If you’ve always wanted a furry fluffball to call your very own, but logistical issues like allergies or a significant other who is decidedly not a cat person got in your way, the internet–as always–has a solution for you. It’s called iPet Companion, and it allows you to use your computer to play with kitties that are hundreds of miles away.
Shelters around the country (and apparently people who just like to watch their cats lounge while they work) can install iPet Companion, which allows your computer to control a webcam focused on the kitties, as well as robotic toys. By clicking on a toy, the computer sends a signal to the robot in the room, which will shake the toy, hopefully inciting some playful joy from any cats nearby.
Shelters in a handful of towns–including NYC–have installed iPet Companion, which claims to increase both sustained web traffic and actual physical adoptions. “iPet Companion’s mission is to end homelessness of animals nationwide,” reads the site. “Play with shelter pets that need love live over the Internet.”
The iPet Companion can be purchased for cats for $345.95 or dogs for $395. Unfortunately, all of the units are currently out of stock, so you’ll only be able to sign up for the next production run.
Of course, no matter how well iPet Companion works, it can’t make a sleepy cat play. We tried to get the kitties at the Michigan Humane Society to bat around a few toys, but they weren’t having any of it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