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SHRU - The intelligent cat companion's video poster

This is not just another cat toy. Shru is a cat companion. It mimics and responds like a living animal. Read more

Portland, OR Gadgets
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pledged of $15,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on January 25, 2014.

This is not just another cat toy. Shru is a cat companion. It mimics and responds like a living animal.

Portland, OR Gadgets
Share this project
Jason O'Mara
Project by

Jason O'Mara

First created  |  6 backed

See full bio Contact me

About this project

Shru has a new (web) home. Visit to learn more and to preorder your kitty a Shru.

As seen on

We are cat entertainment enthusiasts. So are you.
Pet stores offer you cheap and rather uninteresting balls, things-on-strings, and noise makers that entertain for a few minutes, and then end up under your couch, ne'er to be seen again. We've bought many of these toys ourselves, and -- just like you -- face the disappointment on our cats' faces. We here at PDX Pet Design are ready to rock their socks off and move into the next generation of cat entertainment.

Shru is not another cat toy, it's a cat companion.

  • Shru responds to your cat's play by mimicking a small animal's erratic movement and sound 
  • Shru is rechargeable through your USB phone charging cord -- never buy batteries again!
  • Configure Shru to operate in different modes on your laptop's interface
Shru recharging and configuring over USB
Shru recharging and configuring over USB

What can Shru do and How does it work?

Shru is designed to be your cat's favorite toy and so it can do a lot of things. 
  • Move back and forth even over carpet
  • Shake and make cute sounds
  • Sense obstacles and reverse direction
  • and most importantly, Shru will sense kitty interactions ( taps, kitty-grabs, and pounces) and try to escape while making lots of noise!
How does Shru do this? Well it's pretty simple.
Shru with top cover removed
Shru with top cover removed
Inside of Shru, a Gearmotor turns an offset weight which displaces Shru's center of gravity and the entire toy rolls forward or backward. An on-board angular sensor located on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB), adjusts to different floor types, human and kitty obstacles. 

3D Image of Shru's parts. Weight is highlighted in blue.
3D Image of Shru's parts. Weight is highlighted in blue.

Explanation of Funding

Our goal is to offer Kickstarter project backers with Shru cat companions at cost, to get this project rolling. Below, please find some more cost details.

Reward #1 & 2

The final production Shru will cost us $31 per piece to make. You will be receiving Shru at cost price. Because of price-break points we can realize with bulk orders, we need to order parts for 500 of these to sell them to you at cost - $31 per piece. The major costs consist of the plastic enclosure mold (~$10 per piece) and custom electronic components (~17 per piece). Other costs include packaging and shipping. We're providing these final product Shru to Kickstarter backers at cost so that we can get this project some traction for down-the-road investors. 

Reward #3 

Early adopters will pay $125 for a custom-made, first-run edition of Shru. Because we anticipate production of only a handful of these, the cost breakdowns are as follows: $50 - 3D printed hard ellipsoid enclosure $20 - Printed Circuit Board (PCB) $30 - Electronics $15 - Motor and Battery $10 - Packaging and Shipping All net profits from this project will be used for project incidentals and/or funding Phase 3 of this project (see Phase breakdown above).

All net profits from this project will be used for project incidentals and/or funding Phase 3 of this project (see Phase breakdown below).

Production Phases

Phase 1 - Prototype

Phase 1 is complete, and the output of Phase 1 is what you see in the videos and photos above. Refinement of the firmware and extensive cat testing is ongoing. 

Phase 2 - Early Adopter Production
Phase 2 involves the creation of the early adopter prototypes for Reward level 3 backers. In Phase 2, we will take the lessons learned from Phase 1 to make improvements to the electronics, motor design, and enclosure design. Early adopters will provide feedback and receive regular updates based on their suggestions.

Phase 3 - Final Production 
Phase 3 will incorporate the lessons learned from Phase 2 for the final production run, which Reward level 1 and 2 backers will receive. 

Risks and challenges

A well thought-out plan is essential for minimizing unanticipated obstacles, and we've put a lot of critical thought into Phase 1.

1. Failure Analysis will be crucial to the plan. The last thing we want is a poor quality product. Failure analysis has been at the forefront of our minds during prototyping, and will be an ongoing design element during Phase 2 and Phase 3, to ensure a lasting quality product is delivered to project backers.

2. Uninterested or scared cat. Part of the early adopter program will be to identify those most discriminating and hard-to-please cats, and correspondingly tweaking the Shru design to bring out the little tiger in every last cat.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • The exterior is a hard plastic, designed to resist cat bites and scratches, but not those inflicted by dogs. It will crush under a certain amount of stress, but much more than a cat or two could exert. The internal components are securely mounted to ensure that they remain stable during a moderate drop, and failure mode testing is ongoing to optimize Shru's durability.

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  • Yes, the USB interface will work on Windows and Mac machines.

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  • Yes, you will be able to turn off the sound via the USB interface, when Shru is plugged into your machine.

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  • I am building this with the following goals in mind. However, keep in mind that this is all still under active development so some things may change.

    1. Shru will last one day of active kitty play ... you can recharge it at the end of the day when you are home with kitty and you become his/her entertainment.
    2. The rechargeable battery I'm spec'ing out should last ~2 years with a daily recharge. Rechargeable batteries do lose their "recharge-ability" over time.
    3. The battery is permanently mounted for stability and so cannot be swapped out after those 2 years. This is, of course, something we'd like to change down the road but I just want to set expectations properly for this run.

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  • The short answer is No. However, if you pledge for one Shru, you will be on our backer list so that if/when this project grows beyond Kickstarter, you will be the first to know where to get more Shrus!

    From the wonderfully supportive folks at Kickstarter:

    "On Kickstarter, backers can only pledge to a project once, as backing a project is about helping to bring your idea to life (and joining a community of fellow backers to cheer you along and get a peek into your creative process). Rewards are a big part of being a backer, but offering multiple quantities of a reward that doesn't exist yet sets the wrong expectation for what backing a project is all about."

    "As of September 20, 2012, projects in the Hardware and Product Design categories are prohibited from offering multiple quantities of a single reward. Projects in these categories can only offer one reward per pledge, with the exception of rewards that truly function as a set (e.g., salt and pepper shakers or building blocks)."

    Read more below!

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  • This is certainly part of the goal, as many cats in North America live and play in multiple-level homes. Shru is expected to survive a trip down a flight of carpeted or hardwood stairs as the pieces are very securely mounted.

    However, it's important to note that thorough testing has not yet been completed, and testing is in the scope of this project. That's why Kickstarter (and all you backers) rock! You provide us inventors with the support and funding to test various materials (and to afford potentially breaking these otherwise very expensive parts) under stress conditions.

    So very grateful for all you backers supporting the project!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    80 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD REWARD! Be one of our first 80 backers, and receive a final production version of the Egg cat companion at a special price, and unlimited gratitude for helping us get this off the ground.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $31 or more

    4,447 backers

    Receive a final production version of Egg cat companion and a lifetime of entertainment with your cat(s)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    88 backers

    Exclusive ownership of an "early adopter, cat-happiness enthusiast" prototype. With this prototype, you get exclusive access to the designer to help suggest improvements and tweaks to the final production design. Collaborate with us on the design process by sending videos and analyses of you your cat's interaction with the companion.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)