Cageless Feline Palatabilty Testing
The Summit Ridge Farms Palatability Monitoring System
Our patent pending Palatability Monitoring System allows for true side-by-side, two bowl palatability testing of group housed cats. We have developed hardware and software that allows us to provide historical data, as per standard two bowl palatability testing, with the addition of timed-event-consumption data. The system provides continuous palatability recording in a community environment with data acquisition and analysis that allows us to present data in multiple formats.
The unique design of our feeding stations allow for independent meals that provide protection from competing cats and give us the capability of USB interfacing of up to 40 stations. Each station holds two bowls, two digital scales, two Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanners, and an optional "cat triggered" digital camera. All data is interfaced via a USB hub located within the station that allows minimal hard wiring for each station. Future plans include Blue Tooth transmission for wireless operation.
Each feeding station contains a digital scale for diet A and a digital scale for diet B. Data transmission from each scale to the central station is automated and synchronized with RFID scanner data, A record of diets first approached is recorded, along with diets first eaten. Standard digital scale technology allows for easy calibration and validation of accuracy.
Central Palatability Station and Software
A central computer is used to setup test parameters, identify groups, and monitor up to 40 feeding stations simultaneously. Real time monitoring allows operators to view current station status along with study data. Summit Ridge Farms uses a customized database for data collection and monitoring and allows for data manipulation and reporting via a web interface. This feature allows us to externally monitor events, data collection, and data summaries. The software can be customized to match any standard formal, from spreadsheets to word processors to databases.