Thanks to Schrodinger science has a long history of experimenting with cats, albeit only in thought experiments. Now tech is getting in on the act.
A Canadian company that goes by the moniker of Sylvester.ai claims to be able to tell whether your cat is happy from a photograph of it. The company states its aim as follows:
At Syvlester.ai, we create predictive healthcare products powered by artificial intelligence to improve animal health outcomes across species. We believe animals can live healthier, longer lives when humans can be more proactive in their care.
I'm a little dubious, although mainly because when I read about scientific studies of cats it always seems as if the scientists aren't cat owners. There's no harm in trying these things, though, so I downloaded the beta of their Tably app and tried it out on my cat.
The photograph I took suggests my cat's unhappy and clicking on the question mark yielded this explanation:
I can't say I'm surprised she's unhappy because in the process of taking her photograph I woke her from a peaceful slumber. I'm unhappy when that happens to me. I'll have to try again when she's already awake, but she is by nature the grumpiest cat I've ever had. That's why I like her.
The worry with something like this is it could easily make me paranoid, which in turn would encourage me to take the cat to vet. Presumably the vet would then spend five minutes assessing the cat, tell me there's nothing wrong with her and take my life savings in return. That's what they normally do.