Work Meowt: Cat Fitness Tracking

MHCI+D Prototyping Studio · March 2014

with Alma Emadi

Design Research and Mobile UI Prototyping

Work Meowt is a concept designed to keep cats happy, healthy, and active while their owners are away from home. The system includes a wearable fitness tracker, a remote-controlled toy, and a mobile app, which work together to track a pet’s activities.

Design Research

An informal survey of “smart” pet toys showed us that most gadgets are quickly outsmarted by the pets. Hence, there is an unmet need for products to improve the health and livelihood of house cats while also informing owners.

One key insight we learned from interviews was that cat owners had no idea what their cats were doing when home alone. We saw an opportunity to help owners understand their cats’ activities and interact with them remotely.

These findings led us to wonder:

How can we help cat owners remotely monitor and engage their cats in healthy activities?

Excerpted statistics from our 100-participant Catalyst online survey of pet owners.


A wearable device for cats, Catometer™ records and broadcasts various behavior patterns, such as the cat’s activity level, sleeping patterns, and whereabouts during the day.


Ball™ “pokes and plays” with cats without causing disruption and destruction! This smart device maps the house layout to let owners play with their cats remotely via remote control or through pre-programmed AutoPlay activities.

Work Meowt App

The Work Meowt app shows a cat’s activities over time, such as their eating and napping habits, and can notify the owner of any strange behavior. The app also lets owners direct Ball™ around the house by drawing a movement path on-screen.

Catometer™ Prototype

We made physical prototypes for Catometer™ to determine if a cat would be receptive to wearing a piece of technology on their collar. After making sketches and cardboard mockups, we created a high-fidelity 3D-printed model for testing. The model has two buttons for power and reset, which double as activity and battery status indicators.

We loved the character of this prototype so much that we adapted it for use as the Work Meowt app logo.

Ball™ Prototype

Ball™ is a remote-controlled toy that plays with cats while their owners are away. We made a physical prototype of Ball™: a 3D-printed shell with a Sphero robot ball inside, allowing us to perform Wizard-of-Oz experiments with a cat.

We imagined that this device could create a floor plan of the owner's home, letting them guide Ball™ around from their phone.

The Work Meowt App

This mobile app to ties our two devices together thru monitoring, notifications, and playtime. We used a paper prototype to perform basic user testing and then designed a second, high-fidelity prototype with Axure.


We tested our app prototype with three cat-owning participants. Their feedback undoubtedly influenced Work Meowt: one tester gave us an idea to show owners how their cats move around the house during the day, for example.

Everyone who saw our concept was excited to see a product that would allow them to not only remotely play with their pets, but also give them insight into their cat’s activities. Several people said they’d consider buying such a product.

Finally, most people grinned upon seeing the wordplay in the “Work Meowt” name.

Final Deliverables

We produced a video to show the Work Meowt concept in action, as well as a final report. See also: a detailed list of image and icon attributions.