about your pet. It’s kind of like setting up a dating profile for your cat. I was supposed to add a description (just here for the treats), his age (a kitty never tells), species (so species-ist!), breed (well bred), size (he’s comfortable with his girth), gender (let’s just say he’s neutered), website (maybe the spiderweb on the porch?), and favorite treat (all of them). Of course, most of these had drop-down answers, so my cat’s personality couldn’t really shine through. Then I added his cutest picture (it sort of looks like he’s breakdancing) and was ready to roll.
When you open the app, you’re greeted with an array of pet pics, broken down into sections like “most popular,” “just dogs,” “just cats,” and so on. From the menu button, you can check out your pet’s profile, browse your notifications (when I posted a cat photo, five people “awwed” it), and access the camera feed (no pun intended).
The Petzi doesn’t record video, but you can check on your pet remotely thanks to its live-streaming capabilities.
The 720p camera is pretty grainy, but it gets the job done. The camera doesn’t pan or tilt, so what you see on screen is what you get, and you can’t capture video. From the camera screen, you can take a (grainy) picture, talk to your pet (the audio only goes one way, though), and shoot the treats. The little jingle that plays every time you pull up the camera on the app had a Pavlovian effect on my cat, who would lazily make his way to the camera on his own sweet time. But the feeder jammed when I was out of town once, and he was not happy. I checked on him via the app a few minutes later, and his face was right in front of the device, looking, if not disgruntled, far from gruntled, to quote P.G. Wodehouse.
As a camera, the Petzi isn’t that great. It’s picture and the pictures you can take with it aren’t crisp, and if your pet is doing something adorable, you can’t capture the video. But it’s main function, as a dispenser of treats, will certainly make your pet happy. While you could possibly set an automatic feeder to deliver treats while you’re out of town or at work, the Petzi makes it more interactive. Plus, my cat was more likely to come over to this camera than any other I’ve tested, thanks to the promise of treats.
While the social aspect wasn’t something I ever got into, it’s nice that people have a place that’s solely pet-centric. For $170, it’d be nice if it looked a little prettier and didn’t jam. Overall, I wish I loved it as much as my cat does.
- Easy to use
- Fun way to interact with your pet
- Pets love it
- A jingle brings your pet to the camera
- Low-quality video
- Treats get jammed
- Bulky design