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 Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?

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SteveL
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PostSubject: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:11 pm

We've been trying to dissuade our cats from leaping onto the kitchen counter.

My idea is to rig up a device to deliver a mild shock, using, say, aluminum foil (a decent conductor) and a battery. Boxes would be arranged to wall off the edge of the countertop except for a strategically placed gap. The foil would be spread on the countertop behind this gap.

Power source: a battery (what else?). What size/voltage/amperage to use? I want just enough juice to be unpleasant, not to cause pain or injury (sorry, gents).

I don't want the battery to be drained due to a continuous current; thus, a trigger of some kind is needed. Maybe 2 pieces of foil that the cat's weight would press together to complete the circuit, or something using paper clips. Maybe I can dissamble a battery-powered device (I have an LCD clock) to scavenge its switch, but that probably won't solve the need for a trigger.

Suggestions?
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Bruzynski

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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:39 pm

Hmmm...not as simple as it sounds. Problem is that resistance of cat is high enough to keep low voltage current from flowing. So you need to bump up voltage so that some current will flow.

Find resistance of cat. And knowing threshold of current detection is about 10mA, you can find out the voltage you need to provide. Remember V=iR. Then all you need to do is design a little oscillator with a capacitor to store the voltage. Then layout two electrodes that the cat will connect together with it's foot. Presto cat zapped.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:03 am

While it lacks the fun of electrocuting cats, you could try some packing tape doubled over so that there is a sticky section on the countertop. When the cat jumps up, they land on the tape, which is an unpleasant sensation for them. Another solution would be a squirt gun filled with vinegar. When the cat jumps up on the counter, spray them in the face. Again, not as fun as frying cats, but it might be worth a try.
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:01 am

Mouse traps cost about 50 cents each

Go to the dollar store and buy 50 mousetraps (more if you like but certainly not less). Set them all and leave them on the counter-top. A paw or a tail will ultimately find one - kitty will jump straight up and land on several more - repeat.

If you really want to have some fun, put catnip on the bait holder of the mouse traps - this ensures a solid connection with the first mouse trap.


If you're really stuck on electricity...

Electricity could be either be ineffective or risk fatality. As Craig said, you need to overcome the resistance of the cat to cause a shock. This will take Power (wattage). You need to keep the current low (preferably down near 10 mA as Craig has also suggested) to avoid fatality. To deliver the power to conduct through a cat, Voltage will need to be high (power = Current x Voltage). A battery alone will not deliver the voltage required. One answer is capacitors... The trick is discharging a capacitor into the cat at low current and high voltage.

One cheap and simple solution is a disposable camera with a flash. Open up the camera, remove the film, and cut off the flash leaving the wires (take the battery out before you do this). Power the flash up and let kitty touch the wires (you can add lengths of exposed wires to do this). It probably won't be fatal for kitty (no guarantees). It will hurt.

They also sell those hand held electric fly swatters that look like tennis rackets. Override the switch (probably not safe to do) and leave it on the counter. You can buy one at hardware stores or on line. http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Fly-Swatter-1500-Volts/dp/B000EPPFEC
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:43 am

Or you could take cats to vet and leave them there. Then we could play at your place.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:53 am

I would have suggested throwing a shovel at the cat but that apparently doesn't work, it keeps coming back.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:58 pm

Bruzynski wrote:
Hmmm...not as simple as it sounds. Problem is that resistance of cat is high enough to keep low voltage current from flowing. So you need to bump up voltage so that some current will flow.

Find resistance of cat. And knowing threshold of current detection is about 10mA, you can find out the voltage you need to provide. Remember V=iR. Then all you need to do is design a little oscillator with a capacitor to store the voltage. Then layout two electrodes that the cat will connect together with it's foot. Presto cat zapped.
To play the flute, just blow in one end and move your fingers on and off the holes.

Just kidding; I'll get Kip Kay (YouTube handyman guy) to make one for me.

Agreed: it's not as simple as I first thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:08 pm

Jonathan wrote:
[] you could try some packing tape doubled over so that there is a sticky section on the countertop. When the cat jumps up, they land on the tape, which is an unpleasant sensation for them. []
It's worth a try.

