Snapping a picture of your cat while he’s taking care of business in the litter box may not be high on your list of things you want to do. But Hachi Tama, a Japanese startup, thinks it should be. And its app for cats will take the picture for you. Among the other new apps for cats is one that lets you monitor your cat as she flies, all by herself in a CarePod, on Delta Airlines.
If there’s room for still more apps for cats on your phone, here’s one worth having. Toletta, a litter box that uses the Internet of Things and AI, monitors your cats’ contributions to the box and sends updates to your phone. That may not be what you want to see in the middle of your lunch hour, but at least you don’t have to wonder who just did what. The update includes a picture of the contributing cat’s face.
Although you’d probably rather not look at it too closely, your cats’ litter box can tell you a lot about their health. Clumps of litter that are smaller than normal could be a sign that a cat is having trouble passing urine. Larger than normal clumps could indicate hyperthyroidism, diabetes or kidney disease. Diarrhea … well, that could be just about anything, from nothing to worry about to irritable bowel disease or lymphoma.
The Toletta uses patented measurement technology to monitor a cat’s weight fluctuations, urine frequency, urine volume and more. An artificial intelligence camera inside the box snaps a picture of the cat’s face. All this information is delivered to an app on your phone, and if you’re concerned, you can share it with your vet.
LuLuPet makes a similar product.
Toletta is a best seller on Amazon Japan. It should be available in the US this summer and will sell for about $300.
Among The Other New Apps For Cats: Delta Airlines’ CarePod
If your cat’s going someplace on Delta Airlines all by herself or can’t ride with you in the cabin, the CarePod carrier and its app will let you monitor her trip from takeoff to landing. This could make the trip less scary for you, although maybe not for her. And peace of mind doesn’t come cheap. A CarePod costs $800 and remains the property of Delta Airlines.
The carrier has industrial-strength walls that are insulated to protect against weather changes, angled blinds to block out visual stress from unfamiliar environments and a spill-proof water bowl. The built-in hydration system can hold up to a liter of water. And the hinged door has locking pins, a latch and holes to add zip ties for even more security. Delta says the bright pink adds extra visibility to cats and dogs in transport.
But the best part may be the ability to check on your cat by using your phone to connect to the Delta Cargo Control Center. Trained staffers digitally monitor and supervise every CarePod pet trip. A GPS tracking system lets you know where your cat is at any point during the flight.
The CarePod is just under two feet high and is large enough for a 50-pound dog. Federal regulations require that the animal can sit up, stand and move around.
For now, your cat can fly in a CarePod if she’s leaving from Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York (JFK and LaGuardia), San Francisco and West Palm Beach. The $800 includes the pod, monitoring and tracking and the flight.
“We believe in sharing a higher quality pet carrier rather than buying a lower quality one so it’s part of the shared economy like Uber and AirBnB,” a CarePod spokesperson said.
The shared economy might be fine for humans who like that sort of thing, but cats are notoriously unwilling to share their space. If your cat flies in a CarePod, spray the inside of the carrier with Rescue Remedy or Feliway. And put an unwashed towel, pillowcase or something else that smells like home in the carrier.
Plan ahead, too. You’re going to have to transfer your cat from her own carrier to the CarePod at the airport. I would probably put a harness and leash on the cat and remove it when she was safely inside the CarePod.
Oh, and one more safety reminder. If you haven’t done it already, microchip your cat before she flies. So many cats and dogs get lost during travel. If your cat gets away from you, that chip could be her ticket home.