My cat Pablo is fat. His fluffy stomach swings wildly side to side when he runs, and he only runs towards his food bowl. On the chonky cats graphic, he’s most definitely a “megachonker” and a kibble frenzy or two away from graduation for “oh lawd he comin ‘. I wake up almost every morning with his cock slamming my face as he screams because it’s been unacceptable eight hours hours since his last meal. I don’t particularly care if he’s a Big Boy as long as he’s relatively healthy. However, something had to be done after his last visit to the vet. Not only did he tip the scales at 19 pounds, the vet called my husband to say, “We’re worried. He’s far too young to be this large.”
Prescription high fiber diet foods didn’t work. We bought him a harness and a leash for walking around, but only managed to drag his elongated body to the front door before the harness slipped off, proving cats are in fact watery. The only form of exercise Pablo believes in is the extreme nap. I’m writing this all to let you know that the Enabot Ebo Pro hasn’t done anything wrong. The blame rests squarely on Pablo’s round shoulders.
The cutest robot in the whole country
The Ebo Pro is silly and cute. It’s a little robot the size of a tennis ball with pixelated eyes that express feeling. When you turn it on, it proudly says “EBO!” as if it was a pokeMon I’m pretty immune to cute stuff after spending 7 years in Tokyo, a land of insanely cute things, but I’ll admit it: I screamed as I unwrapped it. My review unit came with a secondary outfit, complete with reindeer ears and a Santa hat, which I can confirm is ridiculously adorable when you put it on the bot. It also comes with two ‘hats,” one with a built-in laser pointer and another to attract your kitten with silicone feather accessories.
Functionally, the Ebo Pro is a chimera consisting of a pet camera, robot vacuum, and cat toy. It has a 1080p camera that you can view through the companion app, and the Pro model also has AI that can recognize your pets and family members. It can also automatically record videos. You can choose to actively drive the robot through the app or program it with different preset modes to play with your pet at a certain time or day of the week. When it is low on the battery, it automatically returns to its charging station. And, like most auto-navigating robots, it also has crash sensors.
Setup is quick and easy: just download the Ebo app, create an account, and have Ebo Pro scan a generated QR code. After that it took about two hours for it to fully charge, and then I was ready to torture – er, play – with Pablo.
How it works
Driving the Ebo Pro manually takes some getting used to, and I’ve never been so good at it. It could well be me, however. The camera feed helps you navigate, although the Ebo Pro is a wobbly robot. It’s not the worst thing, but sometimes when chasing an animal under furniture you won’t get the smoothest video. This is exacerbated when you do this away from home on spotty LTE, but I find it to be true for any pet camera. There are also a few buttons you can press to help the Ebo Pro interact with your cat. For example, you can press a button on the dashboard to move it forward, while another makes Ebo pretend to be dead. Each action triggers another “EBO!” Very cute, which Pablo never once liked.
Frankly, Pablo wasn’t a fan of me driving the Ebo Pro manually. Every time I drove the robot towards him it would give it a cool look that said, “What am I supposed to do with this?” If I hit him too often he would jump onto a surface where Ebo couldn’t follow him. Just when I think Pablo is actually a glorified couch cushion, he’s proving he’s a cat. For example, there is banana for laser pointers. However, he’s a classy boy and only likes laser pointers if you move them back and forth in a specific pattern. It wasn’t easy to manipulate the laser like this in manual mode unless I hit the button that spins the Ebo Pro in a circle. Pablo was not amused and not motivated to do anything other than look at the camera like he was in an episode of Office. It was disappointing because he lost his shit when I looked at the PetCube Play 2, which also has a built-in laser.
I thought I would try to seduce him by sticking the silicone feather on the head of the Ebo Pro. Pablo loves his feathers, even if he can only chase them for a few seconds before it’s nap again. I really caught him looking at the quill, but again he couldn’t be bothered to interact unless the robot was stationary on its charging dock.
