Meet interactive cat toy ‘Shru’. Undoubtedly the future of cat entertainment! Shru is a next generation cat toy that acts as a true companion to your feline – whether you’re about or not. Shru is a responsive, high-tech toy that mimics and responds like a living animal, entertaining your cat by wriggling across your floor.
To get funds for the Shru rolling, Jason and Tara O’Mara from Portland, USA launched a Kickstarter campaign. It ended up oversubscribed by an impressive one thousand per cent, providing the entrepreneurs with funds in excess of $170,000. As well as with a loyal followership, now eager to test the prototypes.
Between developing their product and organising photo-shoots, Jason and Tara found some time to answer a few of our questions:
You are cat enthusiasts. How will the Shru make them play and roar?
Shru mimics and responds like a little animal, stimulating your cat’s natural hunting instincts. It attracts their attention by alternating between activity and inactivity, making enticing sounds, while swerving around obstacles in its way.
How did you come up with the idea?
Many cat owners are not at home for large portions of their day and cats get easily bored. We were continuously perplexed by the lack of new cat entertainment options, so we decided to come up with a solution ourselves. With Jason’s engineering experience, it was natural for us to design an intelligent cat companion.
Does the cat activate the Shru or can the cat-owner plan the interaction, for example by programming Shru?
Users can programme Shru by changing its settings. They can select the ‘play style’ and the ‘duration of play’ as well as the sounds Shru makes. The ‘play style’ manages how Shru responds to the hunting cat. Right now, we are planning for a ‘lazy cat’ as well as an ‘active kitten’ mode and – as you can imagine – these modes have different ways of interacting with your feline. We are working on some alternate modes and we hope that we can push out new modes for download to Shru owners over time.
How do you keep cats’ interest?
We like to compare our interactive cat toy Shru to a smartphone. Not only can you recharge it via USB, but the settings and the available programs can be updated so that your cat is continuously interested in Shru. This way, Shru’s behaviour is not predictable and it remains a mysterious toy companion.
I believe that you are currently testing the prototype with a few backers from Kickstarter. How are you finding the process?
You’re right! We have more than 4,500 Kickstarter backers, and the process has been so wonderful. The Kickstarter community is really supportive, providing us with many ideas and feedback. We will be shipping out the first batch to a set of 100 early adopters in the coming months, from whom we will seek feedback – both anecdotal and via video – so that we can further fine-tune Shru’s behaviour, before shipping the final version to the remaining Kickstarter backers and launching to the general public.
When will it be available?
The early versions of our interactive cat toy Shru will be going out to the testers in autumn 2014. However, there isn’t a specific release date for the final product right now, but we are planning for 2015. Pre-orders can be placed on our website getshru.com, and users won’t be charged until their Shru is ready to be shipped.
Originally named the ‘cat egg’, you have settled on the name Shru. Where does it come from?
‘Shru’ is a play on ‘shrew’ which is a small rodent found all around the globe. Shrews are a global cat interest, which is what we’d like our Shru to become too. We have received pre-orders from cat owners in more than 20 countries!
If you like the sound of the interactive cat toy Shru, then head over to the new website.
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