“Where ‘wow!’ meets ‘meow’” is not Kittyo’s slogan—but it probably should be. The high tech device lets cat owners, when away from home, play with their at-home cat via remote control.
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“The lives of cat parents who miss interacting with Fluffy while away from home will forever be changed in 2014,” Kittyo’s press release predicts. With the gizmo, a cat owner can talk to, watch, play with, take pictures of and dispense treats to Fluffy.
The stylish, cylindrical unit stands 9 inches tall and looks something like a cinch-waisted coffee maker. Its upper-half contains a laser, video camera and audio speaker. Its lower-half contains a treat-dispenser. Once the Kittyo owner has downloaded a free app, connected to wifi and set a password, he or she can operate Kittyo via any Android- or iOS-enabled smartphone.
One moment, kitty is staring blankly into space—surely wishing you were there. The next, you are there, sort of: You say into your phone, “Rise and shine, my precious boo-boo,” and kitty snaps smartly to attention, having heard your voice on the speaker. By remote control, you dispense a treat, and kitty purrs with pleasure. You send the laser beam skittering around the floor, and kitty gives chase. All these shenanigans you can watch in real time on your smartphone’s video. You can take pictures of kitty’s antics and send them to friends who, you can be sure, will be delighted to get them.
If, like your author, you hadn’t known that cats love laser beams, they do, says Kitto’s creator, Lee Miller.
Miller, 43, whose background is in graphic design, animation and video production, tells ABC News he got the idea for Kittyo one day while he was babysitting his friend’s kitten, Pasha. Miller was playing with a laser pointer, and Pasha was chasing its beam around the floor. “I thought, this is something that could be that could be controlled through an iPhone,” he recalls.
He assembled a design team, and, with funding from a childhood friend, built a prototype.
Three days ago, he launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, the goal of which was to raise $30,000 to begin manufacturing of Kittyo.
It took 36 minutes to raise $30,000. In 24 hours, says Miller, Kittyo raised $100,000. Since then the campaign, now in day three, has raised an additional $13,427 from 1,276 backers. Miller aims to ship the first Kittyo units in November, with a retail price of around $189.
Is there anything else comparable to Kittyo on the market? Not that ABC News could find. There are other high tech gadgets to keep cats entertained, but none that let the absent owner take such an active role.
After giving Kittyo the sniff-test, website Sparklecat.com exclaimed: “‘There’s an app for that’ just got a little more awesome if you are a kitty!”
Miller’s backer and childhood friend, Barry Markman, is “a big dog-person,” Miller says. Might there be a canine version in the offing? “Puppyo” (or some such)? Yes, he says, there might.