Tag: litter box

AI Is Here, And It Wants To Study Your Cat’s Poop

When Alan Turing was dreaming of a future made better by intelligent machines back in 1950, it’s a safe bet he wasn’t imagining computers that could analyze your cat’s excrement.

Turing, often called the father of artificial intelligence, couldn’t have envisioned a device like the LuluPet litter box, which harnesses the combined intelligence of man and machine — a proud lineage of devices from the Speak N Spell to the latest iPhone — to conduct “stool and urine image analysis” and compare your cat’s bowel movements to “excretory behavioral algorithms.”

Excretory behavioral algorithms! A sentence so ridiculous that you must be thinking I’m shitting you, dear reader, just like I double-checked to make sure the whole thing wasn’t some recycled April Fool’s joke.

Nope. The LuluPet litter box is real. It earned an Innovation Award honoree nod at CES 2020’s tech trade show, and it’s headed to Amazon, where you’ll be able to buy it for $149.

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The LuluPet litter box looks like it could be a high-tech microwave built for astronauts on the ISS.

Using a scale and sensor system, LuluPet can determine whether your cat’s performing a Number One or a Number Two inside the covered box, and it’s got visual recognition as well.

Featuring state-of-the-art optical fecal recognition

When your cat goes for a pinch, built-in cameras zoom in on the freshly-dropped deuce nuggets and, uh, log the images to LuluPet’s growing database of kitty crap. That’s when sophisticated algorithms get to work, analyzing the turds’ attributes — including texture, consistency and color, apparently — so it can compare them to others, ostensibly to alert you to any health problems plaguing your stoic kitty.

Worried that the device won’t work because your cat buries her business? Fear not! LuluPet uses “AI image restoration technologies” to recreate your cat’s turd so it can run it through its stool database.

“The litter box comes with 2 AI systems: one for litter analysis, and another that analyzes clumping between litter and litter box material,” the Taiwan-based company explains. “The latter attempts to reconstruct litter shape and present it to the former for confirmation, and can currently identify litter with an accuracy of up to 90%.”

NASA doesn’t even have tech like this!

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“SkyNET became self-award in my litter box!”

Put away those fears of rogue AI trying to wipe out humanity. Lighten up. Take a load off. AI doesn’t want to kill you. It just wants to amass the world’s most impressive collection of feline fecal photographs.

There’s an app for that

Of course, you may want to verify your cat is performing healthy bowel movements for yourself, and an integrated app allows you to tap into the litter box’s camera feed to watch kitty having a nice growler. Welcome to the future, folks.

And for those of you who think this is a fantastic idea but might balk at the pricy LuluPet because you’ve got an entire pride of little lions, fear not: The device’s AI can differentiate between the output of multiple cats by looking for the unique features of each kitty’s downloads.

Again, I’m totally not making this up.

Now that we’ve had our fun, it’s only fair to note the LuluPet litter box is well-intentioned, and if it works as intended, it could lead to critical early diagnosis for animals who are notorious for hiding pain and discomfort:

“Among the top ten causes of death for domestic cats, seven were feces-related diseases. Cats, however, are born concealers of their own weaknesses, making it difficult for owners to find out whether their precious feline is in pain. LuluPet illustrates this with the example of kidney failure: Statistically, a cat’s kidneys are 70% damaged by the time the owner suspects an illness and brings the cat to the veterinarian. The organ damage is not only irreversible, but subsequent medical fees may cost up to US$ 1,200.

Sick cats aren’t completely undetectable. According to the Bristol stool scale, cat feces may be divided into 7 categories, ranging from constipation to diarrhea; constipation may be caused by the pressing of a tumor, while symptoms of diarrhea may be the result of common systemic diseases such as kidney failure. Stool analysis thus becomes the most straightforward way of detecting these diseases.”

Maybe an all-knowing machine overlord to watch over your feline overlord isn’t such a bad thing.

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“Urinalysis complete. Stool satisfactory. Have a nice day.”

Worship Us, Oh Puny Humans!

Dear Buddy,

Did you hear the news about the cat mummies and the big trove of cat statues found by archaeologists in Egypt? My dad says Egypt is a special place ‘cause that’s where humans used to worship us a long time ago. Is that true? Why did they stop?

