MarsCat is a bionic pet you can actually (kind of) afford

Earlybird backers to the Kickstarter campaign can get it for $699.

Elephant Robotics has a new friend for you. The company is introducing MarsCat, a fully autonomous bionic cat, which can be used for personal, educational, research, and commercial purposes. It’s the futuristic version of any other cat in that it kneads, purrs, idly strolls about the house, and meows, but it also comes with its own code and data philosophy.

While it certainly doesn't look like a real cat (it sits kind of wonky and moves in jagged bursts), MarsCat has its own charm.

The bionic cat has the ability to make different meow sounds, recognize its surroundings, audibly interact with you if you call it, has its very own personality (each MarsCat differs from the other, says Elephant Robotics), and perceives distance in real-time. The bionic cat is also touch-sensitive so when you interact with it, it will respond to your physical touch like the average cat. No biting or hissing, though.

A pro-privacy kitty — According to Elephant Robotics, MarsCat is not only a robotic pet, but it’s also cognizant of your privacy concerns. In a video ad for MarsCat, the company states that the bionic cat is open-sourced, customizable to individual user needs, and it stores your data offline. So you don’t have to worry whether your bionic kitten is spying and snitching on you for big tech.

A new horizon for robotic pets — We’ve seen robotic pets before but MarsCat takes this kind of pet-owning to a different and more complex level with its privacy instructions, customizability, and open-source software. If you’re chatty, your MarsCat will be chatty. If you’re quiet, your kitten will adopt reticence too. That's the kind of very personal experience that would make MarsCat a pretty purrfect companion for just about anyone. And, it’s a lot cheaper than Aibo.