Bad news, cats. Your jobs have been automated

All the essentials.
All the essentials.
Image: Qooba
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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my cats, “I wish you were just fur pillows with tails.” This week, I got my wish.

No, I didn’t hire a witch to turn my tiny pet tyrants into inanimate room decor. But I did stumble upon Qoobo, a two-pound plush pillow that sits on your lap and wags its fluffy robotic tail. That’s it; that’s all it does. No constant meowing, scratching up furniture, or coughing up hairballs. No indoor pooping or insatiable obsession with destroying plastic bags. No finding the one unprotected item of black clothing in the entire apartment and sitting directly on top of it.

Qoobo is the product of Yukai Engineering Co., which unveiled the toy this week at a trade show in Japan. (It’s expected to ship sometime next year.) The name is a combination of the French words for “tail” and “robot,” and Qoobo’s tail is indeed its defining (also only) feature. The more you pet Qoobo, the more it responds, and the tail wags vary depending on the type of petting. The cushion also vibrates, a la the pleasant rumble of a purring feline.

For all intents and purposes, real cats act like the worst of the 1%. They’re entitled, snooty, and unsympathetic to the needs of others. They expect to have their food handed to them and their poop cleaned up after them. They have no anxieties about their place in the world—as far as they’re concerned, it will always be in the sunny patch of a hardwood floor.

Except cats better watch their backs, because Qoobo is coming. Maybe not quickly, because it doesn’t move. But a vibrating, tail-wagging pillow that doesn’t need anything except human affection? That’s basically the platonic ideal of a cat. Just look at how happy these people are:

My own cats—Godzilla and Sandra Dee—have been with me for 10 and five years, respectively. It would be cruel, given our history, to throw them over at this point in favor of cushions with tails. But in these exciting times, innovation proceeds apace, whether we choose to adapt our skill sets or not. If the coal miners can learn to code, then certainly the cats can learn to be nice.

Update: The Qoobo Kickstarter page is now live. Felines beware.