New Robot Cat is All Tail and Wants to Live in Your Purse

Qoobo is getting a tiny, smarter sibling: Petit Qoobo

What: Petit Qoobo is a furry, robotic companion that mimics the way a cat’s tail responds to petting and interaction. It’s the small follow-up to the equally weird, and considerably larger, Qoobo.

How: The original Qoobo from Yukai Engineering was something of a hit—especially in Japan—but consumers asked for a more portable version.

Why Do You Care: If you’ve always wanted a cat but are allergic or don’t want the responsibility of caring for a living thing, this portable, pettable robot might interest you.

Cats know I’m allergic to them, which is why they wrap themselves around my legs as soon as they see me. As a result, I want a cat even though I know it would make me sick. Petit Qoobo is theoretically the perfect solution.

Petit Qoobo
The original Qoobo is on the left, the new Petit Qoobo is on the right.  Yukai Engineering

A follow-up to Qoobo, the $149 oddball robotic cushion with an articulated cat’s tail that I first saw a few years ago at CES, Petit Qoobo, which Yukai Engineering is introducing here at CES in Las Vegas, is basically a pint-sized version of the original with a noticeably shorter tail. According to Yukai Engineering, this one is small enough to fit in a purse, albeit a large one.

Like Qoobo, Petit Qoobo wags its strangely life-like tail in response to touch. So, you pet the cushion like it’s a real cat and the tail moves in what could best be described as a non-threatening manner. Different kinds of touches will illicit different tail movements, giving the cat…er…cushion a more life-life feel. Remember, this “cat” doesn’t have legs, a head or even a torso. It’s just a round cushion with a tail. Nothing weird or creepy about that at all.

On the other hand, if you’re not paying attention to Petit Qoobo, it might, like a real cat, start spontaneously wagging its tail. This is one reason you might want to power down the robot cushion when carrying it in your bag or backpack.

Remember, this “cat” doesn’t have legs, a head or even a torso. It’s just a round cushion with a tail. Nothing weird or creepy about that at all.

These features mimic the original Qoobo, but Yukai Engineering is taking the tiny feline-like cushion a few steps further. Petit Qoobo is still a prototype, but when it ships it will feature a special young kitten-like tail wag and spontaneous vibrations. This will also be the first Qoobo to feature microphones so it can response to sounds. No word on if you can name Petit Qoobo or if it will respond to its name.

Pricing and availability for Petit Qoobo haven’t been set, which means you have time to figure out if your current bag is big enough.