11 Pieces of Pet Tech That Prove God Has Abandoned Us

11 Pieces of Pet Tech That Prove God Has Abandoned Us

As a cat-mum myself, I know as much as anyone how owning these loveable little balls of fluff can, at times, feel like a full-time job: these are pooping, shedding, furniture-ruining machines that demand to be fed, walked and played with, all on their own schedule (and sometimes, that schedule is 2AM). Even if you’re someone as averse to smart-devices as I am, there’s something appealing about using tech to automate that hassle away; in fact, I recently caved and bought this fancy electric fountain to cut down on my weekly dish-cleaning time. Consider me a convert.

Pet parents like myself spent close to $US5 ($7) billion last year alone on these sorts of devices — and thanks to all the cats/dogs/gerbils that folks have adopted over the pandemic, that number’s expected to keep on exploding. That means there’s going to be an explosion of new companies with new, techy ideas trying to get a piece of that pie. Naturally, not all of those ideas are winners.

Petcube Bites

Photo: Petcube, Inc
Photo: Petcube, Inc

Petcube Bites is a futuristic looking gadget that promises to deliver us all from the drudgery of throwing treats at our pets and watching them light up with joy: simply load up a few pounds of the tasty stuff into this shiny rectangle, and it’ll take care of the flinging for you whenever you tap a button on a handy-dandy app. There’s a good chance that seeing a snack rocket from some machine on your counter will scare the bejeezus out of your pet (our own Petcube review kinda confirms this), but hey, at least you don’t need to go through the hassle of occasionally stretching your shoulder.


If you say it out loud a few times, Dogphone — much like “towel,” “pagoda,” or “Kardashians,” — is a word that sounds more ridiculous the more you repeat it. Unlike those other things though, the idea of a Dogphone also gets more ridiculous the more you think about it. Because it’s literally a phone for dogs.

The doggy device in question looks less like a phone, and more like a soft squeaky ball that’s loaded with a sensor, and hooked up to the owner’s laptop. When the dog nudges the ball in some way or chews it (as dogs are wont to do), it starts up a video call with the owner’s device. The dog can also answer a call from their mum or dad by nudging/chewing/moving the ball in any way. Naturally, the inventor behind said phone — a Scotland-based researcher named Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas — found her own dog making more accidental calls than anything else; maybe this is a sign that Dog was never meant to have Phone in the first place.


Graphic: Petvation
Graphic: Petvation

Your average low-tech pet door isn’t the best at keeping out four-legged miscreants and the occasional weird dude from shimmying inside your home. Petvation, however, isn’t your average pet door: it’s a door that promises to let in your favourite pup or feline every time, while keeping out those pesky raccoons and squirrels every time. The secret? Facial recognition.

It’s facial recognition. For cats and dogs.

Maybe it’s because my perception’s been tainted by the never-ending drumbeat of reports detailing how facial recognition is Not Great, but something about this product makes my skin crawl. What if this tech messes up somehow — as it’s wont to do when handling people’s faces — and just… leaves my cat outside in the cold? Or what if the (kitty) cops subpoena this company for data, and it leads to my cat being wrongfully arrested? Personally, I don’t have enough money to post bail for my baby, so I’m going to give this door a pass.


I’m not a dog owner. That said, I’ve seen enough of them walking the streets to know that the average pup isn’t what I’d call… stoic; unlike the cats I’ve got at home, these are beasts that let you know what they’re feeling: when they’re guilty, you’ll see it in their eyes. When they’re happy, you’ll see it in their wagging tail. When they’re excited, they’re gonna jump all over you. But if none of that’s obvious enough, you could also spend a cool $US250 ($347) to buy the Inupathy vest, which brands itself as “the worlds’ first dogs mental visualizer.” Not unlike those cheap mood rings that are kinda coming back in style, the vest uses your pup’s body temperature and heart rate to to sense their “mood,” and turns a different colour in kind: red means excited, blue means relaxed, and so on. You could also save the money and, y’know, watch your dog relax for the same effect. If you really wanted.