Kitten in Kentucky


Dear KiK,

Your dad is right! Egypt is a magical land, a place where humans were once keenly aware of our status as the most awesome species on Earth.

Egypt is where you’ll find the biggest litter box on the planet. It stretches for miles and miles until finally the horizon reveals a huge weather-worn statue of a cat and three stone pyramids jutting out of the litter.

The Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza keeps watch over the world’s most sacred litter box.

It is said that by pooping in front of the Great Sphinx and reverently burying the poop in the great litter dunes, one can gain the wisdom of the Sphinx and power over the red dot.

This new discovery solidifies our special status in Egypt and gives us insight into how humans worshiped our ancestors. As you can see, the bodies of the kitties are wrapped up. Those are called funerary blankets, nice and soft for kneading and sleeping.

The discovery was made when archaeologists opened the tomb of a royal priest in service to a pharaoh who ruled long ago, when humans knew their place and cats were viewed as da bomb. Inside the tomb, the archaeologists found two mummified lion cubs and the mummies of several kitties, as well as lesser animals like crocodiles.

Also among the treasures were 75 boxes of cat statues which were venerated by the ancient Egyptians.

Archaeologists are calling the find “unprecedented”:

In a rare discovery announced at a press conference by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on Nov. 23, this dusty duo of long-deceased baby lions was found in a Saqqaran tomb filled to the brim with gold-decorated wood, stone, and bronze cat statues, and a cache of cat mummies.

The tomb was found near Giza’s Saqqara necropolis, which archaeologists believe was associated with the cat goddess Bastet and Miysis, who was her son and a lion god himself. Egyptians also worshiped another cat goddess, Sekhmet, who like Bastet had the body of a human woman and the head of a lion.

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The hieroglyphics read: “Hark, for there will come a handsome cat prince named Buddy, and ye shall worship him by presenting only the tastiest turkey.”
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This relief sculpture portrays the cat goddess Sekhmet.

But there’s one thing you should know, Kitten in Kentucky: Humans never stopped venerating us. They just need to be reminded once in a while with a good hard smack.

This is why, my dear kitten, humans work all day whilst we lounge, and it’s why they often spend more money on our food than they do on their own.

Rejoice, little one, for you are descended from deities!

Your friend,
Buddy

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A statue of Bastet guards the eastern litter box region of Abydos.
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This statue depicts Sekhmet, a lion goddess worshiped in ancient Egypt.

Cat Servant Quarterly Performance Review

Office of His Grace, Buddy I

Quarterly Performance Review, Summer 2019 for Big Buddy, human servant in the king’s employ

Food:

Meal selection remains satisfactory. You are to be commended for serving a rotation of delicious yums, including turkey, chicken, salmon, beef, whitefish and occasionally more exotic dishes like duck.

Service itself could be improved: On one occasion dinner was served 82 seconds late, and on another occasion the meal was tardy by an unacceptable 113 seconds. That’s almost two minutes!

In addition, the King wishes to remind his servant that His Grace prefers when his servant mixes the pate up to soften it, shaping it in a neat pile in the center of the bowl.

Treat quality and variety are satisfactory. The frequency with which treats are dispensed, however, is not. We’ve mentioned this on your last 12 quarterly reports.

Sleeping situation:

Big Buddy performs an essential function, serving as His Grace’s mattress. There was a moment of concern earlier this summer when Big Buddy had lost several pounds upon returning from Japan, threatening the integrity of His Grace’s cushion, but after written reprimands and several bites, the weight was restored. See that it remains.

Litter box maintenance:

Satisfactory.

Toy selection:

Satisfactory. His Grace prefers Da Bird and the fishy wand toy. Also, he likes it when Big Buddy sprinkles treats in his cat tunnel. Those are always a delightful surprise.

Visitors:

There was one week when His Grace was forced to endure the presence of miniature humans, otherwise known as Big Buddy’s nieces. The miniature humans were well-behaved for the most part, although His Grace would remind Big Buddy to remind the miniature humans not to appropriate His Grace’s toys.

