Worried your cat is depressed? There’s an app for that…

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Worried about your Moggy being a little maudlin? With their unfathomable looks, cats are notoriously difficult to read, so it can be very difficult to tell what they’re really thinking.

Enter Tablely, the new iPhone app that tells you when your cat is depressed. You just point your smartphone at your cat’s whisker face and the app will tell you whether she’s happy – or a real grumpy cat.

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Developed by the Canadian AI company Alta ML, the app evaluates your cat’s expression using machine learning and the Feline Grimace Scale, a scientific tool for veterinarians developed at the University of Montreal.

Factors such as ear and mustache position, eye opening, and muzzle shape are used to assess the level of pain and suffering in cats.

Many cat owners worry because, unlike dogs, it can be very difficult to know if your cat is in pain or suffering – as their facial signals are subtle to nonexistent. So, is Tablely really helping you know how your cat is feeling?

Unfortunately, many moggy mums and dads have reported that using Tablely was a bit of a challenge – and they have doubts about the app’s results.

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” said Richard Collins, a Kent software consultant, after Yahoo asked him to try Tablely with his two cats.

“You have to work on its interface and allow you to upload existing photos. Right now you have to hit the ‘take photo’ button and hope the cat is looking at the camera – which is pretty much impossible!

“I crawl around the kitchen. It was always said you were in a bad mood, but it’s impossible to know if that’s really true.”

Fortunately, there are more reliable ways to understand your cat’s feelings.

“A cat’s body language can tell us how it is feeling, such as the position of its ears or its tail,” Alice Potter, cat protection expert for the RSPCA, told Yahoo.

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“Reading their body language can take some practice, however, as cats evolved from a solitary species that primarily communicates through scent cues. The RSPCA has some great illustrations that can help owners read their cat’s subtle body language. ”

Knowing what cats are really feeling can be notoriously hard (Getty Images)

Knowing what cats are really feeling can be notoriously hard (Getty Images)

While reading your cat’s body language can be difficult, behavior changes can tell us a lot more.

“It is also important to get to know your cat and understand what is normal behavior for him, so that you can observe changes and know when something is wrong,” said Potter.

Read more: Pets and the Pandemic – The Impact of Animals on Our Mental Health and Wellbeing

“One behavior that can indicate that something is wrong can be hiding or a change in sleeping, eating or toilet habits. These changes can sometimes mean they feel bored, stressed, anxious, or painful. If you notice this, you should take your cat to the vet to make sure there are no underlying health problems. “

“It can also be helpful to put yourself in your cat’s shoes and see if there are any obvious causes for your cat’s altered feelings, such as: B. new family members (humans or animals!), Changes in routine, relocation or new cats in the neighborhood. There could be a number of reasons why your cat may feel stressed or anxious. “

“Most reputable charities like the RSPCA have great advice on how to deal with these types or issues, and how to keep your cat happy and healthy. You may also need to speak to your veterinarian for referral to a Clinical Animal Behaviorist for further assistance to become .”

Read more: My cats did wonders for my mental health during lockdown

Can Cats Really Get Depressed?

“Cats are very intelligent and can experience a variety of emotions, including negative ones like sadness,” said Potter. “However, it’s also important to remember that as much as we love our pets, cats are not little people and don’t necessarily experience emotions the same way we do.”

It is clear that Tablely needs to iron out some wrinkles. However, the app owners plan to include them in the post-appointment vets follow-up process, and are even hoping to enlarge the app so it can access other similarly difficult-to-read ways.

“It’s sort of become a separate entity,” said Michelle Priest, senior product manager for the app, to Wired. “We’re starting with cats, although I think this idea could work with multiple species and grimace scales,” says Priest.

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