As both a means of limiting direct contact between staff and customers during the pandemic, as well as streamlining service, we've seen quite a few restaurants in Japan experiment with robotic waiters. Most of these are simple delivery robots, such as a ramen robot that takes your bowl of noodles straight from the kitchen to your table. Other restaurants have chosen to fit their robots with tablets that help them communicate with more personality and facial expressions, as seen with a yakiniku restaurant that gave their delivery robots vTuber personalities.

It's the BellaBot, a cat-shaped catering robot developed by Chinese robotics company Pudu, that has become the talk of the town in Japan, however. The Bellabot is equipped with a tablet that displays feline facial expressions, have kitty ears, and use cat "slang" when talking by adding "meow" to the end of many of their sentences. While their appearance alone is enough to make them quite popular, it's the fact that they have a rather bad habit of fighting with each other that's made them a sensation.

Japanese manga artist Gyakushu(@gankilyuu) recently delighted many on Twitter by reminding us all that the feline robot's penchant for catfights has not disappeared. While the cat robots are designed to avoid humans and obstacles using their onboard infrared sensor and 3D camera, when one obstructs the path of another, they appear to begin yelling at each other saying "get out of my way, meow!" Gyakushu witnessed the adorable confrontation at Skylark, a Japanese family restaurant:

Source: @gankilyuu

"At Skylark, the cat robots are colliding with each other and telling each other to "get out of the way, meow!""

You can call it a technical malfunction for their avoidance system, or perhaps the congested restaurant lanes just made it hard to avoid one another. Either way, customers seem to enjoy the mechanical trouble, with many attributing it to the territorial nature of cats--whether they be robots or not! Many in the replies said they had witnessed similar battles, and have accepted it as some bonus performance when they go out to eat. Perhaps the next time you stop by a family restaurant in Japan, you may run into some cat robots who are happy to help you--but don't completely get along with one another!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.