Overall evaluation: 6.5/10

His Grace feels that Big Buddy could improve his quarterly score by addressing areas of concern, especially the aforementioned treat frequency issue.

 

Pine Cat Litter: The Verdict

Big Buddy: Hey Bud, how’s it going in there?

Little Buddy: What the heck? [Head pops out of litter box flap] Get outta here! I’m trying to do my business in peace.

Big Buddy: But how’s the pine litter? People want to know.

Little Buddy: [Trills in irritation] People? What people?

Big Buddy: The people who read the blog. Your blog. Come on, you know this.

Little Buddy: [A sudden pause in the digging sound inside the litter box] You’re blogging about my pooping habits?!

Big Buddy: Well, yeah…

Little Buddy: To complete strangers? It’s a good thing no one reads your stupid blog.

Big Buddy: Actually it’s your blog, little guy. And people do read it. Last month it was more than three thousand, four hundred and… 

Little Buddy: WHAT?!

Big Buddy: Yeah, dude. And they want to know how the pine litter is working out for you, so if you could just, you know, describe what…Ow! OUCH what the hell? Stop, stop! Don’t you dare…put those claws away, I’m not warning you ag…owww! You little…

As you can see, Buddy wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of me blogging about his business, but things eventually calmed down and I lifted the lid…

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The good: Pine litter really absorbs cat eliminations of the liquid and solid kind, and does a good job neutralizing the scent. It might do a better job than your regular litter: At one point Buddy blew up the box, and while the smell wasn’t entirely absorbed by the pine, it was much less unpleasant than it usually is with scented litter.

It’s also better for the environment and can be purchased in bulk. That’s a win-win.

Finally, pine weighs considerably less than most other types of litter, which may appeal to cat servants who have difficulty lugging large bags.

The bad: Other cats might not take to it so readily. Buddy is unusually unperturbed by changes in litter, and although I try to remain consistent, I’ve tried several types. He doesn’t seem to mind. YMMV according to your cat’s habits and personality. If your cat is upset by the change, proceed gradually by mixing the pine with the original litter.

The main problem is the way the litter clumps, or doesn’t. You’re not going to get easily-scoopable clumps to leave your cat with a clean litter box, and litter scoops aren’t designed for pine. Instead you’ll have to dump most or all of it out and refill it. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing since you get more litter for the price, but you’ll need to keep a lot of it in your home and you’ll go through it quickly.

The verdict: Pine is probably a great solution for people whose cats aren’t picky about litter. It does a great job neutralizing odor. Others may find it requires too much maintenance and might be put off by the difficulties with clumping.

Pine Cat Litter?

I was at Trader Joe’s today when I saw pine litter sitting on the shelf.

Pine litter? Never heard of it before.

So I picked it up, read the package and thought pine didn’t sound so bad. Fresh pine definitely smells better than whatever perverse alchemy happens with crystal litter designed to overwhelm the olfactory senses with a vague air freshener scent.

But, I thought, it’s probably not a good idea to switch up cat litters on my Buddy, especially so suddenly. I put the bag back on the shelf.

Then again, Buddy has been remarkably tolerant of every different cat litter I’ve tried. He didn’t bat an eye when I switched from clay to crystal, or when I switch brands. I picked up the bag again.

So I bought the pine litter, brought it home and just filled the little guy’s litter box with it a few minutes ago.

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Most pine litter looks like this.

Ruh roh! The pine pellets are big, much bigger than litter granules. And filling up the litter box took the entire bag. I’m worried. Is Bud gonna tolerate this? Will he take to it, or did I just condemn myself to scrubbing cat poop off the hardwood floors tomorrow morning?

I’d also forgotten to consider the fact that Bud likes to dig, dig, dig like he’s tunneling to China. It doesn’t look like he can do that with the pine.

On the plus side, the litter does smell like fresh cut wood, and that’s a definite improvement.

For now the king is sitting next to me on the couch. Nature will call before bed time, and I shall have my answer. Let’s hope it’s not poop on the floor.

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Why the heck is it garnished in this photo? Who garnishes cat litter? Does this mean cats like to snack on this stuff too?