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Cat Translation Device In The Works
Tokyo, Japan (AP)

After selling 300,000 pet-lovers on the Bowlingual gadget that supposedly translates a dog's bark into human language, Japanese toymaker Takara Co. is planning a similar one for cats.

Called the Meowlingual, the cat-shaped machine set to go on sale in Japan in November translates meows and purrs into human phrases such as "I can't stand it," although exact wording hasn't been decided yet, the Tokyo-based company said Wednesday.

The translation device will likely sell for 8,800 yen (US$74), slightly cheaper than the 14,800 yen (US$125) Bowlingual, which has been a big hit in Japan.

Both gadgets use scientific data on animal sounds from a Tokyo laboratory that also analyzes human voices, helps solve crime and takes part in designing software for mobile phones.

Takara plans to start selling Bowlingual in the United States in August. Overseas sales plans for Meowlingual are still undecided.

"Cats are smaller and more finicky than dogs so we had to change the design a little," Takara spokeswoman Maiko Hasumi said.

The feline version won't strap on the collar as does the Bowlingual, and a person must hold the microphone in the machine up to the cat's mouth and hope it says something, she said.

In case your cat's not in the mood, the machine will have "playful features," such as a horoscope reading for cat lovers and other surprises in the works, she said.

Takara is planning to sell 300,000 Meowlingual machines by March 2004.

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