Jonathan wrote:
[]

Another solution would be a squirt gun filled with vinegar. When the cat jumps up on the counter, spray them in the face. Again, not as fun as frying cats, but it might be worth a try.
Been using water; one cat jumps down before I can squirt him; the other jumps down after several blasts, but will often jump up again within minutes (this often continues for 5-10 minutes). As of Monday, the water is kept in the fridge, but there's only been one transgression since then, and I'm not certain that the cold water had an effect.

Vinegar is a good idea. I just dabbed a drop into my eye. It stings, but no apparent permanent damage.

The reason for the "automated shock therapy" idea is that, from my research, cats know they won't be squirted in your absence.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:24 pm

Wilhelm wrote:
Mouse traps cost about 50 cents each

Go to the dollar store and buy 50 mousetraps (more if you like but certainly not less). Set them all and leave them on the counter-top. A paw or a tail will ultimately find one - kitty will jump straight up and land on several more - repeat.

If you really want to have some fun, put catnip on the bait holder of the mouse traps - this ensures a solid connection with the first mouse trap. []
Is this a proven solution?

Wilhelm wrote:
[]

If you're really stuck on electricity...

Electricity could be either be ineffective or risk fatality. As Craig said, you need to overcome the resistance of the cat to cause a shock. This will take Power (wattage). You need to keep the current low (preferably down near 10 mA as Craig has also suggested) to avoid fatality. To deliver the power to conduct through a cat, Voltage will need to be high (power = Current x Voltage). A battery alone will not deliver the voltage required. One answer is capacitors... The trick is discharging a capacitor into the cat at low current and high voltage.

One cheap and simple solution is a disposable camera with a flash. Open up the camera, remove the film, and cut off the flash leaving the wires (take the battery out before you do this). Power the flash up and let kitty touch the wires (you can add lengths of exposed wires to do this). It probably won't be fatal for kitty (no guarantees). It will hurt.

They also sell those hand held electric fly swatters that look like tennis rackets. Override the switch (probably not safe to do) and leave it on the counter. You can buy one at hardware stores or on line. http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Fly-Swatter-1500-Volts/dp/B000EPPFEC
Well, it looks like electricity is out.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:37 pm

Bruzynski wrote:
Or you could take cats to vet and leave them there. Then we could play at your place.
You're not allergic to cats, are you?

As I recall, only kubera and Wilhelm suffer from cat allergies.

When were your allergies last verified, in terms of symptoms (can be difficult to determine without a rational method) or medical diagnosis? I ask because I seem to have outgrown my allergies, which included cats. I never avoided cats and don't recall any symptoms, though maybe my nose ran.

If I might suggest a commercially-available allergy symptom relief product, I suggest a commercially-available allergy symptom relief product.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:46 pm

Supposedly, cats dislike walking on plastic spines, like the reverse side of those transparent hall and stair runners that one used to see in 1970s-1980s-era homes. Any idea where to find something like this?
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:01 pm

Not too allergic to cats. I'm generally ok if I wash my hands directly after touching cat. I don't really have a big objection to playing in the presence of cats as long as they leave me and my stuff alone I'm good.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:05 pm

SteveL wrote:
Supposedly, cats dislike walking on plastic spines, like the reverse side of those transparent hall and stair runners that one used to see in 1970s-1980s-era homes. Any idea where to find something like this?

You could try a local hardware store. They used to have rolls of the stuff for stair runners and the like. Not sure if man temple carries this type if stuff.

You could try caging animals when you are not around to monitor their activities. Or you could take them to the vet.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:55 pm

Tried the spiky outdoor carpeting but the cats didn't mind it.

Adopted Jonathan's suggestion of spraying their eyes with vinegar; it has reduced--but not eliminated--the incidence of transgression. They jump off the counter and run for cover when they see me approach with spray bottle in hand; one of them even squints as though bracing himself for the anticipated hit of (diluted) acetic acid.
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PostSubject: Re: Al foil + electricity = kitty-free countertop?   Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:33 am

I was told citrus oil would keep cats away from things. When I owned a cat I held a half an orange near its face to sniff, it hissed and then backed away. Maybe if you get a similar reaction, the oil might work.
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