Despite evidence to the contrary, cats CAN be trained... Sometimes it's
not easy. Remember when you were a kid, and your mom or dad told you, "Don't let me catch you doing (Fill in the blank)?" Well, my cat seems to have absorbed that lesson very well. I can't catch her on the kitchen table any more, but I know she's been there...
I started looking for some way to discourage her. After trying several things that didn't work, I accidentally saw a product that looked promising, but I thought the price was too high.
The product design was pretty simple, though, so I decided to have a try at designing something similar myself. Like the guy (who shall remain nameless) that famously said, "I have a pen and a phone, what more do I need?" I have design software and a 3D printer! What more do I need?
This is a really simple idea: all you need is a 3D printer and the filament of your choice, plus a few inches of small bungee cord material for each device.
In case you're curious, I used 123D design to design this. It's great free software, although hard to find now, since the creator has discontinued it.
3/16" bungee cord material
Step 1: Scare the Cat Into Obedience!
The design of this gadget works something like a mousetrap, except it's designed to not injure the cat, just startle him.
It consists of two identical pieces joined together by a piece of stretched bungee cord. When the device is set, a very light touch will cause it to spring up into the air with a clattering sound, startling the cat and causing him to vacate the premises at a high rate of speed. (I named this cat "Blur," because she seems to do everything at a high rate of speed!)
It can be made out of any kind of rigid plastic; I used PLA, but ABS or anything else that's not flexible will do.
The video explains how to set the "trap." You stretch the bungee and place the two narrow ends of the device together, with the stretched bungee on top.
Step 2: No More Paw Prints on the Counter!
This prints easily on almost any 3D printer, even the mini versions. I've been told that cats see bright colors well, but not reds, so bright green or yellow might be a good color choice. I just used white, since that was what I had. It should be printed in the orientation given, and support needs to be turned on, just for the bungee attachment tab. I used about 30% infill; you don't want these parts to flex when under tension. Don't forget to print two!
You'll probably want to make several of these; I wound up making 3 and distributing them to the problem areas.
To assemble, thread the bungee through one of the attachment holes from the bottom (the top is the side with the tabs; it prints upside down) tie a good knot in the end, stretch it so it's almost completely stretched out when the 2 pieces are together end-to-end, then mark that spot, thread through the other tab from the bottom, and tie. That's all there is to it!
WARNING! Do not use a bungee with hooks! They could injure the cat!
It should now act like the one in the video.
If you want to make it more sensitive, you can slightly mis-align the two parts top-to-bottom.
Step 3: The Verdict:
Well, the cat is now staying off the kitchen counter! She didn't trip these things very often, and I'm sorry I have no video of her reaction, but they certainly helped, along with the usual "NO!"
Now, of course, she's finding other creative places to hang out!
Of course, your mileage - and your cat - may vary, but it might be worth a try!