Chatty Catty

Early last year, Temptations treats posted a serious of ads online that promised cat staffers the opportunity to finally understand their furry companions. The device in question was a new cat collar (boo!) that had been programmed to translate the various sounds made by the cat into something that a human could fully understand. (You could even select the type of voice for your cat companion, which we feel less enthused about.)

It makes sense, this desire to understand your cat. We have so much good advice to offer, and yet humans seem incapable of understanding most of it. It can take years of training just to get humans to understand the most basic conversational gambits. And making specific food requests can be challenging. Wine presents an even greater dilemma.

So despite the fact that this was available in collar form, we were just as intrigued as our humans. We will admit to some skepticism here. Temptations, of which we are fans, has designed some very clever cat commercials in the past, and this had the smell of being another such bit of shuck and jive.

It didn’t help that there was no obvious place to order the collar. Lots of short videos, but no actual shopping cart. Plenty of cat lovers who viewed the videos declared the collar┬áto be a hoax.

But it turns out that the Catterbox, as the collar was dubbed, really exists. It was created by Swedish technology firm Acne at the behest of Adam & Eve, the ad firm responsible for the Temptations ads, including the 2016 holiday destruction ad, and the H&M holiday train ad. Acne scientists spent months just sitting and listening to cats. Armed with this data, the crew then used voice-recognition software to develop the Catterbox.

The next step was to test the collar. Fifty Catterboxes were made and sent to volunteer cat owners in New Zealand. The results were positive enough that both Acne and Adam & Eve gave some serious thought to releasing the collar for sale, but the final decision was that more work was required.

Well, we do have quite an extensive vocabulary, as any wait staff is well aware.

So work continues. We can only hope that future versions of the Catterbox will include the proper terminology for those felines who also happen to be devoted oenophiles.


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