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Unveiling Cat Pain: Japanese app aims to detect cat pain

In Japan, cats are believed to bring good luck, and their owners spare no expense in caring for these beloved pets. However, it can be challenging to determine when our feline friends are feeling down. In response to this concern, a Tokyo-based tech firm and university have joined forces to create a remarkable app.

Named “Cat Pain Detector,” this app has undergone training using an extensive database of cat photos. Its creators claim that it can accurately assess whether a cat is experiencing discomfort or pain. Since its recent launch, “Cat Pain Detector” has already garnered an impressive 43,000 users, primarily from Japan, but also from Europe and South America, according to Go Sakioka, the head of developer Carelogy.

The “Cat Pain Detector” app is just one example of the expanding range of technology aimed at pet owners who care deeply about their furry companions’ well-being. Similar mood and pain tracking apps have also emerged from Canada and Israel, indicating the global interest in utilizing technology to monitor pets’ health.

To develop this app, Carelogy collaborated with Nihon University’s College of Bioresource Sciences. They collected 6,000 cat photos and meticulously analyzed the positions of the cats’ ears, noses, whiskers, and eyelids. This data was then used in conjunction with a scoring system devised by the University of Montreal to discern subtle differences between healthy cats and those suffering from illnesses that may not be readily apparent.

The information gathered was fed into an AI detection system, which was further honed by approximately 600,000 photos contributed by users of the app. As a result, the “Cat Pain Detector” app has achieved an impressive accuracy level of over 90 percent, as shared by Go Sakioka.

It’s worth noting that the importance of such technology is underscored by the fact that, according to the Japan Pet Food Association, 60 percent of cat owners take their pets to a veterinarian only once a year at most. The app can potentially bridge this gap by providing pet owners with a means to monitor their cats’ health more frequently and proactively.

According to Go Sakioka, the head of Carelogy, the ultimate goal of the “Cat Pain Detector” app is to assist cat owners in making more informed decisions about whether their feline companions require veterinary attention or not, all from the comfort of their homes.

The app has already gained popularity in Japan, a country known for its adoration of cats, symbolized by Hello Kitty, and the prevalence of cat cafes and islands with stray cat populations. Some veterinarians in Japan have already begun using the “Cat Pain Detector” to aid in their diagnoses.

However, Go Sakioka also emphasized that while the AI system behind the app has shown promise, it still requires further improvement to achieve a higher level of precision before it can be considered a standardized tool in the veterinary field. As with any medical-related technology, the accuracy and reliability of the app are of utmost importance to ensure its effectiveness in supporting cat owners and veterinary professionals alike.

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