Cat Dome: Fun for the Cat But What About the Fish?

Mon, Mar 8, 2010

Beds & Loungers


Here’s an interesting concept from designer Geoffrey Cooper. It’s the Cat Dome, a habitat for your kitty and your fish to hang out together. Yes, cats do enjoy watching fish move around in a tank, so the interactive element is an original concept, but, I’m wondering, would this make the poor fish live in a constant state of panic? Maybe certain types of fish wouldn’t mind — I’m not a fish expert — but it seems a little cruel. What do you think?

Thanks to Goma’s mom Sachie for the find.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin



72 Responses to “Cat Dome: Fun for the Cat But What About the Fish?”

  1. 1
    Rebekah A.

    I don’t know anything about fish, but my cat’s most endearing and troublesome quality is his insatiable curiosity. I’m afraid he’d manage to topple the whole thing and kill the poor fish.

  2. 2

    I think it’s cruel because the fish has no where to hide as in an aquarium; although, I don’t know how fish think, or if they care at all. Still, I wouldn’t buy this. Better safe than sorry little fishie.

  3. 3
    C M

    Doesn’t look like a very interesting, healthy or enriched habitat for fish at all. No aeration, no plants to hide among, no little pebbles – quite miserable really. Not my idea of good design at all.

  4. 4
    Isabel Chang

    I know a lot about fish, fish-keeping and aquariums. This is unrealistic because 1) fish need aeration; 2) the type of fish matters — in the illustration is a goldfish and they tend to emit a tremendous amount of ammonia which requires filtration to neutralize, otherwise the fish drowns in its own urine (so to speak); 3) filtration, even the most simplistic design, requires an air pump, power filter contraption… A betta may be only option because they are surface air breathers but even expecting a betta to last more than a month in this thing is unrealistic.

    I love the design but putting a live fish in this is just cruel.

  5. 5

    We’ve got a 20 gallon fish tank in our living room with 2 kitty condos that are 2 story both my kitties love to sit and watch the fish. The fish even swim to that side of the tank when kitty sits there as if to say hello or tease =)
    Also, we have a lid and have never had any problems with either jumping onto of tank since we added the condo’s for viewing.

  6. 6

    I think some fish are not bothered, but the points made are really interesting: normally cats like to watch the “prey” from a higher point, so I suppose most cats would try to climb on top of the structure and will topple it over; also I know that much – no fish would like such a naked environment, they need places to hide; unless the whole thing is cleaned and the water is changed every other day taking in consideration temperature, chemical composition etc you won’t have a happy fish. But maybe it’d work with fake fish!

  7. 7

    poor fish… bad idea. Looks interesting but that’s it.

  8. 8

    This is pure cruelty. The fish has no space, no bottom gravel, no plants, no filtering of the water and no hiding places. I hope this is just a silly concept, not a real product for sale (couldn’t find it on the Muuto site), but even as that, very cruel idea. Even in the image it looks like the fish is gasping for oxygen.

  9. 9
    Donna & Morgan

    Interesting concept – it would be a cute idea for a Beta Fish – since they are usually kept alone.

    I do have to agree the fish has nowhere to go – so a tweek in the design to be able to add in some plants and other things would make this fun.

    Believe it or not – fish are also very curious and have amazing personalities. I used to have a 10 gallon tank on my desk when I worked at AT&T.

    I had oranda goldfish and a beta named Sinbad. One of the orandas got sick, and was having trouble swimming. Sinbad would push him around the tank, and even up to the surface for air. Between the medicine and Nurse Sinbad – he was better in a week.

    I’ve had other fish tanks at home since with my cats. Even though they had plenty of places to hide, they would come out and go nose to nose with the cats. I finally had to give them up because no matter how cat proofed the tanks were – my abby would manage to extract a fish a week. That for me was cruel.

  10. 10
    Michelle McK.

