I really hope the people at Temptations Labs aren’t taking themselves very seriously. Otherwise, we would be forced to doubt their sanity.
From our “new and innovative ways pet-supply companies come up with to make us spend money” file, we discover a cat collar that speaks in a human voice every time your cat meows. It’s supposed to allow the cat to tell us what it is thinking — at least that’s the pitch.
Called the “Catterbox,” the device is the brainchild of an ad agency.
The Temptations Catterbox, created by London ad agency adam&eveDDB, contains a microphone, speaker, Bluetooth technology and wifi. It captures the cat’s meows and translates them into human speech—words that may or may not actually be what they’re trying to say.
The Catterbox is the work of the new Temptations Lab, a scientific-sounding “research workstream dedicated to the future of fun times with your cat,” according to the Mars brand. It is 3-D printed, coated in rubber lacquer for the cat’s comfort and comes in four colors.
The prototype launched in the U.S. and New Zealand today.
“We’re fascinated by cats, so we set out on a mission to get to know them better,” says Temptations global brand director Pete Simmons. “Through research, we learned that an adult cat’s meow is their way to communicate with humans and, by investing in this prototype device, we can start to improve understanding between them both—giving cats a voice for the very first time. At the Temptations brand, we are passionate about bringing cats and owners together. We have always done this through our treats, but we wanted to go one step further.”
“Cats are often perceived as quite hard to get to know, independent pets, so we set up The Tempations Lab to find innovative ways to inject even more fun into a cat and owner’s relationship,” said Richard Brim, adam&eveDDB executive creative director.
I like to have fun with my cats as much as the next cat lover, but seriously, this device has got to retail at close to $100. But I can see the less informed out there actually believing the collar is translating what their cat is saying into human speech. And the company’s tongue-in-cheek ad campaign isn’t helping.
Cats have a very complex means of communicating with both us and other cats. I’ve totaled up 12 different vocalizations made by my cat and I’m sure there are others beyond the ability of humans to hear.
I have a 12-year-old female who voices a symphony with one meow. She starts with a short trill, followed by a bass “ow” and then a soprano “me.” When she faces off with one of the males, you can barely hear the vocal threats being issued because they’re so low on the register.
What I’m trying to point out is that capturing the true meaning of kittyspeech is beyond our current capability. Unless, of course, you have a psychic connection to your cat like I have. Then everything they say is perfectly clear.