Developers from Mars’ Temptations Lab were tempted to find out what their moggies are saying and built Catterbox, a smart cat collar able to translate cat vocalization to a human language.
Studies have shown that cats meow only when they want to talk to people, and use different vocalization when talking to each other. Having analyzed thousands of cat sounds, Mars’ Temptations Lab created software that converts cat’s language into clearly understandable words. Then the technology was integrated with a 3D printed cat collar. That’s how Catterbox was brought to life.
The collar prototypes have already been launched in New Zealand and the United States. The exact date of release hasn’t been disclosed yet.
However, some critics are skeptical about this smart collar. In his book How To Speak Cat vet Gary Weitzman claims cats use their meows to ‘train’ humans into fulfilling their every wish, with different meows to say ‘feed me’, ‘stroke me’ or ‘let me out’.
‘You know what they’re asking you for because they’ve trained you,’ Weitzman told US news website Salon. While we rain dogs to respond to what we want them to do, cats, in their turn, train humans to respond to what they want us to do.
He added: ‘You can’t translate a particular meow as being universal for all cats, but every cat will make up to two dozen meow vocalisations that mean specific and consistent things – the favourite being the 4.30am “gimme breakfast.’