A UK/German business, Pawly, is looking for Kickstarter funding to develop what looks like a very interesting cat flap (‘cat door’ in the US). A cat flap which will meet the requirements of millions of indoor/outdoor cat owners.
Not all cats allowed outside unsupervised are keen predators but many are. My cat is in that category. Last night he brought in a mouse but did not eat it. It lay under my bed all night and it emitted a rather unpleasant odour which prevented me from sleeping in the early hours of the morning. I didn’t discover it until I moved the bed this morning while trying to find the source of the odour.
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My cat is a committed hunter
This morning I would have loved the Pawly cat door with prey detection. My cat brings in about three mice every month and a lot of the time he eats them or he releases them and they disappear under furniture. All-in-all, a troublesome time when your cat brings in prey. I know a lot of cat owners are upset when their cat brings in prey and eats the animal in their home. It reminds us that our domestic cat companion is a fantastic predator but we don’t want to be reminded of it.
The Pawly cat door with prey detection has been carefully engineered to keep out these ‘unwanted gifts’. It scans the cat’s mouth as he/she tries to enter and keeps the cat flap shut if there’s something in it.
What they say
Frank Carlson, the co-founder and chief executive of the company behind the invention said:
The Pawly Door is equipped with a wide-angle, night vision camera and is linked to an artificial intelligence and computer vision algorithm that scans the environment for a cat. This process happens multiple times per second to allow accurate detection [even] when a cat is approaching the Pawly Door very fast.”Frank Carlson
If there is no prey animal in the cat’s mouth, the cat flap’s scanner and computer check for a microchip implanted in the cat’s neck or a collar to check if the cat belongs to the house owner/resident.
If there is a match, the door opens and the cat is invited in! So, this device essentially prevents stranger cats coming into your home and it prevents your cat coming into your home with a mouse or bird in their mouth. Ideal.
- The camera scans the environment and identifies when a cat approaches the cat door;
- the algorithm analyses the cat’s face to find out if the cat carries prey;
- the RFID sensor verifies the cat’s implanted chip;
- the Pawly mobile app notifies the owner when their cat tries to bring home prey or unwanted guests attempt to enter
Cost is a negative
The huge benefits of this are, I think, somewhat negated by the expense. And I don’t like subscriptions. You will have to pay a £4 a month subscription and a purchase price of £350. This is not cheap and the subscription will of course amount to £48 per year. So, over the first year you will be paying £400 to prevent your cat bringing in prey.
Personally, I find that too much and I would rather mess around tidying up the blood and guts under my bed than pay almost £400 in the first year. But this will be a personal choice. Notwithstanding that negative assessment, I think it is a brilliant device. If they could make it a little bit cheaper or, alternatively, remove the subscription, I would buy it.
Right now, I cannot see the purpose of the subscription (but see below). No doubt there is a good reason for it. As mentioned, it is in development and they expect to have it on the shelves in the not-too-distant future.
The setup is simple and I’ve just discovered why you pay a subscription! The device tracks your cat’s hunting activities. Essentially your cat wears a GPS collar (correct?) and they track it. You will use your mobile app to see where your cat is at any one time. The device also works at night because it has night vision technology for 24/7 performance.
Cat predation in the UK
Finally, research published in 2023 by the University of Reading and Royal Holloway, University of London suggests that pet cats in the UK’s suburbs may be killing 270 million animals per year. It found that suburban cats living on the edge of natural areas kill an average of 34 animals a year. Those living in the suburbs surrounded by houses and further from natural habitats like woodland kill an average of 15 animals per year.
Personally, I have some difficulty in accepting the findings of studies which assess how money prey animals a year a cat kills. But there it is. There is a big discussion about domestic, stray and feral cat predation, which is a big negative to their public profile especially in a world which is becoming more sensitive to nature and the environment.
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