In his excellent 1968 novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ (the basis of the film “Bladerunner”), science fiction author Philip K. Dick writes about a world with virtually no real, living animals. Robotic animals are “kept” by their owners, and given the same feelings and affection associated with real animals:
He ascended … to the covered pasture whereon his electric sheep “grazed.” Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building.
It turns out that several studies show that robotic pets really do invoke the same feelings and reactions as real pets.
Site – http://www.livescience.com