So, this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has come and gone, and the gadget-minded have all been inspired by the range of useful devices (and even more entertaining techie toys) the season has produced. But most of the ones we see celebrated have been aimed at humans. Of course, we are the ones with the money, so that is to be expected.
Nonetheless, more and more of us every year are shopping for our pets, and gadget designers recognise this. So, without further ado, Pets4Homes present four of our favourite picks for ‘best cat gadgets for 2018/2019’.
If you are fed up with next door’s cat eating your furry friends’ food every day, or you have a dog that takes a fancy on a regular basis to what is in the cat bowl rather than his own, this new invention could solve your problems. Somewhat like artificial intelligence, it will only let your own cat feed, and any interlopers will not be able to access it.
The bowl on this device is magnetically mounted and comes with a wide-angle lens camera. When a new cat or other pet tries to eat the food, it is prevented from doing so by a polycarbonate cover. However, if your own cat appears to eat their food, the visual recognition element will spring into action, and pull back the cover for your cat to get to their delicacies. There is a bonus of an app to let you know when your cat has eaten and when the bowl is empty. What’s more, it even has a light on it so that your cat can see what he is eating at night!
It will be interesting to see how this device will stand the test of time but does sound like a problem solver of stray cats on a mission.
Some well-known names in the GPS tracker business to capture a big corner of the pet market, and one of the latest devices, the GPS cat collar system is a great way to know where your cat is at all times. You may have seen one before, but this is a collar with a difference.
It is not a technologically complex system. The 25-gram collar contains a small GPS receiver and a SIM card which lets it connect to the local mobile data network. You then download the app for your phone or tablet (native apps are available for both iPhone and Android devices), and you’ll always know where your cat (or at least its collar) is.
One thing that is revolutionary about some of the new models is the way that data is displayed. You can choose from three modes, switching between them with a tap. The Map Mode displays a map of your neighbourhood or surroundings, with you and your pet’s positions flagged. Once you get a bit closer, you might find it more helpful to switch to Compass Mode, which shows you the direction to your pet and its distance. Finally, you can switch to Radar Mode, which has a ‘Pokemon Go style’ interface. It displays your pet’s approximate position on the phone camera’s view of the area.
Another important feature is the fact that your cat is effectively wearing a tiny mobile phone. That means you can transmit your voice to a speaker in the cat’s collar and reassure them that you’re on your way if they become lost. We suppose you could also ask passers-by to help, or simply try to make strangers think your cat can talk. You’ve got to expect a little off-label use of a feature like this!
Some of us will remember the Jetsons, with their dog enjoying a virtual walk on a treadmill. Well, pets don’t enjoy treadmills (not that many humans do either) and that little bit of the-future-that-never-was has remained a fantasy. Totally indoor cats have remained very difficult to exercise and tended to expend their excess energy by climbing up the curtains or (apparently) racing full-speed into the walls at 3am.
Well, no more. A cat Weight Control Treadmill from a relative newcomer on the market is an attractive, fun, and surprisingly effective solution to making sure even indoor cats get the right amount of exercise. What makes the cat WANT to run on a treadmill? Well, this isn’t click-bait, and the answer won’t really surprise you. It’s a laser.
Admittedly, there is a bit more to it than that. The treadmill, chasing laser, and everything else is controlled by an app. You can control all aspects of your cat’s daily workout routine with it (except, you know, ensuring that the cat cooperates).
All in all, the manufacturer claims it can help overweight cats lose as much as 3kg, but they’ve published precious little research to back those numbers up. Still, it DOES seem to work.
OK, this idea has been around for a very long time – a ‘scientific’ device that can translate the barks, meows and other noises of our beloved pets into human speech.
Is it real? Maybe. There are credible scientists who say that cats only ‘meow’ to humans to communicate, and that there are specific types of meows which mean certain things. So far, so good. Whether an app can consistently tell the difference between “Give me attention now or I’ll smash more of the things you love” and “I know you and The Red Dot are conspiring against me” remains to be seen.
This app purports to be the answer to all communication problems apparently uses the same process in reverse, claiming to translate your words into ‘cat’. So far, we can’t tell the difference between the meow it produces when we say, “I’ll feed you when the sun comes up and not a moment before” and “Who’s a furry boy?” but perhaps the cats can.
Excited to be a cat owner in 2019 yet? Check out these ideas thoroughly before spending your hard-earned money, but if they work long term, then you can certainly get excited!