Wi-Fi litter box tracks cat poo, health

TMI or just loving your cat that much?

A Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a smart litter box reached its $30,000 goal Wednesday, which means the dream of monitoring a cat’s bathroom habits on a smartphone will become a reality for cat lovers.

The product is called Tailio, an electronic device that slips underneath a cat’s litter box. The device then monitors the cat’s weight, how often it goes to the bathroom and how big of a present it leaves behind.

"Our vision is to transform how we care for our animals. Go from reactive to proactive," said Tailio inventor Alex Treiner, an electrical and computer engineer from San Diego.

The idea for the device came when Treiner's late cat lost a quarter of its weight due to cancer. But he didn't notice the weight loss until it was too late.

"The idea is to get the cat to a vet as soon as possible," Treiner said. "People tend to catch on to this late in the game."

By measuring weight change and behavior, Treiner said the Tailio can also warn people about urinary conditions and diabetes. Or, just let a cat owner know to change the litter box.

Treiner's company, Pet Wireless, said on its Kickstarter page that it expects to ship the Tailio to customers in April 2015. The fundraising money will be used for large scale manufacturing.

Though the $30,000 goal has been reached, the fundraising campaign will continue until mid-December. Additional goals for "stretch funding" will be announced soon, Treiner said.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on twitter at @GavinStern or email him at gavin.stern@scripps.com.
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