If you miss your significant other while you’re away from home during the day, you text them. If you miss your family in another city, you call them. But if you miss your pets? Well, now you can engage with them through Petcube!
Petcube is a little camera that allows you to watch a livestream of a view in your home, much like our video cameras. However, instead of placing in somewhere that is likely to catch intruders and burglars, you want to face the Petcube’s camera at your pet’s favorite play area. So when you miss them, just pull up the Petcube app on your smartphone and get a glimpse of them missing you, too, probably. You can even use its two way audio system to call them (or give them commands). The cherry on top? Drag your finger across the screen and a built in laser pointer will activate, allowing you to play with your pets right on the screen! You can even connect with other friends and family member in the app, so that everyone can play with each others’ pets throughout the day.
I know we usually review home security products and solutions here, but this idea was so delightful, we couldn’t resist.
Is Petcube For You and Your Pet?
Although the Petcube is marketed as a great gadget for any pet owner, we aren’t so sure. Does your pet mostly stay in one area of your home? Are you confident that your pet would be able to come to the camera after hearing your voice on a speaker? If so, then the Petcube may be effective. However, if you have a large house, it’s hard to expect your pet to be within view when you randomly check in during the day.
While laser pointers are pretty fun toys for cats, they aren’t always the best pastime for dogs. It has been proven that making your dog chase laser pointers can have negative effects on their mental health. In the Petcube’s user manual, they even state that “Your pet needs some physical feedback to feel accomplished in catching the prey. It is strongly recommended to use various physical toys apart from the Petcube Camera laser toy. There were occasional reports of dogs becoming obsessed with sources of light like sun or laser beams. If you are in doubt, please consult your vet doctor and test a conventional laser pointer with your pet.” However, we can’t figure out how an owner would provide a physical toy as feedback to end the laser point chasing game when we aren’t even home.
If you have a pet that stays in a cage during the day while you are away, or if you have a rather small living space to begin with, then this camera should easily be able to capture them whenever you open the app. If you don’t have dogs (or just make sure not to use the laser pointer feature), then this product should be relatively safe.
One final thing to mention is that we are worried that this camera could be easily swatted off its surface by a curious cat or dog. The front is made of glass, and the camera itself is relatively lightweight (1.3 lbs). It is drawing attention to itself with the laser pointer and speaker system. Use your own discretion on the disposition of your pets.
The sharing feature sounds very well intentioned and loving; after all, we love playing with all of our friends’ pets, and we want all of them to play with our pets as well. You can even share your pet publicly, meaning anyone with a Petcube account could turn on your camera and play with your pet inside your home. However, concerns arise with privacy. Does sharing your Petcube with someone mean that they can turn on a camera and see inside your home any time they want? On Petcube’s support pages, they say that “Currently there’s no option to turn off the camera from the Petcube application but you can disable sharing in the Settings menu.” However, for your “family” members that you share access to your camera, you have to manually remove them in order to prevent them from using the camera.
It sounds like an impossible expectation for owners to remember to toggle sharing on and off every time they come home or don’t want strangers (or even friends) looking inside their home. There should be an easy way to turn off the camera when you want privacy.
Petcube isn’t a home security solution, but it’s a great gadget for hanging out with your pets virtually while you are out of the house. If you’ve got $200, you can grab one here.