Your cat likes tech, too! We review the best pet tech gadgets – 3 of the coolest, entertaining toys for your cat to play with when home alone. Hex Bug has an inexpensive, creative mouse, Petcube brings interaction with your cat (video chat + laser pointer / treats) when you aren’t around, and SHRU gives a new take on things for cats to chase.
The Hex Bug Mouse Cat Toy (around $12) is the tech version of the old wind-up mouse toys. Bring your cats’ experience into the 21st century! This cute mouse toy exhibits realistic random movement, starting, stopping and pausing just like a real mouse!
It can navigate around objects, find its way out of corners and flip from its back to its feet. So if you cat is having a great time batting this mouse around, you don’t have to constantly put the mouse back on it’s feet.
The only downside is that this only works on hard surfaces. Linoleum and hardwood floors are best, but it’ll still move around on tiles and concrete. But not suitable for use on carpets or rugs.
And, the batteries are included!
This 30 second video will make you smile
The Petcube Play Wi-Fi Pet Camera (about $150) is a cube containing a full HD (1080p, with Night Vision capability) Video camera, 2-Way Audio Chat (single speaker, single microphone), and Interactive Laser Toy.
It’s great to be able to check in on your pet, day or night, to see what’s going on when you aren’t around. The camera has a wide angle (138° viewing), a 3X zoom, and night vision IR lighting. It’s like spying on your cat!
Similar to a security system, the camera will start recording whenever it detects sound and motion. You can watch the last 4 hours of recordings, included with the Petcube cloud storage. If you want to keep a multi-day 24/7 video history, you can sign up for a subscription plan.
With the 2-way audio “chat” (although my cat doesn’t contribute much for her side of the conversation), you can talk to your pet from your smartphone / tablet / computer. I think the cat enjoys hearing my voice, but sometimes gets that odd tilt to the head as if wondering why I’m talking from a cube.
The most fund is the laser toy, controlled from the smartphone app. It’s pet (and people save), so no worries about burning down the house or shooting holes in the furniture. And if I’m going to be stuck in a meeting or driving, there is a cool “autoplay” mode where the laser pointer works on it’s own to entertain my cat.
To take advantage of all these features, you’ll need a decent internet connection (recommended is 2MB upload / 1MB download), a 2.4GHz WiFi (not yet available for 5GHz) and updated software on your smart device (iOS 9.3 / higher, or Android 5.1 / higher)
They have another variation of this, where it changes the laser pointer for a treat dispenser: Petcube Bites Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser (about $200). You get all the same features and functionality of the laser pointer version (minus the laser pointer) in a different type of cube to handle the treat tossing.
Personally, I’m torn between the laser and the treats. With the built-in treat dispenser, with a tap / launch (a lot like Angry Birds) you can fling a treat for your pet. You can also set it up for an automatic, scheduled treat tossing.
It usually sends out 1 to 5 pieces at a time, depending on the size of the nugget. I’d advise testing it out first to see how much you get for your variety of dry (do NOT use wet, it’ll clog up!), crunchy food. There is a setting on the app for “large” or “small” size, so you can customize this somewhat.
Here’s a 2 minute intro video:
Last is the PDX Pet Design SHRU (around $120), which is promoted as the “Intelligent Cat Companion”.
This egg shape with a feather tail is intriguing to cats, probably because they are trying to figure out just what it’s supposed to be as they have fun chasing it around. It’s entertaining to watch as well.
There are 4 other “tails” (with more coming) that can be interchanged to keep things interesting.
We like that it has a USB rechargeable battery, and you get at least a week or two of play time between recharges.
The SHRU movements and audio are well programmed, mimicking a small animal’s erratic movements and sounds. To keep your cat from getting bored with this toy, there are 3 different play modes you can select from.
Another nice thing about this toy, it detects obstacles so it doesn’t get stuck in a corner or keep running into the same wall. It even “struggles” when trapped, giving your cat the satisfaction of the hunt.
It’s a bit pricey for a cat toy, but it does have a high engagement factor.
Check out this video of the toy in action
So what’s it going to be? You can order one, or all, of these toys and be playing with them in a day or two:
– Hex Bug Mouse Cat Toy (around $12)
– Petcube Play Wi-Fi Pet Camera (about $150)
– Petcube Bites Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser (about $200)
– PDX Pet Design SHRU (around $120)