A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

Sometimes a Kickstarter project comes along that captures the zeitgeist in such a way that it rakes in close to 10 times its $50,000 funding goal within just a few days. Sometimes that Kickstarter project is a futuristic cat potty which resembles a high-tech teleportation chamber from a 2018 update of David Cronenberg’s The Fly. Today is one of those days.

Called Footloose (because why wouldn’t you name a feline toilet after a beloved teen musical starring Kevin Bacon?), it’s a potty that promises to be the most cutting-edge way imaginable for your kitty to take a dump. After using this sci-fi-style litter tray, your beloved Mr. Bigglesworth won’t be able to so much look at your neighbor’s lawn without turning its nose up in disgust.

“Footloose is the first smart cat potty that cleans itself automatically, and also monitors the wellness of felines,” Byron Fan, founder of Footloose manufacturer Petato, told Digital Trends. “The patent-pending self-cleaning mechanism is a nifty and efficient way to dispose of cat waste. The tech can distinguish litter from cats, recognize multiple cats, and detect any motion such that human intervention is reduced to a minimum. These features are possible thanks to onboard computing cores embedded with a dimensionality-reduction algorithm which fuses data from a dozen sensors. Footloose is also the first litter box integrated with a proactive deodorizing unit. The result is a box that requires little owner maintenance, but delivers information including a cat’s body weight, waste volume, toilet frequency, and duration.”

Prior to dedicating his life to cat toilets, Fan spent three years working at drone maker DJI. He describes the goal of the smart litter box as being both to lessen the daily chores of cleaning up after your cat, and also to monitor the subtle differences in your pet which could be difficult to spot for an owner, but may have potential health implications.

“I think people have been waiting for a solution like Footloose,” Fan said, responding to our question of why this project has struck such a chord with would-be customers. “One backer mentioned her cat would require special attention also because of urinary problems, which isn’t uncommon as cats age. What I love about the Kickstarter community is that they actively contribute ideas for possible add-ons that could further elevate the experience. As a parent to six cats, I can totally relate.”

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the potential risks inherent in crowdfunding campaigns. However, if you’re aware of these and still keen to get involved, head over to the project’s Kickstarter page to pledge your cash. Prices start at $299, with shipping promised for June 2019.

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