Cats & behavior: How can i keep cats off a new car?
June 19, 2007 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Cats & behavior: How can i keep five cats off a new car?

Will be getting a new car delivered this week. (Mazda 3 i touring).

I'm spending the summer with my parents because:
1. it's free
2. it's free...

Anyway, the parents live outside of town on an acreage.
They have a horse, a donkey, and two (older) outside dogs.
They also have five (5) outdoor cats.

[ To the animal lovers:
All animals are vaccinated, wormed (de-wormed?), heart-wormed, well fed, spade/neutered/gelded as appropriate, and generally very well cared for.
My younger sister would throw a fit if it wasn't this way.]

The cats like to get on top of the truck, minivan, and suv...
When it's time for the cats to get off of the vehicles, they sort of slide off.
Each foot leaves four little long scratches in the clear coat, and i recently noticed when i detailed the truck that the pads of the cats' feet seem to buff the clear coat as well when they slide off the front of the hood.

My previous vehicle was a ford explorer, and every time i washed it i would notice another new scratch from the cats -- sometimes in places that just made me scratch my head and wonder about how the hell a cat could make a scratch there?!

The cats know they arent supposed to be on the vehicles, and I figure the best way to limit damage once they are already on the vehicles is to just let them be. Scaring them off would just result in more damage.

I know that the new car will be subjected to parking lot damage, and I can live with that.
But at least most door nicks only affect a limited area and can be buffed out without too much trouble... especially on a white car.
The cats damage the entire car bit by bit, and I havent had great luck polishing out the scratches on any previous vehicle.

Bottom line:
I'm willing to spend some money to keep the cats off the car, and i'm willing to spend up to 5 minutes setting up and/or removing some sort of cat protection every time i drive the car.
The car will be parked in a 30x40 foot shed with the truck, minivan, and suv.
While it is possible to close the shed so that the cats cannot enter, it is not always possible to convince the cats to leave if they do get in.
We usually wait to administer the nighttime cat feeding until after all vehicles are in the shed for the night, but even that doesnt always work.

I'm not willing to spray any chemicals directly on the car.
I would, however, be willing to spray them on a car cover.
I just worry that they (the cats) would get on the car cover and put their claws all they way through it... and my paint.
Or worse still, they might claw the sides of the cover.

The dogs and horse may spend the night in a lean-to that is built onto the side of the shed. I worry that anything that uses sound to repel cats might travel through a single layer of tin siding and startle the horse or the 13-year-old Labrador.

I'm open to suggestions, as long as they don't involve getting rid of the cats.
posted by itheearl to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Test them to see what smells they don't like. Citrus spray would work to repel my old cats. There's a product called Feliway that supposedly works for some and not others.

Cats often don't like the feeling of tinfoil. You could try to get a cover that is texturally unpleasing for them to walk on. Then the other cars might be a good enough alternative that your new car remains safe.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2007

Black pepper around the car? Just a shot in the dark. I read that keeps cats out of your flower beds. Who knows.
posted by The Deej at 9:26 PM on June 19, 2007

Or... get a car cover.
posted by The Deej at 9:26 PM on June 19, 2007

(That is... car cover alone which is thick enough to protect.)
posted by The Deej at 9:27 PM on June 19, 2007

Or... how bout this...
Get a car cover. But also get a few sleeping pads, like this or similar. They are 3/4 inch thick. Lay them on the roof, trunk, and hood. Cut to custom fit if needed. Use a few heavy magnets to hold in them in place. The magnets won't touch the metal, just the mat. Put the car cover over the top.
posted by The Deej at 9:36 PM on June 19, 2007

A decent car cover or tarpaulin would be enough to keep your kittys claws out of your paint.
posted by puddpunk at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2007

Response by poster: hmm... or soft car cover and a tarp over that...
posted by itheearl at 9:54 PM on June 19, 2007

Response by poster: I'd love some recommendations on car covers too if anyone has any first or second hand experience.
posted by itheearl at 9:55 PM on June 19, 2007

Leg-jerk reaction is car cover and tarp, but beyond that, you may be able to get some carpet samples/scraps cheap from a dealer in area? Should be cheap and, as I've been told, they'll protect glass and paint in a hail-storm.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:12 PM on June 19, 2007

I trained my cats to stay off my leather furniture with a water gun. It took just a day! If you are up to hanging out near the vehicles and doing some training, it would probably work. 10 years later my cats still fear the leather.
posted by Ostara at 10:14 PM on June 19, 2007

I agree with Ostara that you haven't fully convinced the cats that cars are off limits. Especially if you let them be when you catch them in the act. That's tacit approval as far as they're concerned.

