Not so long ago, those Dr. Doolittle-like activities might have been laughable. But now, thanks to talented technophiles, if there's a gadget out there for you, in many cases, one for your pet isn't too far behind.
According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans are expected to spend about $47.7 billion on their pets this year. And, industry experts say, the opportunities to spend that money on pet-related technology is growing.
"The options have definitely increased," said Bob Vetere, president of the APPA. "As people are spending more on iPads and iPhones, marketers realize that the same person is purchasing for the humans and the pets in the household. They're appealing to the same needs in those human purchasers, whether it's for a [human] family member of a pet family member."
Some of the pet-friendly gadgets to hit the market may be purely fun and frivolous. But as people work longer hours and spend less time at home, Vetere said, other, more practical, devices try to relieve some of the burdens of pet care.
Janice Brown, founder of Tails Pet Magazines, said that even as people cut back on spending for themselves, they continue to pamper their pets.
"If someone thinks something is extravagant, it's out," she said. "But a lot of times people don't have kids, they have pets. Your pets are your family."
So what kinds of high-tech gear can humans give to their four-legged family members?
Below, check out eight of the tech world's craziest, most creative gadgets for pets.
Sony's Twitter Cat Collar
Between fameball Kim Kardashian and starlet Lindsay Lohan, Twitter already hosts its fair share of cat fights. But a new device could take them to a whole new level.
Earlier this week, the Tokyo-based Sony Computer Science Laboratories unveiled a device that can connect your kitty to Twitter.
According to the news site Tech-On, Sony said the so-called "lifelogging" device is worn around a cat's neck and uses a camera, accelerometer, GPS and Bluetooth technology to record the cat's activities.
Using the data gathered by the various sensors, the lightweight device can figure out if the cat is sleeping, walking or eating and then it automatically sends messages directly to a Twitter feed.
For example, if it determines that your cat is eating, it might tweet, "This tastes good."
So far, only 11 phrases are available, Tech-On said, but the company plans to expand the gadget's vocabulary.
But you'll have to wait a bit to read your cat's commentary in 140-words or less. Sony's device is only a prototype for now.
Bowlingual Dog Translator
Wouldn't you love to know what your pet is thinking?
Takara Tomy, a Japanese toy company, says it has created a gadget that can translate dog barks.
The Bowlingual Dog Translator includes a microphone worn around a dog's neck and handheld digital reader that the company says translates barks into one of six emotional states: happy, sad, frustrated, threatening, needy or assertive.
Some animal experts say dogs' emotions are about as sophisticated as todders', so "translating" barks would provide little insight into their psychology.