    I know fish. Most fish become accustomed to cats pawing at the glass of an aquarium. I think the biggest issues I have with this system is the lack of habitat for the fish. Plus becaue there is no filtration or airation not many kinds of fish would survive long term. A betta would live. But my Betta love his moss ball and sitting on his plant. It also looks like it would be a pain to clean. I would not consder buying this.

  11. 11

    Ditto on the toppling the whole thing over. My cat has super-kitty strength when she wants something.

  12. 12
    Amy A

    It reminds me of the people that I can’t stand at Petsmart that bring their dogs over to the cat adoption cages for no apparent reason other than to entertain their dog and scare the cats. Although, I have no idea in this case if the fish can see the cats or if they just see a reflection like a normal fish tank.

  13. 13
    Mariana V.

    We had some exotic fishes. My cat Pufa considered that is her duty to take care of them, and every morning – not late then 5pm she woke me up to feed the fishes. Even after they died she was looking for them for weeks. When one of the fishes died she showed it to everybody, until the fish was dry, but did not eat it. I suppose she would be very curious but i am not sure that would be fair for the fish, the tank is too small and the poor thing could feel stressed.

  14. 14

    It kind of creeps me out.

  15. 15
    Azar ATTURA

    This looks like it can be VERY CRUEL to the fish. How many people REALLY know how to care for a fish???The plastic may be leaching toxins into the water, the air space is VERY small, the fish needs to be fed, and have its water changed EVERY day, and there is NO point of reference (up, down, side) for the fish — I’ve …seen fish in clear tanks panic from this (they have no point of reference– they feel ike they are floating in space– let’s face it – a tank needs to mimic the natural habitat of the fish).

    If the fish gets sick, what will the “owner” do? Are they aware of acquarium pharmaceuticals that are made for specific diseases in specific fish? These medications work — will the owner take care of this fish, which can live for 5, 7, 10 or more years?

    A 10 or 15 gallon tank WITH filtration, a background taped to the ouside of the back of the tank’s glass (to keep it clean), a sturdy cave for the fish to hide in, AND a sturdy top would provide a decent solution for the fish. My cats always enjoyed sitting near the fish tank (15 gallon on a sturdy bureau) and there was no way they could dip their paws into it, as the top was very sturdy, secured, and made to stay on. My fish were healthy, and well cared for.

  16. 16
    Azar ATTURA

    PS– Fish think– they care. I had goldfish for 20 years — at noe point I had 7 tanks. The fish lived long lives and if they got sick i cared for them, using the proper medications (and some herbals too–succesfully). Yes they think, the communicate,they have emotions. In fact, one of the bottom-dwelling catfish (small) fell in love with one of the goldfish and it was so funny to watch the goldfish try to avoid the amorous catfish!!!

  17. 17
    Courtney W.

    This aquarium appears way too small for most types of fish. Just one goldfish requires a ten gallon tank. Even a betta needs at least a two or three gallons to live happily. Plus I don’t see a filter in the picture. Unless you plan on doing water changes almost on a daily basis, fish require a water filter. With these considerations in mind, this product could use some major improvements. I have just placed a shelf next to my 50 gallon freshwater aquarium and one of my cats enjoys watching his underwater friends (peacock eel, redtail shark, African dwarf frog, glofish). I think people are better off just providing a kitty with a comfy viewing area next to a sturdy aquarium rather than buying a flimsy aquarium that fails to provide fish with an ideal habitat.

  18. 18

    When I was growing up, I had some pet mice. Then I got a kitten. The cat enjoyed watching the mice, but never tried to hurt them or get into the cage, perhaps because she grew up with them. The mice didn’t seem to mind her watching them either.

  19. 19
    Sheila Gross

    I used to keep tropical fish, but since I started keeping cats. Any fish small enough to live in this aquarium is pretty much too small to be able to “think”. Besides, it would be possible to add a plant or something else for the fish to hide in.

