When we first caught sight of Sega Toys' meowing, purring robo-feline, we fervently hoped Lucky the robo-dog or some other bigger, stronger robot would come along and scare the creepy cat out of the neighborhood.
Alas, that's not to be. "Yume-Neko Venus," or "Dream Cat Venus," is slated for a July 30 release, according to Sega (PDF in Japanese). The fake feline will cost 10,000 yen (about $108)--not bad considering you'll be saving a bundle on kitty litter and toy mice.
The battery-operated robo-cat is equipped with five touch sensors that let it engage in real-life behavior like rolling on its back, blinking its eyes, moving its legs when you rub its belly, and sleeping a lot. Sega says the target age is four and above, and/or anyone who likes cats but can't have them due to allergies or co-habitating with animal haters.
The bot, which is modeled after the Norwegian forest cat, measures about 20 inches by 9 inches by 9.5 inches, making it the size of a (smaller) real cat. As far as we can tell, it'll only be available in Japan for now, but if you see a white cat with oddly vacant eyes slinking around your garden anytime soon, you'll know robo-cat went global.
(Thanks as always to my CNET co-worker Takayuki Sakurai for helping me make sense of the Japanese--the language that is, not the people.)