Wax the car, and find a hose long enough to reach inside the shed. Lurk nonchalantly. When you see a cat on the car, hose down the car and the cat. With any luck the cat will jump off. A few sessions like that should do the trick.
posted by nadise at 10:28 PM on June 19, 2007

Put on the car cover, hold your breath, close your eyes, and fling lots of cayenne red pepper powder all over the car cover and the shed floor.

Or, if this will bother other shed users or vehicles, don't, and instead uniformly coat the entire shed floor with the powder every week or so.

Cats lick themselves clean, so they will learn pretty quickly that a trip through the pepper is Not Fun.

Unfortunately, they're also pretty clever - they may figure out that when you haven't put pepper everywhere, it's ok to walk on the car, but I'm guessing that by that time, there will be enough pepper on the ground that they'll be avoiding the entire shed, and it won't matter if the car cover hasn't been peppered.

I've used cayanne powder at home, but since it was in the home, I had to contain it in little trays, rather than just bomb the whole area. Success was partial - they'd soon avoid the trays, but I was hoping they'd get the message to avoid the areas where I put the trays. No such luck. They avoid the powder, but anywhere that lacked powder was still fair game for exploring.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:31 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

A car cover would, IMO, be the easiest and most effective. I don't think that the cats would damage the fabric if they're not intentionally scratching at it, but I've haven't seen the scratches you write of.

My grandpa recently bought some spray that small animals don't like. I'm not sure of the name, but it included pepper spray (or just capsaicin). It irritates skin, and apparently has a light odor that animals don't like. Maybe you could spray some around your car, or lightly on the cover.

I hear cats don't like mothballs, too.
posted by cellojoe at 10:32 PM on June 19, 2007

on second thought...
what nadise suggested would be much more entertaining!
posted by cellojoe at 10:34 PM on June 19, 2007

This may sound crazy, but it was recommended to me more than once. Kersoene. The scent supposedly drives the kitties away. I wiped down the windows with a cloth just damp with it, then rinsed really well. Enough scent remained that the cat avoided the car, and after a couple of weeks, stopped going near the car.
posted by pupdog at 10:53 PM on June 19, 2007

At first I had some crazy notion of some kind of motion-activated sprinkler hookup and then I realized that it would spray you as you approached the car. Perhaps some kind of motion-sensitive audible alarm to scare them off?
posted by lockle at 12:02 AM on June 20, 2007

You should be able to buy a spray can full of cat repellent -- just ask at any pet supply store. Spray that on your car cover. This should be less chancy than cayenne.

You'll probably want to renew the repellent weekly or after rain.
posted by amtho at 5:10 AM on June 20, 2007

Ya know... the people suggesting a car cover and tarp might have it. Those blue fibrous tarps you can buy anywhere are pretty pucture resistant. A cat would have to really be wanting to do damage to get through.

One key with any car cover (I have heard... I don't use one), is that it's important for the car to be clean. Putting a cover on a dirty car results in a sandpaper effect.
posted by The Deej at 5:55 AM on June 20, 2007

radio shack sells a security device consisting of an infrared motion detector which sends a radio signal to a receiver which makes a noise when motion is detected. if you put the detector in the right place in your garage and hook the receiver up to an amp and a speaker for a much louder noise (right there in the garage too), it will scare the dickens out of any cat that jumps on your car, and you can can avoid...

posted by bruce at 7:05 AM on June 20, 2007

Cayenne pepper seems like a cruel solution. If they get covered in it, then they are forced to lick it all off. Not just unpleasant, but probably harmful, in quantity.
posted by lostburner at 7:56 AM on June 20, 2007

Cayenne pepper isn't a strong deterent to cats in my experience. Bitter apple or citrus scents work much better.

I'd be very careful appling a citrus scent near paint though. The scent chemicals in citrus are also used to make paint strippers.
posted by bonehead at 9:22 AM on June 20, 2007

Get a super soaker and apply as needed.
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:35 AM on June 20, 2007

Someone needs to:

1. Webcam hooked to computer software checking images aginst the previous for change (ie movement)
2. controlling a servo-controlled water-gun which is pointed at the movement and opened up.
3. Go into mass production
4. $$$

Robo-sentry defense against cats, witches, and other hydrophobic xenomorphs.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:39 AM on June 20, 2007

hook the receiver up to an amp and a speaker for a much louder noise (right there in the garage too), it will scare the dickens out of any cat that jumps on your car

And that whole "not scaring the other animals" thing? Fuggetaboutit.
posted by The Deej at 9:50 AM on June 20, 2007

Have the cats declawed!

ducks and runs for cover...
posted by JujuB at 10:00 PM on June 24, 2007

« Older Maybe this is all just glorified procrastination.   |   What now? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.