It’s official: cats dominate the Internet, and you should prepare for a little more of that feline focus, as Whiskas builds a gadget that works with Instagram to upload pictures of what your little furry friend is doing all day.
The cat food company Whiskas has surprised us this week with a rather unusual entry into the world of technology. Specifically, it’s a camera made out of an Android smartwatch that can be strapped to a cat and will take pictures of whatever you cat is doing while you’re not there.
Who it talks to when you leave the home, who feeds it, what trees does it climb, and what species of bird has it considered playing with, you know, just for fun.
These are questions Whiskas may well answer with the Catstacam, and no, we’re not making that name up.
The Catstacam is being called a “world first” for wearable cat technology, comprising of a 44 gram camera made from an Android smartwatch and yet running a custom operating system and placed into a 3D printed casing.
The Catstacam only needs to be setup to work with a WiFi network and Instagram account, and when that’s done, it will work by itself, capturing a photo every 20 seconds when the cat is moving (run, jump, play!), and then every 10 minutes if it’s not moving much (sleeping).
“Whiskas is always looking for new ways to help owners get closer to their cats,” said Sylvia Burbery, Managing Director of Mars Petcare Australia, the company that operates the Whiskas brand in Australia.
“We have created Whiskas Catstacam, an innovative idea that allows us to help nurture cat ownership by understanding their behaviour and spreading these insights to the broader cat-loving community.”
Our first expectation on this one was that it was a little bit early for an April Fools prank, but we’ve checked with Whiskas PR on this one, and it very much is being confirmed as real, as we’re trying to get a real product in to have a good play.
We’re told that the camera simply sits around the cat’s neck, and takes photos using its little timing schedule. When the cat goes out of range of your home WiFi — which it’s bound to do if it’s an outdoor cat — the camera keeps on taking photos, uploading them when it comes back into contract with your WiFi network, or simply put, returns home for a nap or to be fed, as cats do.
Once those photos are uploaded, an expert from Whiskas screens the photo to make sure they’re fine, and then uploads them to a human-controlled cat account on Instagram, with questions for cat specialists able to be asked on the #AskWhiskas hashtag.
For instance, you could have an account on Instagram for your cat Jumba, and while you started it, the cat will essentially be updating the account itself without realising it. Or perhaps it is. Cats were worshipped as gods, remember? It wouldn’t surprise us if the cat was totally aware of what you were doing.
As for pricing for the cat camera, it’s unlikely Jumba or any other cat is going to buy this, but even if they could, there is no price or availability as of this time, with the Whiskas Catstacam seemingly planted in prototype territory, and currently being tested by two cats at this time, Instagram users “Jack and Luna” and “catnamed Charlie”.
We’re checking to find out when this will be a real thing anyone can buy, but right now, it seems more like you’ll just have to tune in, watch the other kittens, and wait for the day to find out what until Whiskas releases the Catstacam to reveal to you the secret world of what your furry roommate does when you’re not home.