PETA Prime Exclusive: Interview With PurrSong Advisor Robert Cheek

Enamored with PurrSong’s advanced technology, high-quality products, and cat-first business model, robotics and emerging technology analyst and animal rights activist Robert Cheek knew right away that he wanted to support the company. It’s on a mission to improve the lives of cats through its AI-enabled internet of things (IoT) healthcare ecosystem, which includes a state-of-the-art automated litterbox and user-friendly app.

Why did you join PurrSong?

While researching new companies with promising technologies, I came across an article about PurrSong’s LavvieBot robotic litterbox. After learning about its capabilities, which I found to be unrivaled by other products on the market, I decided I wanted to learn more about the company. I then looked into PurrSong’s line of IoT AI-enabled cat healthcare products and realized that this company is creating next-level technologies to ensure that cats live healthier and happier lives. And more importantly, it’s a company with a clear mission to improve the well-being of cats and prevent suffering. This mission is driven by the personal experience of the CEO, Taegu Noh. When he was working as a researcher, he adopted a cat he had rescued from the street. Sadly, the cat has since passed away. I was touched by the story and the drive that Noh had to build this company with a unique mission.

As a “cat father” to three, I immediately connected with the company’s mission to use technology to better understand how cats are feeling in order to prevent suffering and to improve life quality. I decided to accept the role as an advisor in order to help the market understand what a great company this is and how it improves cats’ lives.

Why do you think it’s important to offer AI-enhanced feline healthcare products?

Cats are the ultimate stoics. As such, they tend to hide their pain, which sadly often has a bad outcome. This also causes their human companions to suffer. On the economic front, through the use of analytics and monitoring behaviors, PurrSong products save money on expensive procedures, which can be avoided through early detection.

Which of your products are you most excited to share with others?

The LavvieTAG is the cornerstone of PurrSong’s AI-enabled IoT healthcare ecosystem for cats. It’s a feline fitness tracker, and when paired with the PurrSong app and AI engine, you’re able to detect anomalies before it’s too late. The app is the hub upon which the PurrSong ecosystem of products work. And the best part is that we provide the subscription free of charge—unlike most other companies. That’s not our business model, as it conflicts with our mission to improve the quality of cats’ lives.

I’m also very excited about the LavvieBot S. This is PurrSong’s automated litterbox. It measures the weight and usage frequency, and the data it collects work with the LavvieTAG to create a comprehensive picture of a cat’s health. While there are several automated litterboxes on the market, the LavvieBot S is the only one that automatically refills itself. This is important, because cats are easily stressed, including when their litter level is inconsistent. We designed the LavvieBot with a metal interior. The other litterboxes on the market have plastic interiors, which create toxins when in contact with a cat’s excrement. This can cause health problems for both cats and humans. I think other automated litterbox companies use plastics because they can increase their profits and because the industry is unregulated. It saddens me that so many companies put profits before the well-being of our companions. We are working to change that with PurrSong.

What is your favorite thing about advising a technology company for feline health?

When I hear stories from our customers about how their cats are spared suffering a potentially life-threatening illness, that is what brings me the most joy—making a difference and helping. That’s the reason why I joined PurrSong.

What has been the biggest obstacle to starting a cat healthcare technology company?

Building hardware and software into an integrated solution is challenging. I think the initial challenge came about when the company started and had to learn about mass production. I think the biggest challenge today is dealing with the myriad companies that are putting out cheap products that aren’t good for cats. It’s difficult to educate consumers who struggle to differentiate the levels of quality among products.

How have consumers embraced your product range?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive! While consumers who are looking for cheap products are certainly not our customers, those who truly care about the well-being of their feline friends—and who, like us, want to better understand and help cats—make up the majority of our clientele. I’m also happy to say that many animal rescue organizations and veterinary clinics use PurrSong products.

What do you think will be the most exciting companion animal tech trend in the next year?

We firmly believe that using AI and smart hardware will be even more exciting next year as we roll out new products to better understand and help cats. We are admittedly biased toward cats, as we specialize in this area and have a firm belief that these technologies are crucial in preventing needless pain and suffering.

After reading your article “Feeling the Bite of Inflation? Here’s How to Save on Animal Care,” I wanted to add that the continued pressure of inflation will drive the demand for preventive companion healthcare technologies, because prevention and early detection are always much more cost-effective. In addition, telemedicine and insurance, which PurrSong will be rolling out as a value-added optional service, will bring the cost down for animal companion care while simultaneously raising the quality.

How do you share your compassion for animals with those who aren’t so animal-friendly?

A good friend once taught me to be tolerant of others, as they may be at a different milestone in this journey we call life. Through compassion and understanding of humans, as well as our other animal friends, we can make the world a better and more compassionate place for all of us.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start an animal companion tech business?

Start with passion and have a mission. Don’t do it just for the money, because that is not the way to develop great products and services. This only happens through vision, blood, sweat, and tears. There are easier ways to make money if that’s your raison d’être. Do what you love to serve with love.

PETA notes that regular checkups by your cats’ veterinarian are also a vital component of loving care for your feline companions.