Instructables

How can I make my own scat mat?

I foster rescue cats, and have successfully trained them all to keep off of counters and shelves, until this recent batch. I can't afford the $60 and up it costs for these mats, but voice commands and squirt bottles just aren't cutting it as deterrents.

fdecker3 years ago
You might try the easy and cheap solutions first, my favorite being taking masking tape and making large loops with the stick side out and placing them like tank treads on sheets of aluminum foil. The cats don't like the crinckle of aluminum foil and they hate anything sticky on their paws.

Next, you could try a simpler circuit such as a motion or pressure switch controlled power relay and connect it to a drill or blender on the sink. My favorite of these is the "blender defender" project you can find online. This is very cheap to build but you must program a chip with easy to use software to respond to the motion sensor, switch the relay on for a few seconds, and then switch it off..

Last, if you want to try to duplicate the scat mats, you can find some circuits online. Let freepatentsonline be your friend :) I found the patent for the device you mention and it is a standard dc to ac inverter circuit. You can buy the fully built inverters from someone that stocks E.R.G. power supplies, or find one in a junk device like an old laptop or flat panel monitor. You want a 5v or 9v to 200v inverter, usually 400Hz.

The mat is a pattern of wires or aluminum foil strips or braid or any conductor glued to a flexible plastic sheet. You have two conductors that are spaced in your pattern such as conductor a is always .5" separated from conductor b so that no matter where the cat steps, its paws cross the 2 conductors. You connect your inverter to the wire ends of the tracks you lay on the mat and switch the inverter on with a pressure sensitive switch in or under the mat..

How you turn on the shock is up to you. You can take apart a junk keyboard and used the plastic sheets with carbon conductors inside as your a pressure sensitive mat or glue it inside 2 sheets of plastic. Or your could buy a novlety talking mat like the ones that scream at you for Halloween and rip the speaker part off and connect your switch right to those wires and glue your shock wires to the top of the mat. Then you just have to build the inveter/shock circuit.

When I was younger, I had a neat electronics mail order project that I saw in the back of "Boy's Life". I got a project every few weeks for a year. One was a very simple "shock box". You put aluminum foil on 2 joining sectons of small box and another sheet on the other 2 sides in a way that make it almost impossible to pick up the box without your thumb on one electrode and your other fingers on the other. Inside the box was a "C" cell and a home made transformer. I don't remember the windings, but it was something like 10 turns of insulated magnet wire for the primary with say 400 turns for the secondary wrapped around a nail or stripped copper wire.

The secondary connected to each conductor on the outside of the box while one end of the primary went to a nail that had .5" from the head to the tip coated in nail polish. The nail then went through a spring and the nail/spring assembly went through the bottom hole of a standard 90 degree angle bracket that was glued to the side of the small box with the "L" shape of the bracket just like an L on this screen. The one side glued to the inside of the box and the horizontal side open to the bottom of the box. The other end of the primary connected to the angle bracket. The wire was soldered to one end of the nail after the nail was inserted up through the bottom of the hole in the bracket.

When the box sat on a table, the nail was pushed up into the box and the bottom end of the nail was basically up against the bottom of the angle bracket. The nail polish kept the nail from completing the circuit with the bracket. But when you lifted the box, the nail fell through the hole in the bracket with the spring keeping it from falling all the way through. But when the nail dangled there, it fell past the end of the nail polish insulation. Any normal jiggling of the box or even just the spring making the nail jump up and down banged the nail back and forth against the bracket hole basically creating an pulsed DC voltage into the primary of the coil. Instant shock! I trained myself to actually be able to hold the box despite it shocking me continuously. It finally broke from everyone droping it after they picked it up. :)

The simplest circuit for you would be a 555 timer into a transformer like above that when switched on, created enough voltage at low current to deliver a mild shock. But the best circuit would have protection against a short in the mat or to "reset" after a certain number of seconds.

WARNING: Be VERY careful with any of this and get qualified help if you have any questions about voltage and current. Even a "harmless" shock can cause someone sensitive to have a heart attack or panic attack and you could hurt yourself too or your pet.
cyc40155 years ago
I have heard that putting out coarse sandpaper is a cat deterrent, you might try that, it bugs their paws, and after awhile they'll just assume the sandpaper is up there and not jump up.