  20. 20

    Not a fan – I agree that a lot of fish are seemingly by nature quite nervous, so I’m fairly certain this isn’t an ideal living environment for them.

  21. 21

    Seems like a great idea for a cat and a terrible idea for a fish. However, on Geoffrey Cooper’s website there was a cool idea under sketches for an interactive toy that projects images on the wall for kitties to chase. (No fish involved)

  22. 22

    I don’t even like to see pet fish in tiny aquariums like this with or without a predator peering in!

  23. 23
    Babs (formerly Kush's human)

    Once acclimated to their new tank, I guess I don’t think that the fish will care. I mean, are we wondering whether they feel intimated by *us* on the other side of the glass? Or little kids poking at the glass? I also think you could put gravel and plants in there, even a treasure chest, so fishy might have cover, too. If I remember correctly, once fish are in a tank, they’re not crazy about change within their acquatic environment, but kitty (hopefully) won’t be in the water.

    In sum, I don’t think this is any different than any other acquarium in a home with a kitty. The question is: Is there any danger of kitty toppling the thing or ending up inside of it? If not, it is a crazy kool design!

  24. 24

    No worse than having a fish bowl and people staring in it and tapping on it. I think it’s a cool idea and anything that entertains kitty is worth it! I just wonder how easy it is to clean. Maybe put a wind up fish in it to avoid having to clean it?? Something else that will move around in the water??

  25. 25

    I think it’s a lovely and aesthtically beautiful concept–but sure, the fish would constantly be in panic–forget he’s in panic–then panic again…and so on, until the fish suffers some sort of cardiac arrest! lol
    just an unsubstantiated hypothesis…

    but I favor the fish in this one, it would keep me from buying it. The fish need some sort of hiding place, plus my Devon would knock it over in a heartbeat.

  26. 26

    I’m with Ruth. Creepy.

  27. 27
    susan leech

    I would not want one..susan L.

  28. 28

    i think that is the coolest thing i have seen in awhile!

  29. 29

    Thanks kate for posting! Yeah I think it is not so friendly for fish…

  30. 30

    This looks interesting for a cat, but it doesn’t look good for the fish!

  31. 31

    “The Muuto Cat Dome is a habitat for your pet cat and goldfish to interact with each other. The ultimate entertainment for a cat is a moving creature, and the ultimate entertainment for its owner is seeing this playful interaction.”

    It’s pretty obvious that this is all about the cat and the owner being entertained and not about the welfare of the fish. Maybe the intention is to take the fish out of its home tank for the “entertainment time” because that is way too small a space to keep a fish in permanently. To me it looks horribly cruel to the fish but then again some people have no problem feeding mice to pet snakes. This to me seems similar but totally unnecessary.

    As stated before, a goldfish would be totally inappropriate but a Betta (aka Siamese Fighting Fish) could live in there for a while since they don’t need an aerator. Unfortunately most people don’t take into consideration that Bettas are tropical and do much better with a heater that keeps the water above 75 degrees. They also like places to hide (a clean tiny flower pot on it’s side makes a great hidey-hole for them). My Betta lives alone in a 2 1/2 gallon, heated, filtered, tank with gravel and plants to hide in. He is very happy and swims around a lot and is quite interactive when you approach the tank. When you see listless Bettas it’s usually because they’re cold or their tanks are dirty. I really don’t see any way to safely add aeration or a heater to that tank without also endangering the cat.

    Instead of this torture chamber set-up, buy a 2.5 gallon mini-bow or baby bio-orb aquarium with a lid, gravel, plants and a small heater. Then both the cat and fish can be happy.

    Reef one makes a cool modern series of small fish tanks called biorbs Just please don’t put goldfish in them because they are really too small for that. I have a 8 gallon Orb (as well as the Betta tank) and I’ve had good success with 2 White Cloud Mountain Minnows, 2 Platies and 2 Galaxy Rasboras all added slowly over time. People have also had good luck with Danios and small Tetras. It’s a whole other hobby though; you have to know about cycling, stocking levels, keep track of water chemistry and clean the tank regularly. Cats are actually much easier to care for IMO.

