NORTHUMBERLAND, England — A British cat owner sick of being woken by his “ruthless serial killer” kitty delivering gifts in the middle of the night has invented an artificial intelligence-based cat flap, OnlyCat, that prevents her from bringing home prey.
Martin Rosinski was tearing his hair out at the felonious feline Jinx, who regularly woke him and his partner, Michelle Bowyer, up to four times a night, while proudly dropping off prey and meowing loudly. Tired of losing sleep, trying to rescue Jinx’s poor victims and having to clean up afterwards, the 37-year-old technology researcher decided to put his knowledge to good use and come up with a practical solution.
“It’s something that I originally built as a prototype for my own use because we were bombarded with two or three mouse deliveries every night. Jinx decided to move in with us two years ago in December 2020. After a couple of months she started expressing her gratitude for having a new home by bringing us gifts,” Rosinski explains in a South West News Service interview. “The first time I was working at home, I heard Michelle making a commotion because Jinx had come in with a mouse and dumped it on the carpet in front of her as a ‘thank you’. That’s their way of expressing love. You can’t tell her off, so we thanked her a lot for it and took it away from her.
“Then this started happening more and more often to the point where we would be woken up at 2 a.m. as Jinx would meow loudly and announce, ‘Hey I have a gift,'” he continues. “If we didn’t get to her fast enough she would decide to eat it herself, which would involve piles of mouse parts being smeared into the carpet. This was happening at 2 a.m., then again at 4 a.m. on many nights and we’d not get any sleep having to deal with this. Her record was four in one night – that night was a frenzy of three mice and one bird. It was something that was a real cause of stress.”
Rosinski says that he was desperate to solve the problem he and Bowyer, a 33-year-old web developer, were facing on a regular basis. Putting his love of software and electronics into action, he masterminded an idea to stop her from getting inside with prey. He created his microchip-run cat flap by installing a camera and developing AI software that detects the presence of prey. If prey is detected, the cat flap is temporarily locked and a notification is sent to his and Bowyer’s phones. A photo of the attempted entry is even included as well.
Since installing the OnlyCat prototype at his home in June last year, it’s prevented Jinx, a 12-year-old domestic short hair, from bringing a whopping 42 victims inside!
“Being both by hobby and by profession really into software and electronics and making stuff I figured I had the skillset and the tools needed to have a go at fixing this problem,” explains Roskinski. “I modified my cat flap by installing a camera and software that would analyze the image from the camera and make a decision whether it’s an empty mouth or a mouth that contains a gift. In the event that it’s a mouth that contains a gift two things would happen, one is that it would temporarily lock the cat flap .The other thing that would happen is it would send a notification to our phones and we would get a little picture instantly saying there’s been another delivery attempt. It’s worked incredibly well and over the last year it’s just been a different story.”
After enjoying personal success with the project, Martin has now turned to engineering company Transmission Dynamics to commercialize the product and help other pet owners enjoy the benefits of a victim-free home. His brother, Tom, is chief operations officer of the company.
“We want to be the first ones to take on that challenge and have all the expertise and skill to be able to hopefully create a really wonderful product that could change other people’s lives,” says Tom Rosinski. “We’re looking at launching on August 16th, it’s a very exciting time for us.”
A hilarious promo video shows owners’ bemoaning the gifting situation, with one anonymous man telling the camera, “We really struggled to come to terms with the fact that our beloved cat was a ruthless serial killer.”
“Michelle and I will be out and about and we’ll get a notification [that] another mouse was attempted and blocked. On top of that, we had a feeling of connection to our cat where we get a little video clip of her face as she leaves or enters the house when we’re at home or not,” says Rosinski. “After having had the cat flap installed for a year, we have 42 video clips of her attempting to bring various bits of prey in – some dead, some alive and some somewhere in between.”
He believes the invention may have even helped the cat to stop the grisly habit. “Two months ago I think something clicked and she realized, ‘I can’t bring these home. It’s just not going to work,'” he says. “She still catches them outside but she’s learned that there’s no point even trying to bring them home, which is a relief.”
The Rosinski brothers and the team at Transmission Dynamics are now looking to make Martin’s prototype dreams a reality. They are now looking to crowdfund the project and get the OnlyCat cat flap on the market by April 2023. You can find out more about the OnlyCat crowdfunding page.
Report by South West News Service writer Helen Le Caplain.
Can they make a door that screens out my son’s worthless friends?
Seems like you might want to keep the cat indoors. If it’s killing animals then you need to act responsibly.
Why not just get rid of the stupid cat?
Cat owners who know, yet continue to let their highly predatory cat unlimited outside access are responsible for a devastating loss of species worldwide. To make a profit from this instead of restricting your cat outside time is arrogance of the worst kind.
Are you guys kidding?
FREE PEST REMOVAL!
The cat should get a pension plan for life.
The reason they bring home so many VERMIN is because they are infestations in England especially near the city’s.
Give that mouser a reward!
Don’t forget how the plague started!