YOUR cat will soon be able to communicate with you in English - thanks to an invention by a Somerset scientist.

Jess Gotcher has created a machine that can convert animal noises into human words.

What Jess describes as a "Stephen Hawking-like voice box" will translate purring sounds to, "I'm happy"; meowing to, "Let me out into the garden"; and hissing to - well you can probably imagine, but wouldn't expect to read on a family-friendly website.

The inventor says he has so far successfully tried out the machine on his tabby tom cat, Mischief, but is sure it will work on other animals.

In the attached picture Jess sent us, he had just ordered the moggy to "roll over onto your back".

"Mischief obeyed, but then replied, 'You do it. Oh, I forgot you're too old for anything so athletic'," said Jess.

"The idea behind it came to me in a dream.

"When I woke up I thought it would be great to be able to hold a conversation with Mischief because he sticks to me all the time and makes all sorts of noises trying to communicate with me.

"I've spent hour upon hour and done loads of work using artificial intelligence to come up with a little metal box that I attach around Mischief's neck.

"I reckon he's got a vocabulary of a couple hundred words such as 'happy', 'garden', 'food', 'bird', hungry', 'love you', 'stroke me', 'go away', 'hurry up'. The list goes on - but I've yet to hear the words 'please' or 'thank you'.

"The box will also translate what I say into cat talk. So, for example, if I say, 'I'm off out' it comes across as 'br br', or if I say, 'Next door's dog is in the garden', the cat hears, 'Hissss woof purr'."

Jess's next project is to create a voice translator box for dogs.

"That should be a lot easier because dogs are more transparent than cats and eager to please their owners," he added.

"In time I'll progress to other animals such as horses, sheep and cows. What I won't be doing is bothering to make a voice box for parrots because they already talk human talk.

"I'm also looking forward to trying to see if it will be possible to rig up a machine for slugs.

"That's likely to be a bit harder because very little is known about the verbal communication of slugs.

"And my long term aim is to see if it's possible to translate teenage mumbling to parents into English.

"The problem there is no parents have so far managed to work out what on earth their children are on about."