Would you want a robotic pet cat or dog?

My premise is that some time in the future, we have perfected the science of robotics, and we can now make a robotic cat or dog that is virtually indistinguishable from a flesh cat or dog, except it is programmable and it never dies.

Some parameters:

  • The pet animal is programmable - you can program all unwanted behaviours out of your pet (such as scratching furniture or barking), or leave these behaviours in at whatever level you find acceptable.
  • There would be an on/off switch or stand-by mode - you can just turn your pet off when you go on vacation if you don’t want to take it with you.
  • The power pack would be a lifetime supply.

Would that interest you - to have a cat or dog that wouldn’t do the things you don’t like, but would still seem to be a pet cat or dog?

(I’ve focused on cats and dogs as the most common pets, but if you’d prefer a pet robotic bunny or parrot or whatever, please feel free to join in the discussion.)

How does it smell?

I would want that talking bear from AI.

Yes, oh god yes. No more poop or cleaning it up. No more licking my face with his smelly breath. NO JUMPING ON ME. Just a good dog that I can run with, or walk with, that loves me and I love it, don’t have to worry about vacations.
I’d actually prefer a robotic parrot, i think.

RoboPuppy preparing to lick cheek…
…Cheek licking in progress
Cheek licking complete…

RoboPuppy beginning two hour yipping session…

I should say, I love robots, and always have had an affinity for them. I hate movies/stories where the robots go wild and rebel against their creators…they’re only what we program in them. I never understood the fear people had (which was one reason I didn’t like A.I.).

I always wanted my very own Johnny 5 and now I’d love to have a WALL-E.

Having them do crazy shit is half the reason I even have pets. A perfectly behaved one would creep me out. Hell, the only reason I even like the cat is because he’s a good adversary.
I’d rather have the option to get a pet robot that wasn’t trying to be a dog or cat.

I think we could probably program a robot dog. However, given the randomness of cats, I believe we will have a complete AI for humans first.

A robot goldfish AI would be easy to program;

•Can I mate with it?
•Can I eat it?
•Can it eat me?

Owner of 6 dogs and 4 cats here - no. I have machines. I have pets. Machines aren’t pets. There’s no mutual affection, there’s no dependence. What’s the point?


“Home again home again jiggedy jigg, Gooood evening Hampshire!”

There’s no way in heck I’d want a robotic dog. My dog and I have a special bond - no robot could replicate that. There’s a lot of heart and soul involved - I know I’m not saying this right, but no. No robot could ever replace my dog.

ETA - StGermain - EXACTLY.

Mind you, a mobile robot like the old Doctor’s K-9 would be cool and useful. But not a pet. Of course, if I was 900 years old, like the Doctor, I probably wouldn’t want a dog that would live less than 1% of my potential lifespan. How heartbreaking it would be to get attached and lose pet after pet (it’s hard enough for me!), human companion after human companion.


I’ve actually got an old Hootbot, although he’s long since ceased functioning.

A working robot dog or cat would be nifty; people in small apartments could have at least some of the pleasures of an animal companion without engaging in the cruelty of keeping a real animal pent up in a small place.

I say yeah, and I also say hell yeah!

I’ll take 8!

This would be the perfect solution to curb backyard breeders. And no veterinary care to pay for? Sounds ideal to me.

But they wouldn’t be perfectly behaved necessarily - you could program all the cat and dog behaviours into them, and randomize them.

Nope. Where the fun and challenge in that?


I think pets are product of your own (or your family’s) personality.

With out that investment to cement the pet/owner bond; what’s the point?

The point of a cat or dog is that they are a “furry little bundle of love and joy”.

No robot can be that.

Cat? Yes. I am not a cat person. I don’t even need a robot fake cat, just a stuffed one in a sunny window would be enough for me. They are beautiful creatures.

Dog? No. You cannot program perfect unconditional love.

However, it either case, I would NOT want to turn it off. I want the cat hunting mice and the dog barking at everyone who comes onto the porch all the time. I assume they don’t eat or drink?