How do I prevent static electricity from zapping people/animals?

I have two cats who both love to be petted. The problem is that during the winter when I pet them it builds up static electricity. Then when I pet their heads I zap their ears, which they both hate. Any advice?

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Humidifier ? 
That's what we do at House Raving. Got two of 'em running right now.
hstg0015 years ago
Carry a dryer sheet in your pocket. 
sandds6 years ago
 What I've determined from experiments is that the cat needs to be grounded, not the person. I have a number of different grounding straps from electronic stuff that I do and tried it out. While wearing the strap myself I found the level of shock was the same as without. When I take the button fastener off of the wrist strap and press it against the torso of the cat, clearing as much fur out of the way so that there is some contact between the ground and the cat that I get no noticeable shock. Since I'm using a grounding strap for and electronic station it already has the limiting resistor in-line. The problem is that kitty wants to move around a bunch and it's hard to keep a ground by holding it against their skin.

So, the solution would be some kind of collar that has contacts that reach the skin, and then some kind of easy breakaway grounding, like Apple's 'MagSafe' connection. So if the cat bolts away for some reason you won't hurt them.

The other option that works is a 'Chassis' ground which other people mentioned above. To do this take one hand and bury it into the fur so that your fingers are in contact with the skin. The more fingers in contact the more paths for the electricity to flow and the lower voltage that will be generated at any one point. So you'll have one hand that's in contact and the other hand will be petting. You will feel a little tingle in your fingertips as the static is generated and dissipated. My cats don't mind it at all. As opposed to the big audible POP when you touch their ears and they get zapped every time you pet them.
lemonie6 years ago
This is interesting, I've not heard of it before. You might think of tethering yourself to earth, but the idea of an anti-static strap for stroking the kitties is a bit weird isn't it?

bowmaster (author)  lemonie6 years ago
That's what I need!! One of those anti- static bracelet things!!! Do you know how much they cost?
Burf bowmaster6 years ago
You can get them for a 2-3 dollars at almost any electronics site, but realize the end not connected to your wrist has to be connected to a ground in order to work.
You can also make one. Conductive bracelet to wire to 1-megohm resistor (current limiting, for safety, NOT optional) to another wire to an alligator clip attached to a suitable ground.

However, the issue here is charge differential between you and the cat. Discharging just one of you may not solve the problem. What you may need is to have the other end of the grounding wire run back to the cat somehow. (Convince the cat to lie on a conductive surface while being petted?)

Humidifier will reduce static problems generally, as well as increasing comfort. Probably worth considering.

Won' t work. Fur will insulate collar from cat , and besides can only discharge the fur touching it.
framistan6 years ago
I know the ANSWER!!  Somehow it just came to me and I know it will FIX the problem.  I figured it out by reading what ORKSECURITY commented.  Heres what you need to do.  You need a collar or harness that has a RESISTOR inside of it.  One end of the resistor touches the cat  and the OTHER end has a metal contact that YOU TOUCH.  If you touch the metal contact... then the voltage difference dissapates SLOWLY and equalizes.  NO WIRES or GROUND STRAPS are needed.  ALTERNATIVELY... you could make a kind of "MAGIC CAT PETTING WAND"  The resistor would be inside this wand.  TOUCH THE CAT with the wand and the voltage would EQUALIZE slowly without the ZAP. It would be a plastic piece like an INKPEN tube.  would only need a large value resistor of maybe ONE megohm or TEN megohm (experiment to see what works).  With a metal contact on each end of the wand/pen.   Just touch the cat with the magic wand..... Voltage dissapates... Now its safe to pet the cat...  This would also work for PEOPLE who hate to touch doorknobs and get zapped.  I suspect this idea is going to be stolen and sold by the millions.  You should make an INSTRUCTABLE for this !!!
Re-design6 years ago
Try having one hand on their body making good contact and petting them with the other. that way you might discharge over a wider area and they won't feel it as much.   It's as much them shocking you as their fur rubs against the couch etc. as you shocking them rubbing their fur.