Cats, unlike their more feeble-minded canine counterparts, would probably never fall for Pavlovian experiments. Ring a bell, salivate and get fed? Yeah, right, says the cat. But play with me on a webcam, tickle me under my chin, take cute pictures and then feed me? Yeah, that could work.
A new Israeli company, Cat2See, is giving pet owners the ability to adore, photograph, play with and feed their cats remotely. Felines everywhere are meowing for these nifty inventions.
Cat2See, based in Tel Aviv, produces three main products for cat lovers and their pet cats: a cat-friendly webcam that you can manipulate to follow your cat pouncing around the living room, a feeding device, and a tickling game on a stick that you can move remotely for kitty to chase.
All three of these cat tricks can be bought together and controlled via a smartphone and their dedicated apps. The company has also built a social element, because it seems that people can’t get enough of sharing and viewing cat pictures and videos online.
ISRAEL21c met Cat2See at a startup elevator pitch event in Tel Aviv last December. It was represented by business development and sales associate Elan Oren as a company that creates cat-engaging activities and cameras for Internet-wired “Home Alone Kitteh.”
“We’re working on the Nespresso model,” Oren tells ISRAEL21c. Get the remote-controlled feeding device for an affordable price and pay to stock up on the specialty food that goes into it, he explains.
All Cat2See devices, he says, can be used simultaneously and controlled by an app so that kitty doesn’t feel neglected when you are not at home.
The products are already selling by the thousands in Israel, retailing for about $60 each, Oren tells ISRAEL21c. Anyone can buy them on the company’s online store and they are expected to be stocked in retail outlets in America in the coming months.
Food, fun and photos?
Away for the day, or a few days, and don’t want kitty to turn into Garfield? “The food is remotely discharged for the cat to eat,” says Oren.
Israeli entrepreneur Gil Gelfond, co-founder of the company, got the idea for the system from a programming friend who was constantly distracted at work from worrying about his playful cat at home feeling bored.
So what’s a programmer to do when he’s got coding deadlines to meet? He hacked together a program that could control a mechanical arm that would help him play with his cat anytime, from anywhere. No more bored kitty.
The company, founded in 2010, is also working on a version called Dog2See, but with some modifications. Dogs are rougher and will require sturdier designs than their feline friends.
According to the American Pets Products Association, the total market for pet products in the United States alone in 2014 is estimated to be $58.5 billion. Whatever happened to the simple tennis ball and catnip mouse for Fluffy to chase after? Apparently our pets have gotten more sophisticated.
Oren says cats go crazy over the butterfly-chasing game developed by Cat2See.
And you don’t have to miss watching them play because the webcam can be positioned just so to take pictures of them. This ensures that the world will get its fill of those kitty pictures with humanized comments that make us laugh out loud.
It’s estimated that 40 percent of all pet blogs are about cats, and four out of the top 10 YouTube video clips feature cats. The Cat2See photos will undoubtedly feed into this phenomenon. “Cat lovers are the biggest posters of video clips,” Oren says.
At the Elevator World Tour pitch night that took place in the Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv, Cat2See didn’t win a coveted spot on the presentation floor, or the $100,000 prize. But that’s okay. Cat2See came to the event to network and gain exposure, says Oren.
One pet-related company that did make it to the finals that night is Oggii, which has developed a monitor to alert you if your dog seems not to be feeling up to par. This joins a list of many inventions for dogs already innovated in Israel.
For more on Cat2See, visit http://www.cat2see.com/.