Hello, pet parents! I have to admit I fell off the blogging wagon these past two weeks. The first week I have to blame vacation hangover. Then last Monday, a crazy man running from the local 5-0 drove his pickup truck at high speed into our office. He did a thorough job of destroying it, and the past week has been a bit hectic dealing with the aftermath. The blessing in all of it is that none of our staff was injured (the office was not occupied at the time). We hope to have the office back open in a few months; we’ll rebuild better than ever!
Today’s topic is a super cool techie invention for all of you cat lovers. Whenever I’m asked to examine a cat that’s feeling under the weather, or a cat that is overweight or underweight, one of my first questions is “how much is your cat eating?” More times than not, when the cat in question lives with other cats, no one really quite knows how much each cat is consuming. Many cats are grazers, coming and going from the food bowl multiple times in a day. Perhaps if you feed canned food or feed raw to your cats, you have a better sense of how much your cats are eating.
By far, the majority of cats eat dry kibble. I wish this were not the case for the sake of the cat’s health, but that’s a discussion for another time. Here’s where a super smart guy named Mu-Chi comes in. He’s been working on facial recognition technology for dashboards for the past two years. He’s also the dad to 3 cats. One of his cats, Momo, became very ill with pancreatitis and wasn’t eating for a while. Unfortunately, Mu-Chi didn’t recognize this right away, and by the time he took her to the vet, she was seriously ill and nearly died.
Mu-Chi realized he could apply facial recognition to a cat feeder, and the Bistro was born. How does it work? Your cat steps onto a tray and places his or her face inside the feeder. This activates the camera, which either recognizes your cat or will send you a notification to add the cat if it doesn’t recognize him. Weight sensors underneath the food, water, and the tray holding your cat continuously measure weights of each. All of the data is sent via the cloud to your smartphone, where you can view it using the Bistro App.
Bistro also allows you to control each cat’s portion of food. You can tell it how many meals per day and select the type of food your are feeding, and the feeder will use its extensive database of cat foods to determine how much food to dispense.
You can even observe your cats while eating via the Bistro App. If your cats like to eat at night, the built-in LED lighting system will gradually come on so your cats aren’t startled by a sudden bright light.
I think this feeder is genius! I’ll be watching closely to see how well it performs. According to the Bistro website, the first feeders will ship in February 2015. Expected retail price is $249, but you can pre-order for up to 40% off this price here. What do you think of this invention?