Israeli start-up may be a cat owner’s best friend

Cats need food and attention, and Cat2See, a new invention by an Israeli entrepreneur, delivers both – over the Internet

Gil Gelfand shows off a Cat2See system (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Gil Gelfand shows off a Cat2See system (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Porn may or may not be the most popular thing on the Internet, but cats are pretty high up on the list of terms people search for the most. Forty percent of all pet blogs are about cats; four of the top ten non-music Youtube videos are about cats, according to cat lover Gil Gelfand. “Let’s face it, cats are everywhere,” said Gelfand.

More than just a cat fan, Gelfand is a savvy business person, as well as a tech expert. Put the two together, he told the Times of Israel, and you get Cat2See, the latest in cat-oriented tech that in just two weeks on the market has proven to be such a hit, the thousands of units the company distributed to stores in Israel were sold out.

Cat2See, a Tel Aviv-based start-up, was one of some 100 companies that participated in the Israel edition of the Elevator World Tour, that took place in the Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv Wednesday night. Participating companies conducted “elevator pitches” – quick presentations of their ideas and projects – to investors and tech experts, inside the building’s elevator.

The Cat2See system was designed to make sure that cats have enough to eat when left on their own, said Gelfand. Consisting of a webcam and a special camera, the system lets cat owners dispense food and water when the cat gets hungry – via their smartphones. All you need is a wifi or cellphone data connection. “With a webcam, you see what your cat is up to, and when they are hungry,” said Gelfand, extolling the superiority of Cat2See over automatic cat feeders, which dispense food only at preset times on its own schedule, not when the cat needs to eat. “You control the feeder with your phone, and with the touch of a button you dispense food,” said Gelfand.

A cat does not live on food alone – it needs attention, and when the master is away, Cat2See can keep a cat busy and active. The system comes with a rotating cat rod and soft plaything. Owners can, via their device, move the rod around to get the cat’s attention and dangle the plaything in front of them – with the cat keeping itself busy playing with it or trying to catch it. The owner, meanwhile, sees everything that is going on via the webcam, which can also be controlled by the app.

After the very successful introduction, said Gelfand, his company is making more Cat2Sees, to be sold first in Israel, and then, within 3-6 months, in the U.S. Gelfand, who invented the system, said he got the idea from a friend who had a cat that was very demanding. “He was a programmer who couldn’t get any work done because his cat always wanted to play. He hooked up a mechanical plaything and wrote an application to control it from his computer, and the rest is history,” he said. “Right now, my partner is in Moscow, and his cats are in Kfar Sava – and he is playing with them on-line.”

That’s all well and good for cats, but what about their pet counterpart – dogs? “We’ve got plans for dogs as well,” said Gelfand, “and of course it will be called Dog2See.” He doesn’t recommend using a Cat2See to feed dogs, though. “Dogs eat more than cats and are a little rougher. We are going to have to come up with some sturdier designs for them.”

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