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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Got a cattitude? This app can tell what mood your feline friend is in

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The app, developed by a Canada-based animal health tech company, uses phone cameras to tell how your cat is feeling.

Ever wondered how your furry friend was feeling? Felt frustrated at not being able to simply speak to your pet?

Well, this app may bring you one step closer to better communicating with your fuzzy companion.

Sylvester.ai, a Canada-based animal health technology company, has developed an app called Tably that utilises phone cameras to tell whether your cat is feeling pain.

Using the camera, the app looks at a cat’s ear and head position, it’s eye-narrowing, tension in its muzzle, as well as change in whiskers, to detect distress in your feline friend.

The app is based on the concept of the ‘feline grimace scale’ (FGC), which was first found in a 2019 study in the Scientific Reports journal to be a useful tool to detect and assess pain in felines.

Read also: Are we meme-ing too much? How images became a key communication tool

“It helps human cat owners know if their cat is in pain or not. We were able to train a machine using machine learning and a series of images,” said Sylvester.ai’s venture lead Miche Priest.

The machine learning based app was trained by assessing several images of cat faces in order to detect pain.

According to cat welfare expert, Alice Potter from the UK based animal charity RSPCA, an app that learns patterns from images of cat faces can be useful, but urged cat owners to also look at their pet’s whole body, such as their tail, to understand the state of the their well-being.

“Cats that are worried or scared will hold that tail really tight and tense to them. And then aside from that, there’s also just thinking about their behaviour in terms of are they eating, drinking, toileting, sleeping like they usually do?” added Potter.


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