The humble litter box hasn't seen much in the way of high-tech innovations since the first self-cleaning box was introduced many years ago. While you may look at the litter box and see a chore in waiting, Pet Wireless looked at the same thing and thought, "Aha! Let's turn that into an innovative cat-health gadget!" The result is a Kickstarter project called Tailio that wants to transform your kitty's bathroom into an intelligent health-monitoring system.
The Tailio platform sits underneath any standard litter box. From there, it gathers data on when your cat goes to the loo, how much the cat weighs and the weight of the waste. It forwards the information through an analytics system and to a mobile app that warns you if your cat may need medical attention. This sort of alert could be triggered by an unusual increase in bathroom visits, for example. Forgetful pet owners can also use the app for litter-box cleaning reminders, which your cat will appreciate.
Tailio can track multiple cats, telling them apart by their weight and differing litter box behavior patterns. This should be fairly effective unless you have cats who weigh the same and behave like twins. The weight-monitoring feature can be useful for flabby felines, letting you track your cat's weight loss (or lack thereof) when on a veterinarian-recommended diet. Similarly, it could help catch sudden weight loss sooner, an important sign of ill health.
The Tailio is going for a $149 pledge on Kickstarter (about £94, AU$170). If you have multiple litter boxes, Pet Wireless recommends using multiple Tailios in order to collect accurate data. The device runs on rechargeable batteries or can be left plugged into a wall socket. The Tailio Kickstarter just launched and is already past $25,000 toward a $30,000 goal with 29 days left to go.
The story behind the invention of Tailio is a sad one. Founder Alex Treiner lost a beloved cat to cancer after missing the signs of the cat's medical issues, such as extreme weight loss. Cats are notoriously skilled at hiding illnesses, so it can be challenging for pet owners to notice problems before they become severe. Treiner hopes Tailio will help solve that issue and save other cat people from potential heartbreak. A similar story lies behind the Bistro smart feeder, which started as an Indiegogo launch. The Bistro tracks cats' food and water consumption; add a Tailio and you can keep tabs on both ends of the process.