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Smart litter tray to detect feline health problems
A smart litter tray for cats (not pictured) has been launched by Japanese electronics firm, Sharp.
Sharp’s Pet Care Monitor will go on sale in July

A Japanese electronics company is to begin selling a smart litter tray for cats that can detect health issues.

According to The Japan Times, Sharp’s Pet Care Monitor can automatically measure urine data and the weight of the cat to monitor problems. If any problems are found, the monitor will send an alert to the owner’s smartphone.

The product is Sharp’s first product exclusively for pets and is scheduled to go on sale in July. It uses artificial intelligence and “internet of things” (IoT) technologies - the network of computing devices in everyday objects.

“Pets are now considered as part of the family and IoT technology has been used little in the pet market,” Yoshisuke Hasegawa, a senior executive managing officer told Japan Times. “We joined the market with the aim of expanding our business and realising a ‘smart’ life.”

The tray keeps track of cats’ urine volume and frequency, weight and the amount of time spent on the toilet. If the tray detects any problems, such as the cat spending too much time going to the toilet, the device will send an alert to the owner's phone via an application called Cocoro pet.

If the owner has multiple cats, they can purchase a sensor that can be used together with the smart toilet for up to three cats.

The sensor will go on sale July 30 with a price tag of ¥24,800 ($226). A monthly fee of ¥324 will be charged for use of the smartphone app.

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Wales to ban third party puppy and kitten sales

News Story 1
 The Welsh Government has said it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens, after a consultation showed overwhelming public support.

A consultation in February received nearly 500 responses, most of whom called for greater action to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises.

Concerns were also raised about online sales, impulse buying, breeder accountability and illegal puppy imports.

A consultation will now be held on plans to implement a ban. Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said she will also revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions.  

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News Shorts
WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak an international health emergency

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The move comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma - a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.

The committee also reinforced the need to protect the livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open.