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LIfestyle Tech for Pets | PetsGEEKly

Must-Have Gadgets for Pet Lovers

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I’m a geek.

I’m a geek who has pets.

So, whenever a new tablet, phone, or really anything shiny crosses before my eyes, my geeky senses tingle, and my brain starts offering me reasons as to why I should have it. This reaction is compounded when it is, a) something my husband would love, b) something my daughter would love, or c) something I could pretend my pets would love.

In this week’s PetsGeekly.com column, the first in a new pet tech column that will appear on PetsWeekly.com, I’m going to talk about two pet gadgets that are extremely cool and useful. As a bonus, I’ll show you another product that isn’t so much practical, but about saving cherished memories in a creative way. We geeks have feelings too!

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Technology Made for Cats

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Wonder what your cat is doing while you’re at work all day? Sony Computer Science Laboratories has partnered with researchers at The University of Tokyo to develop Cat@Log, a gadget that combines GPS, a digital camera, Wi-Fi and an acceleration sensor to enable Twitter updates on what your cat is doing. The GPS tracks location, and the acceleration sensor interprets what the cat is doing -- such as walking, sleeping or eating. A camera then snaps pics from a collar-eye view. Every now and then, all this data is sent wirelessly to a home computer that posts a Twitter status update (e.g., “this tastes good” while your cat is eating), complete with tweet pics.

Technology for Your and Your Cat

For now, Cat@Log represents the latest cat-gadget trend. The high-tech trend has increasingly crept into the pet product industry, according to Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association.

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Best Apps for Dog Lovers

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The same device you use to play your favorite tunes and stay in touch can now play a big role in your relationship with your pup. With the touch of a finger -- or in some cases a shake or two -- your iPod Touch or iPhone can help you get to know your pet better, keep it safer and even teach your old dog a new trick. Just visit the iTunes store for a number of software applications that target dog lovers and won’t put a dent in your wallet. Most are free or inexpensive. Here are six worth checking out:

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ScoopFree Automatic Litterbox

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At PetsWeekly, we rely heavily on automatic litter-boxes. Lately, however, I have become increasingly frustrated with them - or more specifically, with the ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box (of which I have three). Let's face it - when you have a Pride of 8 cats, you can't spend time messing around with litterboxes that don't work. And since LitterMaid changed to their new design, it just doesn't work.

So when I began speaking with Brilliant Pet, the designers of the ScoopFree Automatic Litterbox, I was excited to try something new. I'll be honest - I had my doubts because there are very few automatic boxes that will work with my Pride, but I had to find something...

While we're still early in the testing phase, I have to tell you how impressed I am with this product. And for a number of reasons. To begin with, it uses specialized litter crystals that absorbs urine on contact.  Not only does it absorb urine, it "dries" out feces so that you're not left with a stench after it's been swept into the disposable tray. Sensors identify when a cat has used the box, and twenty minutes later, the stainless steel rake sweeps it away quietly and efficiently.

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Litter Robot

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The Litter Robot looks like something out of a Buck Rogers movie, which is great for me, because I happen to be a sci-fi fan.  Being an Aquarius, I love anything futuristic, and the Litter Robot LRII Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box, is exactly that - futuristic.

Now, while I am very future-minded, most animals are not very comfortable with change.  That is not to say they can't be taught.  As luck would have it,  I happen to be pretty good at persuading my pets to become "trendsetters" and, for the most part, they eventually give in.  Yes, even the cats...  Remember, they were worshipped as Gods in Egypt, the most futuristic of all societies, at one point in history! And so, as with all new things, pets need to be persuaded and taught to use the Litter Robot.

If you are reading this column, you already have a cat or kitten, and therefore probably have a litter box.  At least, I'm hoping that you do.  You are either an "automated household" or you're a "scooper".  You may even be a combination of both.  Myself, I'm a fan of automation, but then - I have 18 cats who share a home with me, so I kind of need to be.  If I were a scooper, scooping is all I would do each day.  So - the key for me is finding an automated system that is effective, cost-efficient and can handle a lot of use.

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