My cat, Artemis, is a bustling career woman. She has many jobs that she juggles between stealing my hair ties and spilling her kibble; in addition to serving as the Mayor of Fluffingsville, she runs a network of freelancers as Editor-in-Chief of Catmodo. Since both of us are busy most of the day at our respective places of work, we forget to check in on each other. Thankfully, Petcube's newest gadget, Petcube Bites, lets humans check in on their furry companions when they're apart. It also lets us fling treats at them on command which is both heartwarming and mildly horrifying.
All images: Rae Paoletta/Gizmodo
My sweet, beautiful, perfect child
The Petcube Bites looks like a shrunken down, shinier version of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the main difference being that the aforementioned totem did not hold up to two pounds of treats. You'll have to load up the device with your pet's favourite snacks in order for the magic to happen -- Petcube recommends treats about an inch big. Since Artemis is but a wee kitty, her treats were a little smaller than the recommended size, which proved to be (mostly) ok.
There was also an unusual aspect to the setup, wherein the Petcube mysteriously didn't work for three days. One day it randomly started working -- but I attribute that to my shitty Wi-Fi more than to the Petcube. If you too have crummy Wi-Fi maybe invest in a new router before investing in a treat dispensing pet camera.
It can hold a lot of treats in that big translucent treat container up top.
After downloading the Petcube app, you can link your phone up to the monolith, accessing the device's camera. The Petcube senses motion in front of it, which lets you see what your animal's up to but also takes weird videos of your feet if you step in front of it. Seeing your cat or doggo's adoring face through the app is definitely heartwarming, but fair warning: watch your goddamn feet so weird photos don't end up on some dark corner of the internet. Not that Petcube is going to sell pictures of your feet or anything (the images are in the app on your phone), but you can never be too careful these days. While the app saves your videos automatically, the quality isn't great. Don't expect Nat Geo-worthy screenshots.
In truth, Petcube's app isn't bad, but it's also not great. There are some issues with scrolling, making it difficult to see the most recent video of your floof. But the app does let you select the distance at which you can fling the treats, which extends up to six feet in range.
Artemis gazing into the abyss. Photo taken with Petcube Bites.
After loading the treats into the Petcube, my boyfriend and I selected a short-range toss for the treats, which makes sense because I live in a small apartment in New York City. Just load the treats, they said. It will be fun, they said.
But oh, dear reader, how wrong I was.
The Petcube shot out Artemis' treats precariously and with abandon, like a frat boy throwing his drink at a guy who wore the same Vineyard Vines zip up as him. The whole thing was like a cannon of delicious nightmares -- needless to say, my cat was horrified. Make no mistake, she still ate the treats -- but after the incident, she pretty much veered away from the machine.
I was able to catch it all on video but filmed it vertically like a jabroni. I'm sorry.
Overall, Petcube Bites is fine. Despite bad camera quality and an ok app it does what it's supposed to do and it's kind of cute. I'm not sure I'd pay $US250 to scare the shit out of my cat again, but setting up a treat cannon was a pretty amusing way to kill time on a Sunday. Artemis couldn't be reached for comment on the ordeal.
- Petcube Bites is good if you live in a place bigger than mine, which is approximately the size of a hermit crab's shell
- Your pet may or may not appreciate it as much as you do
- Your pet may never forgive you for this indignation