  32. 32

    All I have to say is… pretend you are the fish!!!

  33. 33

    I think it’s cruel for both the cat AND the fish. Cats aren’t designed to sit and watch prey and never be able to get it. That can drive them to insanity and actually create mental instability. To be so close to a fish (prey) is unnatural and quite cruel. In addition, I agree with everything people have said about the “tank” being incredibly insufficient for the fish.

    So “BOO” to the inventor of that horrible thing.

  34. 34
    Sherry D

    I couldn’t find this for sale anywhere on the inet. I sure hope this isn’t/hasn’t been approved for sales. Bad bad idea. Yes the kitties would love it but the poor fish. First off the fish needs air, water filtration to keep it clean, plants, rocks, places to hide and rest. None of these needs are met in this product. Most fish need to have a certain water temperature, no way to control that here. Fish also can die from fright and in this contraption the fish could be in a constant state of fright. And then there’s the possibility of toppling from kitty’s attempts to catch the fish and then crash instant fresh fish dinner for kitty. This product doesn’t even supply the basics for a happy healthy fish, let alone the many other factors and needs that go into caring for fish. This design was created simply put for the enjoyment of the cat and no consideration for the fish. I definately would not buy it or anything from any company that would sell this product as it is.

  35. 35


  36. 36

    although fake plastic fish could save the design. but I’m almost so angry that a designer could be so ignorant and inconsiderate that I wouldn’t even purchase a revamped fake fish design from this stupid company. yeah it makes me angrier than I thought at first.

  37. 37

    it’s cruel because the place for the fish is so small! if it were bigger, and you could maybe put a plant or two in there for a little habitat, then i think it would be fine. fish don’t seem to be terrified by cats – at least not ours. maybe because they were raised in captivity, but our two goldfish don’t regard our cat any differently than they regard us – my cat loves to watch them and sometimes will reach out to the glass to try to touch them, and the fish don’t react at all. and sometimes, when he jumps up to watch them (we made a little spot for him next to the tank where he can sit and watch them) they’ll swim up to him to take a look at him. as for the comment above mine about it driving the cat to insanity to watch prey – my cat doesn’t really regard them as prey i don’t think. the birds and the squirrels otuside our windows drive him insane, but he just loves watching his fish – his behavior with the fish is different from the predatory mode he gets in when he watches birds (when he sees birds, he cries and twitches and gets himself all worked up). i think of the fish as cat tv, he can take it or leave it, but when he’s in the mood, he likes to hop up there and watch them for a few minutes.

  38. 38

    Wow does this look like a bad idea. As a zillion people have said – fish part too small, especially for goldfish. The fish could be at the surface because there’s not enough oxygen in the water for it. Also unless the base is really heavy having water up top seems like it would invite tipping over. It seems unnecessarily cruel and a bad buy because it’s likely that fish would have to be replaced often.

    dawn – i’ve bookmarked the biorbs in case I ever get to have fish again. :)

  39. 39

    Okay… my cat has an aquarium in front of her food zone. So, every day she gets “dinner and a show.”

    I have noticed no stress for the fish. In fact, the fish tend to come up to Mia (my cat) and dance at her face. I assume they’re begging her for food. But, they neither scatter nor flee when Mia swats at them.

    The only thing that bothers me about this design is that the fish doesn’t seem to have enough space.

  40. 40

    Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. I certainly wouldn’t buy it.

  41. 41

    This is really neat! The fish looks like it is saying hahaha, you can’t get me!!

  42. 42

    Words fail me, this gives no consideration to the poor fish. This THING will not be getting a place among my cats!!!

  43. 43

    The person who ‘designed’ this item didn’t think far enough into the idea to consider the other living being involved – the fish!

