Beast Beast

08.07.13

Weather Kitty App Makes Meteorology Fun

Weather is boring. Kittens and puppies are awesome. Melissa Fares talks to the two guys behind Weather Puppy and Weather Kitty, apps giving meteorology a new, viral spin.

“A puppy or cat would never lie about the weather, would they?” says Suraj Hemnani, who co-created the year-old app Weather Puppy and its two-day-old housemate Weather Kitty. “We are trying to make the weather cute,” Shiv Takhar, the other creator, says.

Weather Kitty takes the mundane science of meteorology into the realm of art—and it’s pretty fun. We all need a little meteorology in our lives if we don’t want to wind up in the wrong coat or caught in an unexpected rainstorm. With Weather Kitty, Takhar and Hemnani offer cat lovers a plethora of felines (you can even set your own cat as the background!) that reflect the forecast. Does it get any better than that?

While the new app itself is free, a fairly priced upgrade ($1.99 is cheaper than a cup of coffee, after all) brings you the undeniably amusing “Grumpy Cat”—who is perhaps the most famous cat in the world—theme. This cat will undoubtedly make you laugh at work, so be careful where you launch the app. And it will only get better: the animal gurus are in contact with famous Internet cats. “There will be more,” they say.

The app might sound simple, but Takhar and Hemnani, both 31 years old, explain why these traditional household pets are the right meteorological messengers. “With dogs, it’s unconditional love. With cats, their behavior has so much depth that we attribute humanlike emotions to them,” says Takhar.

In this age of the ubiquitous app, Hemnani and Takhar acknowledged that it won’t be easy, recognizing that the marketplace is fiercely competitive. They seem up to the challenge. “We are always asking ourselves, ‘How can we make this the most awesome thing we can?’” says Hemnani. “As long as we focus on that, our fans will continue to spread the word. We want to make people smile. And we think Weather Kitty is a great way for that to happen in a functional way. Take a little break. Take a break and check the weather. It will make you happy.”

At Austin’s 2012 South by Southwest Interactive Conference, the biggest celebrity was, of course, Grumpy Cat. With a little aggressive word-of-mouth promoting Internet famous cats in the application, Weather Kitty quickly rose through the ranks of the free weather apps that dot the digital landscape on iOS phones and soon on Androids.

“We are always asking ourselves, ‘How can we make this the most awesome thing we can?’”

The production process, aiming for user simplicity and a clean interface, demands that developers pay attention to detail and focus on the integration of data and visuals (it’s more than just weather and kitties)—and that’s what the heart of this business seems to be all about.

What the developers described as a tedious process becomes—with long, long hours—a form of art. “When we are designing the app, we are designing an experience,” says Takhar. “Even the smallest detail can make a huge difference. If the overall experience for a user is fun, we’ve done our job.”

Takhar and Hemnani are grateful for their opportunities in today’s digital marketplace. They’re quick to acknowledge new media people connectors like Instagram and Pinterest as important in their success. Now they’re creating partnerships with shelters and animal organizations. It seems that behind the application are people, interested and connected artists who recognize that their app is about more than just money.

“We are social beings and we spend so much time alone, always working,” says Hemnani. “So, we appreciate the company of dogs and cats very much—they have a way of bringing us back to the present moment and relaxing us.” Leonardo da Vinci once said that “the smallest feline is a masterpiece.” Weather Kitty shows us just how that idea might play out in this thoroughly modern world.

You can download Weather Kitty here.

You can download Weather Puppy here.