Critter Corner: Cure Your Separation Anxiety And/Or Annoy Your Pet With PetChatz

Welcome to Critter Corner, an irregular feature in which we’re going to talk about all things related to pets. We promise copious cat photos.

(feature image via Shutterstock)


 

“Man, I really wish I could text my cat right now.” I’ve said this often, and meant it wholeheartedly. I’ve lived with my little calico for five years, and we’re best buds. I think of our relationship less as pet ownership and more as a really solid interspecies friendship, in which one of us buys food and pays rent in exchange for kitten snuggles and a mouse-free apartment. When I’m away from the house, I miss her like crazy, and find myself wondering what the hell she’s up to, how she’s feeling, if she has chased any interesting shadows or bugs today. Presumably, she is napping, grooming herself, and thinking about napping, totally oblivious to my separation anxiety.

Just my perfect angel, NBD.

Just my perfect angel, NBD.

For pet owners who feel an equal level of crazy, an invention called PetChatz is here to answer your prayers. With this simple device that plugs into any electronic outlet and connects to your WiFi, you can see, hear and talk to your pet, while the device dispenses “low calorie, natural and holistic” treats and (if you wish) comforting scents. You can check in on your PC, tablet or even your phone. For only $350, your dog, cat, hamster or whatevs can learn to experience the side of you that’s less maternal caretaker, and more psychotic girlfriend with zero boundaries who is constantly calling to see where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re thinking about.

Look how comforted and excited the dog in this video is! Thankfully this woman seems to be the only person working in her office, so nobody else has to hear her babytalk from over the cubicle walls.

The discovery of this device has led me to do some serious soul-searching. Does my cat miss me as much as I miss her? Would she actually come when this machine played its little song to summon her? Can I fill this thing with M&M’s and use it to lure Intern Grace into Google Hangout? If my animal did have profound separation anxiety, would this help in any way? According to Psychology Today, most dogs aren’t really able to pick out moving images on TV, so would they be able to recognize their person on the webcam screen? According to Margaret Duxbury, an animal behavior professor at the University of Minnesota, animals who spent more time watching television with their owners were more likely to be able to recognize and/or respond to their owners using PetChatz than animals who didn’t. Does this mean that you should make sure your dog is in the room when you watch QVC? Unclear.

If you have $350 burning a hole in your pocket and can’t bear the idea of your precious gerbil spending eight hours alone, PetChatz is for you. Maybe. Let me know how it goes.

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Stef Schwartz is the Music Editor at Autostraddle.com. She's a rock'n'roll jack-of-all-trades, vegan crusader and legit professional weirdo. She lives with her cat Scully in the wilds of Los Angeles, where she writes terrible dance music, drinks quality bourbon and misses New York City. Follow her on twitter.

Stef has written 102 articles for us.

16 Comments

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    This is so relevant to my life. It solves both my problems in one go – I get to see my puppy, and I can also train her to associate my voice with food and therefore love me more. I swear, every time I go home, I have to bribe her with treats and runs for love….or maybe I’m just a well-trained human…

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    My dog gets confused enough with hearing my gf voice on speaker. The poor pup knows it’s her Mama’s voice but she can’t see her anywhere!!!

    This also reminds me of the time I was on visiting family with my Mom and we called my Dad to check in. He held my little dog and put the phone to her ear so she could hear me. She got soo excited she peed all over him!!

    For awhile my cat would come running when my gf ringtone played on my phone. It was the only way to find home sometimes!

    If they had a version for under $100 I’d seriously consider it. I’m *that* obsessed with my cat.

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    My cat does get separation anxiety, but I think this would just make it worse tbh. Now, if I go away for a week, she spends the first two days freaking out, then sort of calms down. If I had this, I think it would just remind her I wasn’t there.

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    Hmm – I already have the daily struggle of my cat trying to disconnect my computer/modem by crawling all over my desk and pulling at the wires…I can only imagine what something like this would do.

    Brb, gonna go chase him down and hug him.

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    If there really was a treat-dispensing device involved with this, my cats would dedicate their lives to ripping it open and eating the tasty guts within. They wouldn’t even give me a single glance over an electronic device, they’d be so busy destroying the treat-dispenser.
    Although if I could watch footage of them doing so, I’d probably love it. Because they own me.

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    I have one dog who is both very intelligent/sneaky and allergic to everything under the sun. My other dog is a puppy who eats random non-food objects constantly. This could be really useful for ten hour school days when I’m constantly picturing pup 1 having gotten into the cupboard and eating whatever it is that turns her into a fucking BLOWFISH and pup 2 with an entire Wiimote in her stomach.

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