How To: Keep Your Cat Off Your Stuff - For Good

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 | SMASH HowTo! with

The Problem:

You share your home with a precious feline companion who has progressively developed some undesirable (but completely natural and instinctual) behaviors.  Without a second thought, he jumps up on your kitchen counter, climbs onto your stereo receiver and perches (filling it with hair), mounts your off-limits furniture and sharpens his claws then proceeds to end his day by leaping onto your plate of freshly prepared food, effectively ruining an otherwise perfectly prepared tuna casserole.Bad Kitty

No doubt you’ve tried every trick in the book, and depending on which chapter, your techniques may have included:

  • Placing water bottles around your HIFI equipment
  • Using sound-emitting devices that emulate dogs or high-pitched whistles
  • Spraying him with water each time you witness the behavior
  • Applying sticky tape to the edges of your devices and furniture (cats HATE sticky)
  • Cleaning the counters with citrus cleaners (cats HATE citrus)
  • Introducing the “click and treat” behavioral training into your daily lives

But if you’re like me, you’ve experienced only limited success with any of the aforementioned techniques or combination of techniques, where your cat has learned to overcome your carefully laid traps and adapt to the annoying obstacles you’ve introduced into his previously harmonious life.

Keep Cats Off Your Counters (and other places)

Which brings me to one of the ONLY solutions I’ve found that has worked, and worked well.  It’s called SSSCAT. In a nutshell, it’s a harmless and odorless can of air that is activated by the motion of your cat:

Aside from the occasional misfire activated by human intervention — or walking too close to the device — it works as claimed.  More than citrus and sticky substances combined, cats HATE inexplicable sounds and sprays that violate their delicate sensibilities, all of which are introduced by the presence of the SSSCAT.

But the refills are pricey ($16), and the intial cost is $35 for the kit, which contains the motion-sensing hood and the single can of compressed air.

All in all, it represents the most effective solution in keeping kitty off the counter or off of your car, if carefully and strategically placed. Until…

The AlternativeGlade Sense and Spray

This month Glade has introduced the motion-sensing AIR FRESHENER!

They call it the Glade Sense & Spray, and it will run you about $9.99 at Walgreens (refills are $3.49).  Not only will it offer the same motion-sensing capabilities of the SSSCAT, but it also offers the added element of yielding a double-edged sword:  an added fragrance you appreciate, but your cat finds simply offensive (but no citrus yet).

And it will last you longer:  The Glade Sense & Spray will spray once in a 30 minute period of time (enough to keep kitty off the counter) and resume sentinel duty after the 30 minutes has expired.  Fortunately, a cat’s short term memory exceeds the 30 minute reload time, so should he try to re-test its boundaries, the Sense & Spray will be prepared to take care of business.

Additionally, one downside of the SSSCAT is that if it should fall over, it could land directly on the sensor and continue its tirade until it eventually runs out of compressed air — then you’re on the net ordering another pricey refill.

BONUS:  Currently you can buy one and get one free! (Sense & Spray)

Keep Cats Out of Your Yard

The aforementioned techniques work wonders on the inside of your home, but what about the outside? Feral cats pose a serious risk to your garden, flowerbeds and have the proclivity to reproduce en masse which can quickly grow out of hand if you or your neighbors are equally unwilling to pony up the dough to get the offending parent cats spade or neutered.

All of the sprays and cat-be-gones of the world won’t do the trick — you have to get to the heart of what cats truly hate, as in the case with the SSSCAT:

1. The element of surpriseThe Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler

2. Loud, startling noises

3. WATER! (most cats dislike being wet)

4. Uncertainty of their environment

The following solution addresses and incorporates all of these qualities (and more) and is an effective deterrent for cats, raccoons, deer, opossums and other unwanted beasts who have curiously named your home, theirs.

Enter The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow Motion-activated Animal Deterrent is quite an ingenious method for keeping unwanted friends out of your yard.  The beauty is in its simplicity, and also lies in the fact that The Scarecrow never asks for a break, stands guard 24/7, doesn’t require food (only water) and will effectively patrol your yard for as long as you leave it attached to your garden hose.

Scarecrow Cat DeterrentSetup is relatively straight-forward and only requires a 9 volt batter to operate the sensor and adjustable water-flow mechanisms.  I was able to install The Scarecrow in a planter pot on my back porch in under 15 minutes, and this could have been a little faster if I didn’t go through the entire instruction manual that dealt with proximity and range settings.

Although it works superbly with cats, I purchased the unit to take care of the issue I was having with raccoons.  Although they were harmless, cute visitors in the beginning, they started inviting their friends over to my back porch, who then began ripping the screen out of my screen door.  When I found out that blockading the door didn’t seem to work (they climbed up the blockade), I started researching motion-activated sprinklers and the highest recommendations were always for The Scarecrow.

Now, The Scarecrow comes with my highest recommendation, and is truly the most humane way to deal with the problem of wild animals who leave unwanted gifts on your freshly mowed lawn.

These units have a retail price that nearly reaches $100, but I found that Amazon has the best price of anyone, and comes in at under $50.  I paid $46.99 and Amazon offered FREE shipping - check HERE.  It was an investment that was worth every penny, believe me.

Video of The Scarecrow In Action:

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6 Comments »

Comment by Jane
2009-11-08 17:45:44

I recently ordered 6 expensive SSSCAT’s. So far they are a waste of money because you have to keep them switched ON all of the time which means when you walk in front of them, they spray which quickly depletes the EXPENSIVE can of air. If they are switched off, my animals figure that out right away and jump on the furniture. Sometimes they just malfunction and I find my cat sleeping right next to the can. Total waste of money in my opinion, although the concept seemed like a great idea. I’m still looking for something that REALLY works. I’ve tried foil, but how practical is it to have foil covering your furniture all of the time? Cat’s are smart and when they see there is no foil, they jump right up and make themeselves comfortable. I’m going to try the double sided tape trick next.

 
Comment by Betty Meyers
2009-12-31 14:38:20

Thank you for the wonderful information!! We have a serious problem with feral cats on our property and the scarecrow device looks the business so I think we are going to buy one today. I can’t wait to have a poop free backyard again, and I have no problem using this because it is humane and safe to the animals. Betty from Tulsa

 
Comment by Gregory Gospain
2011-04-11 02:27:20

What can I say. Great write up. Insightful, and honest. DOUBLE thumbs up!

 
Comment by J.
2012-01-01 05:24:42

I wanted to point out that spraying air freshener or any kind of essential oil near or on your cat is actually a really bad idea. Air fresheners like Glade coat the nasal and air passages with chemicals and other pretty unsavory crap, potentially causing breathing problems (in humans, too!) and/or damaging your cat’s sense of smell over time. Air fresheners are generally nasty synthetic chemicals to have around and have been linked to cancer, and will probably be linked more decisively to cancer in the future. And essential oils, from lemon to peppermint, are highly toxic to cats because, unlike humans, their bodies cannot metabolize such highly concentrated materials properly. They should not be sprayed around or put onto cats’ skin under any circumstances. So using scents as a deterrent is a pretty poor choice for your cat’s health.

 
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