Monitoring A Cat’s Litter Box Usage With AI

[Estefannie] is a proud cat owner, but one of her cats has a bad habit of eating plastic. That means she needs to keep an eye on that cat’s bowel movements, but with two cats in the house, it’s difficult to know who did what. Thus, she whipped up an AI system to log her cats bathroom visits and give her peace of mind.

It’s not the most glamorous project — [Estefannie] notes she took over 50,000 pictures of her cats using the litterbox to train Microsoft Azure’s Custom Vision model. But after some work, it could readily identify which cat was using the litter box when fed images from a NoIR camera. The system then differentiates between number 1 and number 2 via the time the cat spends in the litter box. It’s not perfect, but it works.

The Raspberry Pi runs a Node.JS server to collate the results, paired with a website front-end for easy data display. That way, anyone on [Estefannie’s] WiFi network can see who did what from a browser. We’ve seen cat litter boxes put on the Internet of Things before, and we’ve even seen people hack litterbox DRM, too.

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Cat Litter Tray Joins The Internet Of Things

Keeping a cat as a pet can be rewarding, but it’s always important to consider how to handle the mess – and we’re not just talking about the tea cups pushed off tables here. To handle just this task, [Igor] decided to hook his cat litter box up to the internet of things.

Monitoring the litter box brings several useful advantages. Load cells enable the weight of the litter tray to be monitored, allowing sand levels and the weight of the cats to be checked at regular intervals. Additionally, a door sensor keeps a record of comings and goings, giving an idea of how frequently the box has been used, and whether or not it may be time for cleaning. It’s all powered by an ESP32, hooked up to the Thingspeak platform. This allows for easy graphing and analysis of the data collected from the system. The electronics is then neatly installed in an attractive two-tone 3D printed enclosure with a pleasing cat motif.

It’s a great example of using some cheap off-the-shelf parts to ease the regular tasks of daily life. Building your own gear can be beneficial too, especially when Big Litter implements DRM on their hardware.