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Robot pet creators reach for purrfection

Moggies and mutts in a high-tech fight to the death

Cat lovers who may have felt left out by the recent craze for robotic dogs can now have their very own electronic version of their much-loved feline friend.

A robotic creature called 'Tama' from Japanese company Omron will take on the likes of Sony's Aibo and Sega's Poo-Chi robot canines in the ultimate battle of the furry friends in Japan this year.

Omron claims that Tama has realistic simulated emotions -- she purrs when stroked and goes to sleep whenever she feels like it, just like a real cat. Sensors embedded in Tama's head and fur mean that she will respond to touch as well as the tone of an owner's voice. If smacked she will become cross and hiss angrily.

According to press reports, this robo-pet will cost less than Sony's £1200 Aibo, although a price tag has not yet been announced.

Tama will go on sale in Japan in November but Omron has not yet decided whether overseas pet-lovers will be able to get there hands on this bionic beast.

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