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Egg: The next generation of interactive cat toy is also a 'companion' for cats

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One of the most important things for keeping cats in your house is keeping them entertained. It can be difficult to provide a good, rich, entertaining environment for your cat when you're busy, though. However, according to a Dec. 30, 2013 article on TechCrunch, there is a new, interactive, techy toy in the works specifically for cats. The Egg, which is currently a Kickstarter project, is a smart cat toy that you can program from your computer.

Egg is so named because it looks like an egg. It's a small robot that mimics the movements of the small animals your cat would prey on in the wild, or in a barn, or in your basement. It responds to your cat's movements and actions, such as bats or pounces, with sounds and movements like a small animal trying to escape.

It also detects obstacles in the room, your own feet, your cat's paws, and can change direction to move around them. It can even determine what type of floor it's on, so it can move as well on carpet as it can on a hard floor.

Since playtime is such a vital part of a cat's existence, particularly for an indoor cat, Egg may transform the environments of even the smallest city apartments in downtown Chicago and elsewhere. It can also provide unique entertainment that city-dwelling cats can't otherwise get, because they generally must be indoor-only cats.

Egg might even keep your cat quietly entertained while you nap, or help to tire him out during the daytime so that he wants to sleep in the evening. This can be especially problematic for busy people, whose cats are bored while they're out all day and thus, seek attention and playtime at night when it's time to sleep.

Egg doesn't run forever, though. Like any powered toy, it does need recharging. But instead of having to change batteries or take up an electric socket with a charger, Egg charges up via USB cable attached to your computer.

Jason O'Mara, the Kickstarter project's creator, says on the project's page that they don't want to put out a low-quality product, or something that flops because cats just aren't interested. One of the things they've been looking for is the most discriminating cats imaginable; the ones that aren't interested in most "normal" cat toys. Egg must be designed to appeal to uninterested, and even fearful, cats.

It also has to withstand all the pouncing, clawing and biting that a typical cat will inflict on it. Failure analysis was a major part of the prototype process, and they will continue to refine Egg so that it has a long life, even under the pitiless attacks of the most rambunctious cat.

For a pledge of $31, you can receive your own final production Egg. Or for $125 or more, you can be one of the "early adopters," providing feedback to the developers to help them improve Egg for the final production run.

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