Raspberry Pi Cat Doorbell Listens for Meows

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Tennis Smith)

Wondering what crazy antics cats could get into if they had thumbs is its own ordeal but upping the stakes with the ability to knock on doors is finally within reach thanks to maker and developer Tennis Smith’s Raspberry Pi-powered IoT cat doorbell project. It works just like it sounds, allowing his cat to notify him when it wants to go inside the house.

The system involves using a microphone to listen for potential meows. So instead of knocking, all the cat needs to do is what it does best—bellow out in desperate hopes of getting let inside. The Pi is responsible for detecting meows from other sounds using AI. If a meow is determined to have occurred, it sends a text message to Smith’s phone alerting him of the event.

The doorbell operates as an IoT device using Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Raspberry Pi can interpret potential meows using Tensorflow Lite, an open-source machine learning tool that you can train with custom models for projects like these. If Tensorflow detects a meow, it notifies AWS to initiate the text message.

The Raspberry Pi is housed by the door and connected to the microphone using a CAT5 cable with the help of a USB to RJ45 adapter. The doorbell is a small box placed outside cat-level and contains the mic. There are holes in the bottom of the box to help the microphone pick up the kitty pleas.

The code for this project is entirely open source and free for anyone to explore. It was written by Smith using Python and integrates with the AWS CLI. If you want to recreate the setup, you will need an AWS account. Smith provides additional details at GitHub explaining how to configure AWS for the cat doorbell.

If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project or get a closer look at how it goes together, check out the official Raspberry Pi IoT cat doorbell project page on GitHub. Be sure to follow Smith for more cool projects and future updates on this one.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.

  • eichwana
    What happens if a other cat meows? Does it trigger on that too?
  • velocityg4
    This sounds like a purrfect solution for accidentally leaving the cat out.
  • pclaughton
    Or here's a thought: he could not be a jerk and make it an indoor cat.
  • Kewlzter
    Pet doors are a thing. They even have latches to allow one way travel.