AI-Equipped Japanese App Assesses Pain Levels of Cats

A Tokyo-based tech firm has launched an app that uses artificial intelligence to detect whether a cat is showing signs of pain.

Cat owners are sometimes unaware their pet is suffering from an injury or illness until the problem is severe, as it is difficult to determine levels of pain from a cat’s facial expressions and behavior.

Carelogy Inc., the developer of the app, hopes the AI tool can help with early diagnosis and treatment.

Working with Nihon University, the tech firm compiled about 6,000 photos of cats and, using a method developed by a Montreal University research team, scored items based on the position of the animal’s ears, eyes, and whiskers, among other things, to determine if it was in pain. The results were then inputted into an AI model.

Users can upload photos of their cats to Carelogy’s app, which analyzes the images to assess whether the animals are showing signs of pain.

According to the company, the technology has an accuracy that is said to be over 90%.

“I hope it can be used as a tool to quickly identify changes in a cat’s health,” said Carelogy CEO Go Sakioka.

The app is currently available for free on the company’s website. Carelogy intends to charge a fee in the future after improving the app.

“Research to detect pain in pets is progressing in Japan and overseas, so similar AI apps will probably be developed in the future,” said Prof. Ryuji Fukushima, who specializes in veterinary medicine at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. “If it’s used in veterinary medicine, it might eliminate diagnosis errors made by veterinarians, allowing for more objective diagnoses.”

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