Like all kids, my girls love toys that they can interact with. Interactive toys are fast becoming more popular with at least one robotic toy dominating the toy market each year.
Tekno the original robotic pet was created in 1999 as the first fun robotic pet, which has steadily developed into the Teksta pets available today. The Teksta puppy was one of the top toys last Christmas (2013) however it was faced with mixed reviews. Now improved, Teksta have re released the Teksta puppy and added some additional friends.
The current available models are.
The Teksta puppy - available in blue, pink or a special edition Scooby Doo model
The Teksta Kitty - available in pink
The Teksta T- Rex - available in red
When Debenhams contacted me to ask for my thoughts on the Teksta range, I admit I jumped at the chance. Like many other children, my girls had asked for a Teksta too. However with a £60 price tag, I was put off, primarily believing it will be like a Furby and be played with once to ever remain unused on a shelf.
About the Teksta Kitty
The Teksta Kitty is a life like robotic kitten who responds to voice, motions and movement. Kitty is amazingly smart and very easy to program. She begins her life with you as an 8 week old kitten and requires lots of training. As she is played or interacted with more and more she becomes more obedient, increasing the possibility of fun,
Some key features include:
- New Hand Gesture Technology: Teksta Kitty reacts to your hand movement commands. She will walk and stop at your command.
- Tricks: Kitty will beg for her mouse, feed her the mouse and watch her munch. Tease her with the mouse to watch her almighty pounce!
- Emotionally Intelligent: Teksta Kitty has a variety of eye expressions to let you know how she is feeling.
- Touch Sensors: Kitty will purr, meow and curl her tail if you approach her.
- App Program: Create more Teksta tricks using the free downloadable app.
Kitty requires 4 AA batteries (not included) in order to work. The interactive mouse accessory comes with batteries already inside. The length of time the batteries last is dependent on usage.
Basic Training and Tricks
The Teksta Kitty comes with a robotic mouse accessory. This is used as an aid to your kitty's training and as a tool to keep your kitty happy. There are 3 tricks which can be done with the mouse:
The mouse is magnetic and will hold firmly to the kitty if placed near kitty's mouth. Its eyes will flash and show a happy expression while she happily plays and eats.
When the mouse is placed 10 inches away from kitty and the bottom button on the mouse is pressed, a signal is set to kitty who will make a ding sound and respond by sitting down, Dangling the mouse by the tail over kitty's head will encourage her to reach up and paw for it.
Similar to encouraging kitty to stand up, pressing the second button on the mouse will make kitty pounce for the mouse toy. In order to do this place the mouse 10 inches away and press the top button until you hear the ding sound. Now kitty is interacting with the mouse, press the top button again and she will pounce for it.
Kitty will also pounce once in the sitting position by waving your hand a few inches in front of her face or by waiting 30 seconds.
Word of warning though, she jumps up quite sharpish so avoid placing your face near her when she is in the crouching position. She should also not be picked up while she is initiating a pounce.
The Teksta Kitty is remotely programmable by use of an app. The app is available on both Apple App Store and Google Play for free. Using the app you can feed your kitty, teach it new tricks, change its sounds, its expressions play games and set an alarm, plus much more. You can even record a song using the piano which kitty will sing and dance to.
I mentioned that Kitty is emotionally intelligent. Teksta Kitty comes pre programmed with a range of eye expressions to let you know how it is feeling. Like a real life pet, feeding it, speaking to it and playing with it will make it happy and leaving it alone and neglecting it will make it sad. She will also show when she is excited. Teksta kitty has lots of sensors along her head and her body which react to sound and touch. She will purr, move her ears, whine and meow like a real life pet when being interacted with. Her tail wags like a real cat, which i thought was funny when she was in pounce mode.
Kitty is quite loud when being played with. You are able to control how often she meows using the app or turn it off completely.
Below is some examples of her eye expressions.
Hand Gesture Mode
One of the things little K found fascinating about this function is that it felt like she was training a real pet. As mentioned the Teksta Kitty is motion controlled. When in hand gesture mode, kitty will respond to hand movements and be made to pounce or stand up and paw.
Here is a video showing some more features of the Teksta Kitty
I have to admit that my opinion of the Teskta range has changed. As i mentioned before i was worried that the price tag was abit much for a toy but after playing with this myself and watching both big and little K interacting with kitty, i think it is worth the money.
The app provides more fun and more interaction. I would like to hope that this is improved on in the future and more features are added which would increase the play value of the toy. As a parent noisy toys are the bane of my life. It is a robotic toy so some noise (especially when moving) is expected. Being able to control how often kitty meows or purrs via the app is fantastic.
Here is my kids response to the Teksta Kitty
Big K (age 12)
I have always wanted a cat of my own but mum says i can not have one. I enjoyed playing with Caty because i could teach it tricks and it was fun to watch it walk around and meow to call me to play with it. I would like to buy a puppy so that Caty can have a play mate and watch them play together.
Little K (age 8)
I really like Star my kitty because she is fun to play with and it is like having my very own pet. I asked mummy for a Teksta because it is pink and pink is my favourite colour and i like cats more than dogs. Star makes a meow sound to let me know that she is bored and wants me to play with her and i like the cute noises that she makes. I do not like when Star is sad so i play with her all the time and make sure she is happy. I really like my new kitty.
I can see completely what the appeal is and will admit as a 29 year old adult, i had an immense amount of fun playing with this myself and can see why this is one of 2014's top toys this Christmas.
Teksta Kitty and her friends are available for £60 from Debenhams.
If you are looking to purchase one in time for Christmas, you can order by 10pm 23rd December in time for in store collection on Christmas eve.