With “pet technology” being a popular term in the pet industry, more pet specialty retailers are considering the addition of tech products to their inventory. Apart from the wide array of fun gadgets, there is a selection of products that solve serious problems such as feeding cats in multi-pet households, tracking the amount of water they drink and finding them when they go into hiding.
According to research conducted in the United Kingdom, makers of the Surefeed microchip-operated feeders and motion sensor pet bowls, found that cat owners waste between 33 percent and 50 percent of their cat’s wet food.
“This is because wet food does not stay fresh for long and subsequently becomes unpalatable,” explained Piers Hampson, marketing manager for the company. “And this is an issue because most cats like to graze throughout the day. Sealed bowls maintain freshness for a longer period. They also keep flies and insects out of the food.”
Thanks to its motion sensor, the bowl only opens when a pet approaches, making it ideal for single pet households. On the other hand, the microchip feeder is programmed to only let a designated animal feed from the bowl—perfect for multi-pet households where pets might be on differing diets. For pets that are not microchipped, the company also supplies a special tag that can be paired to a specific bowl.
Surefeed has also incorporated the same microchip technology to operate a cat door that allows felines access to secure outdoor areas. The door can also be installed inside the home to give cats privacy away from other pets.
New Jersey-based Pet Life produces a range of smart food bowls and water fountains. The Petkit Fresh bowl has a scale that offers four units of conversion: grams, pounds, ounces and milliliters. The bowl has an anti-flow contoured design to prevent food or water from spilling and anti-skid rubberized grips to keep it firmly in place.
The Petkit Eversweet drinking fountain alerts when the water level is low and, when in smart mode, only flows when approached by a pet. In normal mode, it flows continuously. The product has been awarded the International Product and Design Innovation Award for its sophisticated modern design.
“The fountain is engineered on the infinity concept,” said company representative Joseph Braha. “The upstream water flow directly comes into contact with water above the rim resulting in far less noise and complete silence.”
“It also has a five stage carbon filtration system,” he added. “The filtration pads are also re-usable. We recommend a carbon filtration change once every 12 months and they should be cleaned every six months.”
The Eyenimal range of products from French company Num’ Axes has produced an “intelligent pet bowl” with an integrated scale and an LCD screen that enables pet owners to measure the amount of food put out daily as well as monitor the amount of water consumed on a daily basis. The latter is an important feature because cats often do not drink enough water.
Combs and Cameras
The company also has a static comb, a chemical-free alternative to killing fleas. The battery-operated comb uses a harmless electrostatic current to kill and remove fleas hiding in a cat’s thick coat.
In 2010, Num’ Axes made headlines when it collaborated with Friskies to create the first movie made by cats. For this project, a variety of cats wore the first Eyenimal pet camera that filmed their lives. The movie was subsequently edited by a Hollywood film crew and debuted with a red carpet event in Hollywood.
“Since then, we have significantly improved the technology and reduced the size and weight of the cameras,” said Joëlle Thomas, export manager for Num’ Axes.
There are currently three different cameras available. The latest one designed specifically for cats is called the CatCam, which films with HD clarity, features night vision and a motion detector that halts recording when the cat is sleeping.
The latest version of the barrel-shaped POD GPS tracker designed in Australia specifically for cats is now Wi-Fi compatible, which allows for both faster location notifications in the neighborhood as well as inside your own home. The tracker, which is reputed to be the smallest and lightest, weighing in at one ounce, fits onto any collar.
The POD GPS tracker is also waterproof and comes with two batteries so there is no down time. Thanks to smartphone connectivity, pet owners can also monitor their feline’s activity levels and receive alerts if the cat escapes its domestic safe zone.
The Petzi Treat Cam allows owners to treat their pets around the clock from anywhere. Working through an app, owners can check-in and interact with their felines from any smart phone or tablet. The product has a wide-angle camera with night vision and high-quality audio capabilities. The treat launcher can be used with any dry, crunchy treat smaller than an inch in diameter. The unit also comes with a mounting kit so that it can be placed anywhere in the home.