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Collar helps cats 'talk to owners'

Friday May 6th 2016

A new cat collar can help moggies talk to their owners, its developers claim. The so-called Catterbox works by translating feline gestures into speech.

It has long been established that cats only meow when trying to catch their keepers' attention. Mars' Temptations Lab's state-of-the-art collar aims to bring owners and their cats closer together.

Collar prototypes have already been introduced in New Zealand and the US, the Daily Mail reports.

The device is like the magical dog collar in Up in Disney Pixar's animated film which helps a cowardly dog to speak. Its makers say the collar should inject more fun into traditional human/cat relationships.

They say they studied cat vocalisations before linking them with comparable human emotions. Developers put the tech inside a 3D collar which links to an app where owners can select their pussy's new voice. Cat communication expert Gary Weitzman says there are around 24 different meow variations that are akin to specific commands, the most common being "bring me my breakfast".

Dr. Weitzman has also decoded non-meow cat communication. He says slow blinks mean a wink or a loving peck. Licking and headbutting are further affectionate signs, while flattened ears indicate cats are scared.

Copyright Press Association 2016