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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A Tweeting Litter Box


How can you not be interested in a project that uses load cells, Bluetooth, a Raspberry Pi, and Twitter. Even for those of our readers without a cat, [Scott’s] tweeting litter box is worth the read.

Each aspect of this project can be re-purposed for almost any application. The inexpensive load cells, which available from eBay and other retailers, is used to sense when a cat is inside the litter box. Typically sensors like the load cell (that contain a strain gauge) this use a Wheatstone bridge, which is very important for maximizing the sensitivity of resistive sensor. The output then goes to a HX711, which is an ADC specifically built for load cells. A simple alternative would be using an instrumentation amplifier and the built-in ADC of the Arduino. Now, the magic happens. The weight reading is transmitted via an HC-06 Bluetooth module to a Raspberry Pi. Using a simple Perl script, the excreted weight, duration, and the cat’s resulting body weight is then tweeted!

Very nice work! This is a well thought out project that we could see being expanded to recognize the difference between multiple cats (or any other animal that goes inside).

CatGenie Hacking

[ScottSEA] has six cats. As you can imagine, with six cats, a simple litter box just doesn’t cut it. [ScottSEA] uses the CatGenie. While a self cleaning cat toilet is a technical marvel, it has one major drawback. Much like an ink jet printer, it has disposable cartridges. Those cartridges, just ike some print cartridges, have a built in counter that disables them after so many uses. After adding up the totals for six cats worth of cartridge use, [ScottSEA] started hacking. He has posted directions on how to manually refill them, as well as reset the internal counter using an Arduino.

We suggest that he find a way to harness all that cat power for his home electronics. How many watts could you produce per cat?