When we first caught sight of, we fervently hoped or some other bigger, stronger robot would come along and scare the creepy cat out of the neighborhood.
Alas, that's not to be. "Yume-Neko Venus," or "Dream Cat Venus," is slated for a July 30 release, according to Sega (PDF in Japanese). The fake feline will cost 10,000 yen (about $108)--not bad considering you'll be saving a bundle on kitty litter and toy mice.
The battery-operated robo-cat is equipped with five touch sensors that let it engage in real-life behavior like rolling on its back, blinking its eyes, moving its legs when you rub its belly, and sleeping a lot. Sega says the target age is four and above, and/or anyone who likes cats but can't have them due to allergies or co-habitating with animal haters.
The bot, which is modeled after the Norwegian forest cat, measures about 20 inches by 9 inches by 9.5 inches, making it the size of a (smaller) real cat. As far as we can tell, it'll only be available in Japan for now, but if you see a white cat with oddly vacant eyes slinking around your garden anytime soon, you'll know robo-cat went global.
(Thanks as always to my CNET co-worker Takayuki Sakurai for helping me make sense of the Japanese--the language that is, not the people.)