We pet lovers often spoil our furry friends to a degree others might find a little ridiculous. We buy them puppuccinos at the Starbucks drive-through. We spend more on their health care than we do on our own. We take them to the groomer to get fancy haircuts and schedule play dates for socialization. We find them the best food money can buy, and perhaps even spend hours crafting them custom raw dishes made of organic meats. Considering all that, is it terribly surprising to hear that some of us might consider purchasing an alien-looking orb that functions as a blow-dry chamber for cats?
Taken out of context, “Dmuse” is a puzzling object. It sort of looks like a futuristic clothes dryer complete with a circular glass door — though it also features a chute that looks like it would leave your clean clothes piled all over the floor. Its real use is even closer to a fictional gadget you might have spotted in The Jetsons when you were a kid. After bathing your cat, you place it inside and push a few buttons to select the temperature, duration, and fan strength. 30 seconds or so later, your cat comes out of its high-end sauna experience warm, dry, and fluffed.
We know what you’re thinking. How often do cats even bathe? Who would buy a large, expensive appliance for such a rare occasion? But Dmuse is multifunctional, offering a place for the cat to play, hide, and lounge in between baths. The drying space is at the top, with transparent doors to allow the cat to see outside during their spa treatment. If they get bored, a device for playing whack-a-mole offers a diversion. At the bottom, a dark, snug hole becomes a place to hide out.
The device was created by industrial design academy Designer Dot and student Lee Da-eun as a new smart gadget for the home. “Most cats hate bathing,” Lee writes. “The box-shaped dry room, which has been used a lot recently for convenience reasons, limits the free activities of pets who are stressed by bathing. The user can control the stage of play, wind strength, and drying time with the touch panel. This allows the fur on the cat’s belly to dry through a hole in the bottom plate. The colors were inspired by the cat’s habitat and the nocturnal nature of cats. When the drying time is over, the door will automatically open and the cat can come out on its own.”
Any cat owner will tell you that bathing a cat is rarely a relaxed experience. Most cats don’t like water, and will not only fight you to escape the bath, they’ll run and hide as soon as you let them out of the room, glaring resentfully from on top of the refrigerator with a trail of water in their wake. So a cat-safe drying chamber may not be as outlandish as it sounds — unless it’s a standalone object with no other purposes that just takes up space between baths. That’s what might make the Dmuse attractive to cat lovers, if you happen to have the type of cat that doesn’t ignore the beds and toys you buy in favor of cardboard boxes and paper bags.
Okay, so a cat fluffing orb is definitely an extravagance. But with so many other aspects of our homes getting the “smart” treatment lately, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which objects like this are simply normal parts of our decor.