Your cat’s litterbox behavior can tell you a lot about their health. But it can be challenging to notice the subtle changes in their litterbox behavior or weight that could be a sign of something more. The Petivity Litterbox Monitor translates these subtle changes into meaningful data, helping you unlock a new dimension of care for your cat. In this article, Petivity Behaviorist Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan answers commonly asked user questions to explain the data behind the smart monitor’s unique insights.
Q: Broadly, what does the data in the Petivity mobile app tell me about my cat?
A: As a cat owner, we have no doubt that you know your cat better than anyone else! The unique relationship that you have with your cat allows you to know when she is hungry, ready to play or ready for some cuddle time on the couch.
While most people are great at reading the big cues or gestures that our cats give us, we are less great at identifying the very subtle changes in behavior that accompany a change in health state. This could be as minute as a change in the frequency at which a cat visits the litter box to gradual shifts in weight. Just like with our human family members or close friends, these shifts may not be apparent if you are interacting with them every day.
This is where the Petivity system can come into play. Each day, Petivity will track your cat’s every movement in the litterbox, including the time of day and waste type of each visit, as well as their weight to really establish a great baseline for your cat. Then, over time, Petivity will assess changes in these baselines. You’ll be able to see changes from day to day, week to week, month to month or even year to year to highlight those changes that may be meaningful but not readily apparent.
Q: How much should I expect my cat’s weight to fluctuate day-to-day, week-to-week, etc.?
A: Just like we might experience small fluctuations in weight throughout the day, week or month, the same is true for your cat. Your cat’s weight will fluctuate a bit throughout the day depending on the time she eats, drinks or eliminates, but these fluctuations will generally be negligible. Within the Petivity app, you will be able to see a captured weight for each of your cat’s visits to the litterbox. It is normal that there will be some variation from visit to visit, so you will also find an average weight for each day reported in the system. You can feel confident that Petivity will inform you of any concerning fluctuations in weight; our pet experts have developed weight tracking logic that will keep tabs on fluctuations and notify you if there are any shifts or trends that you should keep an eye on.
Q: If I don’t see data for one of my cats, what does that mean?
A: If you have more than one cat, when you first start using the monitor, we will ask you to label at least eight events for each of your cats so that the system can learn which cat to associate with which set of data. The Petivity system will identify cats based on their unique features, but will rely on your knowledge of your cats to confirm which cat is which. Once the system learns about your cats, you should see individual data for each of your cats. If you find that the system is not reporting data for one of your cats, there are several possibilities to consider:
First, check to see if the system is attributing events to one cat and not the other. Look through the events to identify if one may have belonged to the cat whose data is not appearing. After all, you know your cats better than anyone!
Second, it is possible that your cat has not used the litterbox during this period of time. In this case, the system will prompt you to be extra observant of your cat. You’ll be asked to take note of any signs of a change in general health, including changes in behavior, eating patterns or general appearance, or extra urine clumps or fecal deposits in the litterbox. You will also be asked to consider whether your cat has experienced any recent changes that may be influencing emotional health, like changes in environment, a new family member, etc.
Q: How often could my cat’s data change?
A: Cats are creatures of habit, so for the most part you will not see big swings in their data. In this sense, no news is good news! However, it is important to keep tabs on your cat to identify those subtle changes when they do start to occur. Cats are great at masking their symptoms, and often by the time pet owners notice their cats’ symptoms and seek veterinary advice, treatment options are limited. It is important to stay ahead of things and be proactive regarding your cat’s health and wellbeing!
Q: How will I know if I should talk to my veterinarian about any of my cat’s data?
A: You can be reassured that Petivity will look out for meaningful changes across different time frames to identify if any fluctuations are just an anomaly on one day, or a true change in pattern lasting multiple days or weeks. You will receive additional notices if these fluctuations persist and then can take that information to your veterinarian, along with your observations of any other changes in the physical or emotional state of your cat.
Q: What can I expect to see in my Petivity insights report?
A: The Petivity insights report is designed to complement the information that you will find reported daily in the Petivity app. Inside, you’ll find the most important data about your cat’s behavior and weight, along with additional context and information to help you make sense of it all. We are continuously working to evolve the application experience, and as we do so, we will use the insights report as a way to highlight additional interesting data Petivity can glean from your household.
Q: What should I do if I receive an alert about my cat’s data?
A: If Petivity detects a significant increase in visits to the litterbox, you will receive a notice via push notification and email to raise your awareness. Petivity will ask that you evaluate the situation to glean additional insights about what might be going on.
First, Petivity will ask you to double-check the setup of your device to make sure that:
• The feet of the monitor are squarely on the floor
• Your cat didn’t have a case of the zoomies and knock the litterbox off center
• The Petivity monitor is clear on all sides and is not touching the wall or other objects
Petivity will also prompt you to be extra observant of your cat. First, look out for any signs of a change in general health. Have you noticed any changes in behavior, eating patterns or general appearance? Have you noticed extra urine clumps or fecal deposits in the litterbox?
Petivity will also ask you to consider whether your cat has experienced any changes around the time of the litterbox visit spike that may be influencing emotional health. This could be big changes like moving to a new house or the introduction of a new pet or family member, or small changes like a new litterbox, litter type, air freshener or furniture rearrangement.
You can be reassured that Petivity will also look out for these changes across different time frames to identify if this spike was just an anomaly on one day, or a true change in pattern lasting multiple days or weeks. You will receive additional notices if these spikes persist and can then take that information to your veterinarian, along with your observations of any other changes in the physical or emotional state of your cat.
Q: If my cat has a sudden spike in litterbox visits, should I be concerned?
A: Cats are creatures of habit who will form pretty regular routines in their day-to-day behavior. It is valuable to identify when their behavior changes because this can point to a real issue with either physical or emotional wellbeing. That said, we all have good and bad days—and sometimes just unusual days—so a spike in litterbox visits is not necessarily a call for alarm. If Petivity detects a significant increase in visits to the litterbox, you will receive a notice to raise your awareness. The system will ask that you evaluate the situation to gather more information about what might be going following the steps outlined in the previous question.
Q: How often should I check my cat’s data in the app?
Wondering how Petivity’s data will work with your multi-cat household? Read our article, How Petivity Works with Multiple Cats.