Instructables

Scat-Mat for a cat, made from scratch -- suggestions?


I'm looking to make one of these myself. Any suggestions as to the power supplied to the conductive surface?
Obviously, I want low enough power to not hurt my cat, but enough for her to choose not to sleep on the couch anymore!
Thanks!

dillpixel4 years ago
I've trained my cats to stay off of a variety of surfaces (i.e. counter tops, bookcases and plant shelf) by covering them temporarily with aluminum foil. If you get the heavy duty type in the extra wide roll, it's pretty easy to lay out, then fold to put away, then unfold...you get the drift. Cats don't like foil. I crush it up first, then smooth it out a little, leaving a lot of crevices and folds. After a few days, they just stop getting on the surface. Good luck!
frollard4 years ago
I figure a barbecue electronic igniter would do the trick - but you'd want the circuit to sense when theres a cat nearby (capacitive?) then start firing. That seems to be whats going on. Either way - I don't agree with these, as lemonie says, there are better methods.
cojonc frollard2 years ago
Quote: Either way - I don't agree with these, as lemonie says, there are better methods.

Better methods? Really? What do you have in mind? I'm always interested in learning more about inducing behavioral responses in animals.

Please allow me to say this: I can certainly think of DIFFERENT methods, but can i get humans to utilize them? Usually I am told they will do as I suggest, but when I investigate, the animal still has the behavioral problem. Why? because the human is too lazy, too ignorant, to follow through as suggested.

No, this is not an insult, but a reflection of what i find to be true and accurate. If it were not so, I would equally report any accurate condition. Regrettably, this is almost always the case. It is a rare event that I can get someone who had created a poor behavioral response in an animal to break that behavior without psychological counseling.

The consequence is that Mrs. Jones' pampering of the cat or the dog created some bad behavior that she wants changed. I am called, I investigate and prescribe shock to deter scratching because she does not want the tinfoil, plastic, etc, and she does not want to put in the time needed to retrain the animal, and any available cat furniture would not be appropriate in her home. She is absolutely unwilling to drop her pampering that brought on the behavior, so what's left?

Only the methods that may be less than effective even in the hands of a skilled and patient experienced animal trainer--so i know Mrs Jones won't do it.

Electricity does not harm the cat or dog, and have proven to be the most effective deterrent to many bad behaviors. They are inexpensive, easily implemented, and completely safe and humane.

Have you ever been shocked? Do you recall the experience? Yes, but not the pain. Your dog does not recall the shock either, but it will recall the apparatus, the place, the situation, where the pain was generated etc.

Pain, you see, has no memory. You can recall the incident, but attempt to recall the pain, and you will see that it cannot be done. If you could, you could recreate the incident again, feeling that exact pain again ... and again ... and again. Get it? If your memory allowed that, a nightmare would be completely different--and very dangerous. Thankfully, natural evolution has prevented that.

So please don't worry. You will not create a problem with your pet giving them a quick low amperage shock reminder to avoid a particular area or behavior. In fact, from what I have seen of humans and how they treat their pets--yelling at, hating them, slapping them hard, kicking them even, throwing things at them, actually harming pets to stop behavior! In view of that, shock prevention is by far the easiest on the pet. In fact, of the two, shocks are by far the most benign.

Also, it would do you good to realize that pets look at pain in a completely different manner than do humans. Humans see it coming and allow anticipation to create a large portion of the event. Pets do not. You can wave a injection syringe in front of a pet or a baby with no response. Stick them and they respond, but if they do not see the needle as the pain is felt, they will not associate it next time, and you can still wave the syringe in front of them with no response.

But, put a pet into the car to go to the vet once, and unless it is done in a particular manner, the next time it will be stressful. Many of you have seen this.

Please do not be so ignorant as to slap a negative label on shock training until you have also taken the time to analyze the alternative methods you or another have been endorsing.

By the way, what are they? I really am interested. Write me.


Cojonc (Dr. John Cook, Behavioral psychologist)
johncook at suddenlink dot (net) - (not com) to avoid bots!
cojonc4 years ago
A 'scat mat' is constructed in a manner that almost prohibits quick or easy construction. As example, the electronic circuit board requires what most would call 'advanced' knowledge of electronics. The mat is also difficult if you wish it to be effective. It should be invisible (as is possible) to the cat to keep the cat from detecting the mat as the painful device. If shocked and deterred, the cat will not jump on the sofa again (well a stupid cat might) If however the cat can notice that the sofa is safe in a particular appearance, but unsafe when the mat exists, the cat will avoid only the mat--regardless of where you place it.

Many have said they would not want to harm the cat with electricity. Earlier I read an account from a vet that claimed she placed a dogs shock collar on her arm to see if she could take the jolt the dog would get. She claimed that the lowest setting was too painful. I have had them on my neck at the highest setting. They jolt, but it's gone in seconds. To the animal, the effect is quite different.

This is all well and good but would it not be a better idea to consider electricity and reaction as well as pain from the animals physiology, nervous system and physical make up? Next, what level of electricity is utilized in the devices that are used to deter animals, does it harm, and what is it's effect on an animal. Making assumptions can be dangerous and it's certainly no way to learn.

