Sensors in the back of cars could stop pets dying in hot weather

Although it’s normally dogs, cats are equally at risk of dying of heat stroke in the back of a car in warm or hot weather because their owner forgot they were there or were careless enough to be unaware of the dangers. In the UK, the RSPCA said that in 2021 they had 8,300 emergency calls about pets, 90% of which were dogs, about this issue. This represented a 50% increase since 2016. More than 800 children (est: 1018) have died of heat stroke in hot cars since 1990 in the USA. That gives you an idea of the scale of the problem.

Cat in car
Cat in car. Image: Pixabay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

RELATED: Can cats suffer from heat stroke?

And in the modern age when technology rules, you’d think that car manufacturers could incorporate sensors to pick up two factors (1) the temperature of the interior of the car and (2) the movements of a dog or the sounds of a dog or cat or simply a visual recognition that a dog or cat is present. There’s an app currently on the market which can read the facial expressions of a cat. Therefore, I don’t think it is beyond the expertise of technologists to build an app which achieves the above objectives.

As it happens, Japanese scientists are developing sensors to detect when children are left in a vehicle. The campaign was started in Japan in 2021 when a 5-year-old boy died after being left for nine hours on a nursery bus when temperatures rose to above 50°C.

An affiliate company to Toyota, Asin, is working on a radar sensor that can detect if a toddler has been left alone in a car. The sensor is positioned in the roof lining.

In Britain parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised in a way which is likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the UK can be used to prosecute a person doing the same thing in respect of a companion animal. Although I suspect that a prosecution rarely happens.

In America there are several types of sensor designed to protect children: Sensorsafe, General Motor’s Rear Seat Reminder System, Driver’s Little Helper Sensor System and Waze. At the moment, as mentioned, I can’t see why this technology can’t be modified slightly to protect dogs and cats.

I suspect that it would be easier to protect dogs compared to cats because dogs are left in the back of cars with freedom to move around. This would allow a sensors pickup movement whereas domestic cats are normally kept in carriers inside cars. This would be a barrier to their detection but nonetheless surmountable in my view.

There are too many examples of pets being harmed and killed in the back of cars across the planet. It’s time to develop technology to protect them and it is well within humankind’s grasp to do this.

Below are some more articles on hazards to cats.

Parish Council will subsidise pet health insurance for the cats and dogs of Paris

Paris Council will subsidise pet health insurance

The administrators of Paris, France, have decided to introduce a council-sponsored scheme to subsidize the health insurance of cats and ...
Dusty cat litter

Is cat litter dust potentially harmful to cats and cat owners?

To be honest, this topic is a bit of a minefield. It is very complicated. It is hard to find ...
Cat swallows sewing needle

Cat swallowed a sewing needle

The video shows the removal of the sewing needle from the back of a cat's mouth by a veterinarian. Hard ...
Nero and Lucy the vet who removed the hair ties. Eleven in all with an endoscope. Image: Westway Veterinary Group.

Hair bobbles (hair ties) are dangerous to cats as too often they like to ingest them

I've decided after a quick search on the Internet to declare to the world that hair bobbles are very dangerous ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
Scroll to Top