Cat lovers of the world, rejoice! You finally have the chance to understand what your pet is saying thanks to a smart collar that can interpret feline meows and translate it into human speech. Aptly named ‘Catterbox’, the collar supposedly has a digital sensor that detects meows, and uses a special program to decipher the meaning behind them.
Developed by London ad agency adam&eveDDB, for Temptations cat treats, the invention comes preloaded with a dictionary of cat purrs, meows, and several other sounds to make the interpretation as accurate as possible. “We’re fascinated by cats, so we set out on a mission to get to know them better,” said Pete Simmons, global brand director of Temptations.
The promo video for the device claims that Catterbox, the world’s first talking cat collar, is designed to finally help humans understand the meaning of meows. “Cats are often perceived as quite hard to get to know, independent pets, so we set up The Temptations Lab to find innovative ways to inject even more fun into a cat and owner’s relationship,” said Richard Brim, executive creative director of adam&eveDDB.
“Studies show they only meow in order to communicate with humans,” the video adds. “So we set out on a mission to get to know them better. By analysing different cat noises, we’ve designed a digital sensor that detects a cat’s meow and uses a unique program to turn it into a human voice.”
So by using the collar, owners can speak to their cats and expect a meaningful response – well, about as meaningful as a cat’s meows can get. The sassy responses are delivered in a British accent, in a voice of the owner’s choice, selected through a smartphone app paired with the collar. A few sample responses are demonstrated on the company’s YouTube channel – they are quite hilarious, but obviously not very convincing.
In all probability, Catterbox is just a tongue-in-cheek albeit very clever marketing gimmick. If you really want to learn the meaning of cat meows, you’re better off keeping an eye on ‘Meowsic’ (short for ‘Melody in Human-Cat Communication’), a Swedish study carried out over the next five years.