High voltage electricity with extremely low amperage generally cannot produce any short term damage to an animal, if it creates any damage at all. As example is when a high school shop student gets zapped by an automotive spark plug (coil wire) He may receive as much as 50,000 volts but the current (amperage) is possibly 0.00001 milliamperes or less and it takes somewhere between 0.1 and 0.3 milliamperes to create fibrillation in the heart muscle (heart attack) Yes, I do know that there are many variables, but death or damage from a park plug is highly unlikely. I would have to doubt there is a recorded event.

The electric fence devices catch farm cats on a regular basis. I think it a safe bet ours have taken at least 20 jolts of 30-40,000 volts on the farm fences, neighbors yards, etc. They're fine. No, they don't like it, but that's the idea. Boy can a fast cat jump! They damn near beat the jolt and shake it off in milliseconds. Then they are back to hunting mice less than an inch from the wire.

This may help you to realize the benefit of electrical shock training. Dogs that have been bitten by dangerous snakes will go again to that same breed of snake and do the same dance of doggie excitement (you've seen it) as they jump and bark around it, playing and excited. They are often easily within attack distance and they do receive a second and sometimes fatal bite. Train that dog with 3 to 6 shocks of 30,000 volts (some take more training sessions) with a painful shock collar and if your dog sees a snake he will stay away. The pain works because it is pain! The idea is to cement the concept that snakes hurt, and if he goes too near, he will get hurt.

They don't learn from the bite because they are aware of pain in a different fashion than we are. They seldom feel the fangs as more than a tiny stick, and when the problem arises--usually a seriously swollen face--the thought of the snake was forgotten long ago. When we are bit, we understand it intellectually. if we didn't think about it and could only feel the fangs, we may not feel them at all, and we certainly would not be concerned. Additionally, animals have a somewhat different receptor/transfer system. They receive adrenalin differently and in different quantities than humans. Some situations, we don't worry about at all, but our animals do, and they are already receiving some adrenalin. We don't because our brains can better perceive the needs for fight or flight responses. They experience and learn where we can stand back, scratch our chins and say 'If I go in there, I'll get bit' the old hound just charges right in.

A cattle fence with 30,000 to 40,000 volts and the typical low amperage those operate at will hurt your cat--for a tenth of a second--but they will learn, and cats and dogs don't carry bad feelings. Once it's over, they forget the pain but recall what makes them hurt--as in the wire, the fence, that pad, etc. W don't get over anything that fast, because we worry and think. They have recovered and are on their way to yet another adventure and they will never stop loving you until... Well, maybe you wear the shock mat and this evil lopsided grin.

Take it easy. Everything is OK. They aren't damaged.
This makes so much sense. Very informative. Wish we could all be this rational...
I have used invisible fencing with 3 separate dogs with excellent results. The dogs received a correction at the most 3 times in their lives. I did test it on myself to evaluate the pain the device inflicted. Although unpleasant, I did not get hurt. Of course I experienced guilt at subjecting my beloved pet to something that could scare him at most, but that is a human emotion that pays no benefit to our dogs. My dogs simply avoided the unpleasant correction once they understood the process. It would be unreasonable, unfair, and ineffective to stick the collar on a dog and throw in in the ring without training. It takes a while to teach the dog about boundaries and what he is to do when he gets a warning signal. We teach the dog to retreat inside of his invisible coral for safety whenever he hears a beep that tells him he nearing his "fence". It becomes an obstacle that he learns to respect even in your absence as he does not associate the two. He would only blame you if you ever dragged him across. The success in my opinion is directly related to the quality of training which is provided by any company who will install the system. Has anyone ever had success using invisible fencing with a cat?
lemonie4 years ago
They'll just sleep on the arms / back somewhere else you don't want. Giving kitty somewhere she likes sleeping that isn't the couch is the best solution. L
Zibodiz (author)  lemonie4 years ago
I would love to use other means, but unfortunately psychology doesn't appear to go very far with cats. She knows not to get on the furniture & counters while we're home/awake, but as soon as we leave, she's on the furniture. For instance, if I leave, then realize I forgot my car keys, by the time I come back in the house, she's already on the couch. I open the door to hear her scurrying off. I've given her everything from heated pet beds to 'kitty tunnels', all to no avail. This 'electric fence' is my idea after having run out of other ideas -- I've been fighting to keep her where she belongs for about 4 years now. If anyone has other suggestions, though, I'd be happy to hear them. I've seriously tried everything I can think of!
lemonie Zibodiz4 years ago
I'm thinking that if you recreated the corner of a couch at a raised position - just like the bit of couch kitty likes - she might be persuaded to go for that. Using similar materials, not trying to make it cat-orientated as such.
You have them in your house, you are going to get cat-hair all over the place, they don't observe hierarchies like dogs, it's unreasonable to expect them to behave as you wish. And zap her off the couch, she'll go somewhere else you don't want her to...

L
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!