App translates cats’ meows into human phrases through machine learning

·1-min read
The app translates cats’ “unique vocabulary” using machine-learning technology (Zeke Tucker via Unsplash)
The app translates cats’ “unique vocabulary” using machine-learning technology (Zeke Tucker via Unsplash)

A cat-translation app can interpret the meows of your cat into phrases from human language, learning from your pet over time.

Called MeowTalk, the app can translate any meow into one of 11 ‘intents’, or emotions. These include happy, defensive, angry, attack, mother call, mating call, in pain, resting, hunting, warning, and give me attention,

For a pet that many claim is standoffish, such a tool could help cat owners understand their feline friends better.

In fact, cats are known to only use meows to communicate with kittens and humans, using body language and other signals to communicate between adult cats.

However, the app developers claim that it can learn from individual cats over time.

“Each cat has their own unique vocabulary that they use to communicate with their owners consistently when in the same context,” MeowTalk explains. “For example, a cat can have their own distinct meow for ‘food’ or for ‘let me out’.

“This is not necessarily a language, as cats do not share the same meows to communicate the same things with each other, but we can use machine learning to interpret an individual cat’s meows and translate that into a human readable language.”

Users of the app can also train it to learn their own cat’s unique vocabulary, by giving it between five and 10 examples of that specific meow.

The app will then learn that noise and be able to identify it when it hears it again. This process can take up to 24 hours.

MeowTalk is free to download and use, with an optional $2.99 monthly subscription to turn off ads and download audio history. It currently has 4.6/5 on the Apple App Store, with 18,400 ratings.