It isn’t enough that Felix claws your couch and sneak sips from your bedside water glass. Now you and your cat could be on the verge of becoming a lot closer. After the success of a device that claims to interpret a dog’s moods and feelings, Japan’s Takara is planning a similar gadget for cats.
The Meowlingual is still under development and few details are available.
However, Tokyo-based Takara said it would have some of the same functions as the company’s Bowlingual translator including the ability to “translate” cat calls into one of around 200 phrases that are displayed on a built-in LCD (liquid crystal display).
Cat fanciers around the globe are no doubt awaiting the list of the 200 cat phrases with breathless anticipation. A small minority of ARN cat owners suggested that the list would contain 200 variations on the classic feline themes of ‘feed me’ and ‘rack off’.
Unlike the Bowlingual, the Meowlingual will be a single unit — a neck-worn microphone judged impractical for cats — which owners will hold up to their cats so it can record their calls. There will also be body-language analysis and medical-analysis functions and a new feline fortune telling function and other features that are still under development, Takara said.
It is due to go on sale in November this year and will cost US$75.
Takara said consumer reaction to the Meowlingual in Japan will determine plans to sell it overseas. Its sales forecast, of 300,000 units in the first five months on sale, points to the Meowlingual being a faster-selling item than the dog device.
Japan had 7.1 million cats and 9.5 million dogs in 2002, according to the Japan Pet Food Manufacturers Association.
The company’s Bowlingual, which went on sale in Japan in September 2002, has proved to be a hit with dog owners.
The company has sold about 300,000 units since its debut and a localised version went on sale in South Korea in May. An English version is due out in the US in August.