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 a mobile app and platform that pioneers decoding animal communications using artificial intelligence technology. We use science and AI to give cat owners the best tools available for understanding their cat’s needs so that they can develop strong, meaningful bonds with their pet companions.
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.
The story of MeowTalk began when one of our Co-Founders, Javier Sanchez, who is a cat enthusiast and owns several cats, was reading his cat-filled news feed and stumbled upon an interesting article. Greek Data Scientist Stavros Ntalampiras wrote a new scientific article on decoding cat vocalizations that inspired Sanchez to look into applying science to understand his cat better - as a cat owner, he knew how challenging it is to understand cats! Javier teamed up with fellow MeowTalk Co-Founders, Sergei Dreizin, Constantine Korovkin, and Oleg Rezhko, and onboarded Stavros to leverage his scientific research. Their collective expertise in science, AI and mobile technology, and - most importantly - cats created synergy and allowed them to develop a vision behind MeowTalk - a science-backed technology that enhances human-to-cat interaction. Together, they evolved the initial idea into a successful product that pioneered decoding animal communications and became a game changer for cat owners around the world.
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?
With machine learning and artificial intelligence, we are on the way to finally being able to decode animal communications and 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.
WHAT IS MEOW INTENT? WHY SOME OF MY TRANSLATIONS ARE BLURRED AND WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BASIC AND PREMIUM INTENTS?
MeowTalk instantaneously interprets cat talk into one of eleven general cat intents; the intents represent cat moods and states of mind and are as follows:
- Mother call
- Mating call
- In pain
- Give me attention
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. The free app version includes access to the translation mode with three basic meow intents. If you use the free version and your cat's meow does not belong to one of the free intents, it will be blurred. MeowTalk Premium subscription allows you to access all meow intents and translations.
In addition to detecting general intents (like the 11 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!”). Learn more in the Tutorials section.
ARE MEOWS ACTUALLY A LANGUAGE?
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. You can train the app to understand your cat's unique vocabulary. Learn more in the Tutorials section.
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. MeowTalk 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.
Meowtalk has the potential to transform the future of pet care and vet care: MeowTalk technology has already been used by some of the top 10 animal healthcare companies for their scientific research.
HOW CAN I HELP THE APP TO PICK MY CAT'S VOICE AND UNDERSTAND MY CAT BETTER?
Our app gets to know your cat better with every translation. You can help our app understand your cat's unique vocabulary to perfection. If the app is not picking up your cat's meows or you think some of the translations are not correct, train the app by correcting translations and submitting voice samples. With time, the app will understand each meow. Learn more in the Tutorials section.
WHAT IF MY CAT STOPS MEOWING IMMEDIATELY AFTER I TAP "TRANSLATE"?
What if your cat starts meowing, so you tap to translate, and then your cat immediately goes silent? Sometimes they get a little camera shy or distracted, so it may be challenging to capture individual meows, which is why we’ve developed an “Autotranslate” feature.
To enable this, on the listening screen, press and hold the translate button. As you hold the button, MeowTalk listens to the environment continuously and then detects and translates all meows in real time. You can leave the listening on for a while so you can have long conversations with your cat. "Autotranslate" is available under MeowTalk Premium subscription. Learn more in the Tutorials section.