Naturally, we want our pets to be as healthy and happy as possible, and just as with humans, one valuable metric to know is their weight. Knowing the weight of our four-legged friends, not only helps us to verify that they have a healthy amount of body fat, but can also can be used to detect things early on that may need medical attention. As they cannot speak to us and tell us when don’t feel well, it is our duty to listen to all of the different signals we have to understand their wellbeing.
That’s why I wanted to know the weight of my cat, Ellie. Unfortunately, she really dislikes being picked up or handled, even by people she trusts. This means, it’s not possible to weigh her on a bathroom scale, and the only datapoint I have is her yearly examination at the vets.
I wanted to build something that would fit into her life to track her weight automatically, without any intervention. I decided to modify her litter box, so that on each visit it records her weight.
But WHY, Andy?
Okay I get it; you think it’s weird. So here are the main goals of the project:
- Track Ellie’s weight because I want to know how heavy she is without going to the vet
- Learn something about how load cells work
- Have fun building a new project
- (Hopefully) Inspire others to try out new ideas and projects by sharing what I learned.
- Track the weight of poops because I thought that was funny.
Rather than build the whole litter tray from scratch, I decided to build a platform that her existing litter tray would rest on. This platform would contain all the equipment necessary to detect when Ellie was using the litter and start taking measurements.