Building a Better Cat

December 5, 2002 | Source: New York Times

Hasbro’s FurReal Friends has become one of the season’s hottest toys, subordinating gadgetry to realistic cat attributes (such as fur) and behaviors.

When the cat is first turned on, it “wakes up,” stretching its neck and arching its back. It meows and then begins to monitor six scattered sensors that can tell if it is being touched on the head, neck, back or tail.

It starts in playful mode, where it is active and frequently meows. Pulling its tail nudges it into irritated mode, characterized by hissing and an arched back. Petting the cat’s head or chin three times brings on cuddly mode and a lot of small movements and purring.