    Not only is there not enough water for the fish to live properly, it’s not a healthy environment either. The fish will not live long like this! Most cats would not be interested in getting inside this ‘tank’ but rather more likely interested in climbing up on the outside, to get into the opening.

    Poorly designed, but most of all, a poor idea that should be scrapped!

  44. 44
    Missy K

    ITs a cute idea,but a lone fish in a small space is cruel in and of itself.
    I have 3 fish tanks.
    I keep fresh ,salt,and I have newts,shrimp,crabs, frogs, and crawfish too .
    I’ve kept tanks for over 15 years now,and I’ve had cats the entire time.
    Fish can be trial and error .
    A betta or large goldfish ,should have at least a gallon of water.
    That doesn’t look like a gallon.
    But you can keep both with no problems. Lizards too.
    I’m not even sure the fish get that frightened of the cats.They will dart away ,but its better if there is more room,and more than one fish….the fish should be comfortable .It would be better if it was an entire tank with a space under it,and it had a clear bottom.
    There is actually a tank like that.It doubles as a small table .

    One of my fish tanks is purposely next to my Puffs 3 level condo.The top is level with the tank.
    Puff has only 3 legs and is a gentle soul.The condo has a round porthole like opening at the top.
    Puff sits and watches the fish go by.
    The tank is 20 gallons ,so lots of room.
    Its got guppies ,bettas,and various tetras .
    Its like her own private aquarium.Only she looks…its soothing for her .She never swats at the glass.

    Then in my living room ,the 40 gallon salt water tank is a sleep spot for Diamond.The lights warm the top,so she like to sleep there.She never bothers the fish .
    This tank next to Ptolemys condo too..He is only 8 months old,but he’s big already .
    Very strong and agile ,and he’s the only one that actively swats .
    The rest look,but do nothing.The younger ones are the ones most interested .

    BUT ! ,covers for all tanks are a MUST if you have kitties.
    One cat did get into my old betta tank.Years ago. I still have him.He’s about 9 yrs old now.
    I would see his tiny pussy prints on the counter after getting his paws wet.He was young then too.

    He would fish them out and play with them .I’d find them unscathed ,but quite dead in the morning,on the floor about 2 feet from the counter where the tank was.
    Bettas do jump out on occ…..and I first 2 times,no prints ,but after the 3rd time….
    He just wanted to play I think,but the poor things would die before I knew what was going on.
    So its cute,but id never buy one unless it was much bigger for the fish

  45. 45

    This is an UTTERLY inappropriate setup for a fish. Never mind the cat — forcing a fish to live like this is cruel and unusual punishment. Sheesh.

  46. 46

    There isn’t enought room for the fish, no place for it to hide, and how on earth do you feed it. The cats can get their enjoyment watching fish in a standard fish tank. And I don’t see the cruelty. It’s normal for cats to watch fish moving. And I don’t think fish have enough thought to be afraid if the cat can’t get to it. In fact, I lost my Oscars to what I call Convict fish because no one told me the Convict fish would eat the Oscars alive.

  47. 47

    Horrible idea. Yes, the fish would be stressed. You don’t need this for your cat to “fish.” Just get a small covered fish tank like the Water Wonders by Tetra. My cat hangs out beside mine and stares at my fish all the time, but he can’t get to it. The fish seems ok with that.

  48. 48

    Nope, we don’t like it. ;(

  49. 49

    Not a good thing. Fish need more than water to thrive. I hate it when people put fish in a decorative tank that is way too small for them. How would you like to be 6X6 foot room made of glass?

  50. 50

    If working at a fish hobbyist store for five years has taught me one thing, it’s that goldfish can’t live without aeration AT THE VERY MINIMUM. Imagine spending your (now very short) life sitting in a sealed tupperware container with no holes.

    There are several more problems with this setup, as well as the fact that the owner would likely be getting fish as decorations and toys for the cat now, but I’ll leave that aside for others to comment on.

Leave a Reply