|A cat, napping|
|Twinkle Toes and Buzz|
I am currently living with two cats and sometimes a dog. Also, a fish and a bird, but I rarely see those (though I used to babysit them at my old apartment). I wouldn't elect to have such pets myself right now, because I'm currently barely able to take care of myself (I'm doing fine), let alone another living creature, especially the way I'd want to take care of them. Still, I'd like to do what I can to contribute to these cats' lives. So far, that's meant being very prompt in dealing with their litter and providing them with some pets.
I feel a bit bad, though, as I'm not willing to take steps to make their nourishment more interesting, as they're carnivores and I'm a vegan. Also, I don't provide very much stimulation at all. Hence my desire for a robotic friend.
About two years ago I had aspired to get a Roomba for my household. I thought my then-partner and I could also treat it a bit like a pet and enjoy some materialistic technology. I never got one, but I still think it would be useful, and I think it's a neat basis for a robotic companion for a cat. It's cool because it's autonomous and moves around and reacts to its environment. It's also useful, and cute. There's a lot of cat hair that accrues here (oh, my next plan is to get a cat brush and in the mornings brush down the cats to prevent uncontrolled shedding throughout the day!), so that would help the floor situation a bit.
Ultimately, though, I'd want a bit more from the robot. I'd want it to have more meaningful interactions with the cat, have a concept of play. Be willing to at times chase the cat, and at times flee and hide from it. Importantly, it would want to make noises as reactive feedback, and not just randomly. It would be cool if it had something like a laser pointer to distract the cats with. I know such a robot would be a poor substitute for a human companion in most ways, because it would be relatively stupid, predictable, and meaningless, but at least it would be something that I can't provide right now myself.
Technology isn't perfect, it's not even great; it's all quite awful, even when it does what it intends well, but given that I'm fairly invested in it future-wise, I might as well try to make the best of it.