Robot part, Pet Cam part
Even though Pablo wasn’t keen on it, I liked that it could work as an additional pet camera when we are away from home. The problem with regular pet cameras is that they are fixed in one place, while your pets are free to roam around. With the Ebo Pro, I can follow them everywhere. As with other pet cameras, you can also talk to your pets and record videos. If an ordinary pet camera is a security camera, the Ebo Pro looks more like a robot camcorder. The auto-save feature initially gave me the heebie jeebies, but I was pleasantly surprised that Ebo Pro doesn’t store any video in the cloud. You can only live stream, which you have to start manually, or watch videos saved on your phone. Another advantage is that you don’t need to store data in the cloud, there are no additional subscription fees.
Another feature that I liked and Pablo hated was auto-tracking. I was impressed with the Ebo Pro’s ability to recognize faces and move towards them without me having to drive the bot. (Side note: when Ebo recognizes a face, he rushes with the eyes of the heart and, Come on, is that cute?) That meant I didn’t have to use my two remaining brain cells to figure out how to track the cat. Again, Pablo didn’t have my bullshit. Whenever he had enough he would drive the Ebo Pro to my dog Daisy. Although the Ebo Pro can recognize faces, it is not very good at distinguishing between a cat and a dog (or a human). That asshole just handed the Ebo Pro to Daisy and said, “Your problem now.” Daisy’s reaction was to sniff the Ebo Pro, then take a harder nap. (Daisy too opposes any attempt to get the dog back in shape.)
After all my frustration with manual mode, I have had more “success” with the Ebo Pro’s automated modes and scheduling. As long as the laser pointer was on, Pablo would sometimes chase the laser half-heartedly for 10 minutes. In fact, “to hunt” is to be generous. He sat there, stared at the laser on the ground for a few minutes, and once or twice hit it with his paw. Not enough to be considered “exercise,” because he still preferred to spend most of the hunt lying down. Anyway, I’ll take it. With Pablo, any engagement is a good engagement.
Again, I must point out that the Ebo Pro did nothing wrong. It self-stops better than any robot vacuum I’ve ever tested, including those costing several hundred dollars. He also wiggles his butt as he backs up onto the platform, before letting out an “EBO!” Festive! when he succeeds. I can’t comment on how the Ebo Pro handles carpet, as my floors are all hardwood, but I had no issues with its ability to navigate around chair legs and other furniture. The crash sensors are also impressive. Even though the Ebo Pro definitely knocked on a few doors, it did it slowly. (A Roomba once destroyed and chipped the wood of my dining chair, so never underestimate the damage a self-navigating robot can inflict.)
No match for a lazy cat
So no, Pablo doesn’t like the Ebo Pro, although I think he’s curious about it. Sometimes I catch him sniffing or staring suspiciously as he walks past his dock. I can tell you what new toy he likes: eempty the laundry baskets. Every laundry day this little shit finds her inner bunny and jumps in and out of it with abandon, rubbing her cat hair on my freshly cleaned clothes. A highly sophisticated robot at $ 299? Pfft. No. An old collapsing laundry basket that he has seen several hundred times before but is suddenly in love with? Hell yeah.
This is the risk that all cat owners are all too familiar with. Personally $ 299 is too expensive for me, whereas Pablo is lazy as hell and prefers to keep his bowl of Daisy’s water at recess. However, if you have a cat who Is like to play and are considering getting a decent pet camera, the Ebo Pro is a good option. It’s only about $ 100 more than high-end interactive pet cameras, but offers superior interactivity and stores unlimited videos on your phone without a monthly subscription. For me it’s fair trade-disabled if you are reasonably sure your cat (or dog) will enjoy playing with the Ebo Pro. Sadly, that’s not in the cards for me – although I would have liked it to be.
Pablo is sitting on our daybed as I write this review, licking his paws smug because he’s fully aware he’s won this battle. Enjoy it while you can, mate. Mom has 10 open tabs on high-tech cat treadmills, we will therefore see who will have the last word.