Cat Bringing You Dead Animals as Gifts? Artificial Intelligence Will B

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
The use of artificial intelligence in the pet industry is slowly but surely gaining more ground: this AI-powered cat flap just proves it.

If you have a cat that’s free to go outdoors as he or she pleases, you’ve probably got a few gifts in return. And by gifts, I mean dead (or almost dead) critters your kitty has hunted down for you and oh so helpfully put right on your bed so you could find them once you wake up. It’s disturbing and disgusting, but hey- studies show that that means your cat considers you their family member, albeit an incompetent one. While the gory gift is a kind gesture in your cat’s eyes, it doesn’t mean you have to like it though.

Ben Hamm certainly didn’t like his cat, Metric, bringing his prey inside the house. That’s why he developed an AI-powered cat flap that blocked the thoughtful kitty whenever he tried to enter the house with a critter stuck between his jaws. He installed an Amazon Deeplink camera above the cat door and trained the artificial intelligence with pictures of his cats with and without dead animals in tow. The algorithm is based on 3 steps: checking if the cat is going in or out, checking to see if the cat is in the frame, and lastly, checking to see if there are any critters in his mouth. Hamm had to feed over 23,000 images to the AI for it to start detecting his pet trying to sneak in dead animals.

Once the artificial intelligence was able to discern his kitty ‘coming in for a snack vs coming in with a snack’, the rest was easy. He programmed the kitty flap to stay locked for 15 minutes once the gory gift was detected, send him a picture of the deed (just in case) and automatically donate a small sum to Audubon Society, a bird organization. (Metric seems to prefer bird prey.) In the case Metric was coming empty-mouthed, he could enter normally.

Needless to say, many cat pawrents would be thrilled about having this type of AI-powered pet door at their disposal, but this is still far from being a publicly available product. Until it hits the pet store shelves, though, my advice is just to have an indoors-only cat. The nastiest thing my indoors-only cats have gifted me with is hairball vomit- and I’d take vomit over a dead animal every time.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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