The Animatronic Kitten Debate

Whenever I Facetime with my 2-year-old niece, the conversation goes like this:

Mom (showing the phone to Anna): That’s Uncle Jamey!

Jamey: Hi Anna!

Anna: Kitty cats?

The next few minutes involve me finding one of my cats, pointing the camera at him until Anna requests the other cat by name, then repeating the process. It’s pretty adorable.

I would love to someday get an actual cat for Anna, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen, as my sister has no interest in having a live cat in the house. BUT then I saw the next best thing on Amazon: an animatronic cat:


My question is: Do you think a 2-year-old would enjoy a cat that sits around and purrs, but otherwise does very little? That’s essentially what Walter does. The animatronic cat is marketed towards elderly people (maybe they don’t realize it’s not a live cat?)

7 thoughts on “The Animatronic Kitten Debate”

  1. If your niece is anything like my 3 year old, she’d absolutely adore that cat. But she’ll still want to see Walter and Biddy when she Facetimes with you.

      • Nothing as fancy as that. There’s a giraffe that used to waggle its head as a music box played, but the fabric got wound up in the key so it doesn’t move anymore, but it’s still a favorite. There have also been animatronic dolls over the years that are well loved.
        Every time we go into a store, any animal-like toy that move or sings, or better yet both gets oohed and aahed (by all 4 kids, though perhaps a little less this year by the 10 year old) and we hear pleas of taking one home. If the cat purrs and likes the child holding it, then it’s better than some real cats (from the child’s perspective).

        • Chris: Thanks for sharing! It’s so interesting to hear what kids are drawn to. I love watching my niece interact with her various toys and books.

  2. I’m torn because the cat does look pretty real, and it gets huge bonus points for purring, meowing and moving.

    However, it looks a bit stiff/hard because of the mechanisms inside, which is a downside. Most little girls want something soft that they can cuddle and carry around. Two-year olds are also not known for being gentle, so it will probably get dropped or thrown a lot, which could cause it to break pretty quickly. Plus, if it gets dirty, it could be difficult to clean – you can’t just put it in the washer. And little kids are dirt magnets. I’m not sure how often she’s going to just sit down and pet it at that age – they’re usually on the move all the time, and she’s going to want to drag it with her (by the arm, probably) wherever she goes.

    At her age, you might just be better off just getting her a traditional stuffed animal that looks like the cats. It’s not hard to impress a toddler, and it will probably become a favorite in her “lovey” collection. That way she can play with it to her hearts content without having to be monitored to make sure she’s being gentle or has clean hands.

    I think these look really cute:

    And I had to include this one because it made me crack up:

    Every child is different though. She may be one of those super-chill kids that the animatronic cat would be perfect for!

    Overall, I think the fake cat concept is a perfect gift idea, but she might be just a little too young to play with the animatronic one the way the manufacturers intend for it to be played with. See what your sister thinks though. I bet she would know whether or not it would be a good gift!

    • Katie: Thanks for the detailed reply! I actually don’t know if I’ve ever seen Anna snuggle with a stuffed animal. I’ll have to keep an eye on that when I’m home for Christmas. She does have a plush kitten I gave her when she was a little baby, and she still calls it Biddy and sometimes sleeps with it. Perhaps I should upgrade it to Baby Plumpee.

  3. I thought this was Walter for a second. It’s a bit expensive for a two year old, but why not? Get it! She’ll love it and take it everywhere with her. Hope she never lose it.


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