Photo: MOAI
Photo: MOAI

Let’s just call the Moai what it is: a Fish Roomba. The device (which has a surprising amount of love on Kickstarter), quite literally operates the same way an average robo-vacuum would, if that vac was designed for fish, instead of people. It hugs either side of the tank and, at regular intervals, leaves its little Roomba-esque dock to sweep across the glass and rub off any algae/slime/miscellaneous fishy muck. Is it convenient? Sure — I’m a sucker for robo-vacs in general, and can definitely see the utility of something like this for the busy, high-tech aquarium enthusiast. But there’s also something about the idea of a — let me just say this again — Fish Roomba that also strikes me as a sign that science has perhaps gone too far.

Puppy Tweets

Photo: JEONGHYEON NOH, Shutterstock
Photo: JEONGHYEON NOH, Shutterstock

Though it had been around for a while before then, 2011 was the year that Twitter first started popping off for all sorts of reasons, and that means brands started taking notice. One of those brands was the toy giant Mattel, which that year released PuppyTweets, a gadget that promised to let your dog take part in the new hotness that was Twitter Dot Com.

In practice, PuppyTweets is just a plastic tag hooked up to an associated Twitter account that you, the owner, set up. When then tag detects some sort of jostling or barking, it randomly posts one of 500 different canned doggy tweets to that account: something like “woof,” or “bark,” I’d assume. At the time, Mattel Brands President Neil Friedman said that the product was “a new frontier,” in the world of human-pet interaction. But really, PuppyTweets is just a way to inflict the unique hell of the world’s worse social network onto your poor hapless pup.


Ever want a leash that could charge your phone? What about a leash that could recommend the perfect walkie length for your furry pal, based on their breed, age, and weight, which the leash also knows (for some reason)? What about a leash that’s also a social network? Well, buckle up, because Carlos is all of those things and more.

Paw Me

Paw Me is, sadly not available anymore (I checked), which honestly might be a good thing. Anyone who’s ever played an online multiplayer can attest that somehow, without fail, they almost always devolve into some kind of racist, sexist, toxic stew after enough folks get involved. When the ADL asked gamers nationwide about this as part of its most recent report on the topic, 83% of respondents reported harassment in their scene, while 71% reported “severe abuse,” like physical threats and stalking.

Look, I’m not saying that turning our nation’s cats into a bunch of lil gamers would automatically turn them into a bunch of lil kitty racists slinging lil kitty slurs via their lil kitty headsets. But I’m also not not saying that, y’know?


MeowTalk is an app that promises to translate your cat’s wails, chirps, and regular cat noises into sentences that you can understand; sentences like “mum, where are you?” and “feed me already” and “ow.” The app was developed by a former Amazon Alexa engineer, and the guy built this app presumably using the same smarts. But you have to wonder if the similarities stop there, or if this kitty-friendly recorder has the same… major security flaws that the average Alexa does. If my cat meows into the app, will that meow get stored on some server forever? Is there a shadowy workforce of MeowTalk workers somewhere, analysing that meow and mining it for data to bolster the app’s kitty smarts? Personally, I’m not waiting around to find out.

Lavviebot S

Cats, in a lot of ways, are the perfect low-pressure pet; most of your time together will be spent with them either sleeping, glaring at some blank spot on your wall, or Loafing™️. The only real hassle is the fact that, like all pets, they’re going to need to poop somewhere. And like all pet parents, you’re going to need to keep that spot clean, lest your cat revolt or get seriously ill. Automated litter boxes like the Lavviebot are one way to keep your box-cleaning duty to a minimum, and, as an added bonus, it sends a push alerts to your phone every time your furry pal’s doing their business! If toilet notifications (toiletifications?) aren’t the future of pet-care, I don’t know what is.


Sure, you could spend about $US45 ($62) to buy this automatic cat grooming machine that looks like a tiny, white cactus jutting from your wall. And sure, maybe that would work on some cat breeds, like the short-haired ones in this video. But as the owner of a ridiculously floofy cat myself, I can confirm that this sort of thing wouldn’t do anything to get out the usual lumps and clumps that come with being ridiculously floofy.

That means for me (and tons of other cat owners!), buying something like this would be like buying a $US45 ($62) petting machine. And frankly, we can already pet these beasts with our hands. And we can do it for free.

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