In November 2014, I helped fund a Kickstarter project to develop Mousr, an autonomous mouse (the cat toy kind). I didn’t seriously expect that the project would succeed in producing a non-lame cat toy, but what the heck, it sounded interesting, so I contributed enough to get one.
(I was hoping it would get me out of my One Job, which is entertaining Tigress in the mornings. We play “chase the birdie” with the feather toy every morning, but because we play on a big padded cat playground, aka our bed, we don’t play until after Mike gets up. Predictably, we have arrived at a situation where 2.5 nanoseconds after Mike gets up, there is a cat in my study glaring at me and meowing loudly and continuously to explain that it is time to play and why am I not doing my One Job, unworthy human?? While I am generally cheerful about my state of abject servitude (I mean, why else would anyone have cats?), it can occasionally be frustrating to get interrupted in the middle of something by a cat who knows her rights and is demanding to play NOW!! Especially since she won’t shut up until she gets what she wants, even if it means meowing for fifteen minutes straight.)
We’ve tried all sorts of automated cat toys but she’s never been interested in a toy unless there is a human on the other end.
Well, 3.6 years went by, punctuated by occasional updates from the Mousr designers, but the end result is impressive: Tigress likes it! She’s fascinated and will play with it. Which is amazing since she generally yawns at automated cat toys.
Fritz, whose cat toy philosophy is “I’m a lover, not a hunter,” is not as impressed but will also play with it, especially once Tigress stops monopolizing it. Also very unusual!
Alas, while the cats find Mousr intriguing and fun, it is still not as fun as hunting a toy that has a human at the other end. (Probably because inconveniencing a human is half the fun.) So 30 seconds after we turned off Mousr, Tigress was bugging me (loudly and continuously) about playing with her.
So, while the autonomous robot mouse is a hit, no worries: No humans were automated out of their One Job by the self-driving mouse!
Here’s a video of Tigress meeting Mousr:
And if you want a Mousr of your very own? Trundle over to Petronics to order one. Warning: they’re not cheap. But they are cool. (I got mine for less because I backed the Kickstarter. And they even threw in the deluxe 5-tail bundle, which includes the catnip tail!)