App that translates cats’ meows into human language is a big hit with pet owners

While dogs’ emotions are always close to the surface, any cat owner will tell you it’s sometimes hard to tell what their pet is thinking.

Now a new app promises to take the guesswork out of cat psychology by using AI to interpret the meanings of different kinds of meow and let your pet “talk” to you.

The App, MeowTalk, uses your phone to listen to cats’ meows and turns them into simple English phrases such as “I'm in love” or more probably – given that it’s cats we’re talking about here – “feed me", “I'm angry” and “leave me alone”.

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The manufacturers say: “Each cat has their own unique vocabulary that they use to communicate with their owners consistently when in the same context. For example, a cat can have their own distinct meow for 'food' or for 'let me out'.

“This is not necessarily a language, as cats do not share the same meows to communicate the same things with each other, but we can use Machine Learning to interpret an individual cat’s meows and translate that into a human readable language.”

MeowTalk is by no means perfect. Users point out that it depends on fine-tuning from the pet owner to adapt to each cat’s personal “language”.

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“You can alter the translations or add your own to make it more accurate,” said a cat lover, “but if you already know what your cat is saying to do that, then why use the app at all?”

But it’s still a huge success. The app went viral in Japan with 17million downloads and some 250million separate meows recorded.

Cat lovers are clearly keen on using technology to communicate with their pets. Similar apps such as Human-to-Cat Translator also boast downloads in the millions on the iPhone's App Store.

But you need to subscribe every month to keep MeowTalk working. Despite the app’s runaway success, cat owners might be better off saving their money and spending it on delicious treats.

Chances are, that’s what their cat wants most of the time.


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