Dave Lee/BBC

Alan is a robotic "companion pet," developed by the toymaker Hasbro to help battle loneliness. White and furry, AlanĀ is designed to approximate the real deal, meowing and purring when you petĀ it, and occasionally rolling over so that you can stroke its belly when it sits in your lap.

My cat, Rosalie, is an actual cat. You know, the temperamental kind that ignores you when you want to pet herĀ and then sits on your face at night when you are trying to sleep.

For a story on robotic companions for the elderly, my friend Dave Lee at the BBC organized a meeting between Alan and Rosalie, to see how a robocat and a real cat might get along. Think of it like a Turing Test for cats: can Alan trick Rosalie into thinking that it'sĀ real?


Rosalie, as you may have gathered from the above video, was skeptical. She is not alone.