Iris the Destroyer is one of the most treat-focused cats I've ever known. As our daily treat time approaches, she jumps to the top of her scratcher and locks her one eye on you with an unblinking stare until you expect "this is not the droid you're looking for" to come out of her mouth.
So when the Petcube folks said they were adding a connected treat launcher to their portfolio of connected pet products -- the camera-only Petcube and the newly released remote laser-pointer camera Petcube Play -- it snagged my attention as if someone was going to fling a brownie in my direction.
The production version of Petcube Bites, which the company expects to ship in early in the year for $250 (directly converted, about £200 and AU$350), debuted at CES 2017, along with a free version of its Petcube Care cloud video service that will provide 4 hours a day of storage for surveilling Rover and Patches.
Bites is essentially a much bigger version of the Petcube with all the same features -- motion and low-light sensitivity and Wi-Fi remote livestream monitoring with two-way audio for both iOS and Android. It adds a well that can store up to 2 lbs/907 g of treats less than 1 in/25mm big. You can trigger it manually or set it to let fly on a schedule, as well as optionally wall mount it. It comes in silver/black, all black, or all rose gold.
One drawback immediately strikes me, though. It seems to only toss treats to one spot; not only would that cause a riot in our multicat home, but I like to make a couple of the cats hunt for them, which requires a longer and more random throwing distance. It's too expensive to get more than one, though if you could sync two of them so that they alternate tosses to make overweight pets run back and forth across the room, that would be cool. What I'd really like is something like the Petcube Play using treats instead of a laser.
Still, it might be worth it to prevent 4 a.m. breakfast wake up calls. Most smart pet products are feeders, but if you only serve wet food (or raw) you're pretty much out of luck with smart feeders. Still, a smart, interactive treat dispenser might forestall the 4 a.m. face-pawing wakey wakey.