FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS MEOWTALK?
Cats are complex creatures that communicate through meows, which are often misunderstood because most people don't know what their cats are trying to say. If cat owners could understand what their cat's meows mean, they could react appropriately by better serving their cats’ needs for health, safety and nurturing, while strengthening their bond with their cats in the process.
MeowTalk is an app and a platform that gives cat owners the best tools available for understanding their cat’s needs, enabling them to create an event-rich timeline for each of their cats.
Cat owners using MeowTalk will developer stronger, more meaningful bonds with their cats.
With MeowTalk's collection of cat health services, cats may enjoy longer, healthier, and happier lives.
WHERE DID THE IDEA OF MEOWTALK COME FROM?
“The data and science behind cat’s having “words” has been around a long time (technically cats do not user words and don’t have a language but it’s easier to talk about it that way). You can find studies and research on this topic going back a century with the best and most compelling researching being done in the past 20 years.”
“In 2018 I heard an NPR special called The Secret Language of Cats where Susanne Schotz discussed her book by the same name. I had recently left the Machine Learning team at Alexa at the time and quickly realized that the same voice recognition technologies could be applied to cat vocalizations to translate what they are saying. The idea at that moment was a smart collar, the cat would work into a room, meow, and you would hear a human voice.”
- Javier G. Sanchez, CEO
Conversations: Susanne Schotz, "The Secret Language of Cats"
The Secret Language of Cats by Susanne Schotz
Cat Vocalization Research:
HAVE WE FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHAT CATS ARE TRYING TO SAY?
I think we are on the way to finally being able to understand our cats in a meaningful way with MeowTalk. From translating simple requests like “Feed me!” to more complicated intentions like “Give me affection!”, MeowTalk can help.
YOUR TEAM HAS FOUND THAT CATS USUALLY MEOW ONE OF NINE INTENTS. CAN YOU WALK ME THROUGH THESE?
The MeowTalk app has 9 built-in intents that it can detect out of the box and that are general to all cats:
Calling for their mother/father
These intents are general for all cats and align with the cat’s mood or state-of-mind but they are not the only intents that are general to all cats. Research is showing us that there are potentially several more.
In addition to detecting general intents (like the 9 listed above), you can also train the app to learn specific words that your cat knows. For example, you can train the app to recognize when your cat is meowing to ask for food. To train the app, when MeowTalk recognizes a meow and provides a translation that doesn’t quite match the scenario, you can mark the translation as incorrect and then pick the correct word/phrase from a list that your cat is saying (“e.g. Feed me!”). If your translation does not appear on the dropdown list, select “other” and type in the correct translation. Repeat this process 5 to 10 times total. Wait 24 hours because the app updates daily, and then the app will learn what meows mean that phrase. The next time your cat makes that meow, it will translate it correctly.
YOU HAVE ALREADY REALIZED THAT MEOWS ARE NOT A LANGUAGE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN?
It can be meows that they use to sing along to a song with their owners, or meows that they use to ask for their favorite treats. But, no two cats will share the same specific meows. Research shows that cats primarily use meows to communicate with humans, as they instead use body language and smell to communicate with other cats.
The number of words a cat knows will be different from cat to cat. Some cats are very chatty and will know a lot of words. Other cats rarely meow and won’t know any. It just depends on how much a cat is encouraged to talk.
OTHER APPS HAVE TRIED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT OUR PETS ARE TRYING TO SAY. HOW DOES YOURS DIFFER?
According to our research, only one other company has developed something similar to this – a Japanese company claims that their app can detect general cat moods, however it is not able to actually translate their meows. Akvelon has built the world’s first cat translation device. We are using state-of-the art-machine learning and data science to go beyond just guessing or picking up on tones. We’re matching and detecting specific cat meows similar to how smart speakers’ pickup on our speech.