"Aye Carumba," cried Don Moopy
September 7, 2007 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Cat collars. Ones that snap into action when in range of each other. Suggestions or better ideas most welcome. And of course I've included the whole exasperating tale for your consideration and/or amusement.

Littermates Scruffy Girls and Loopy Schmickles. Out after 9am in by 4-4.30pm. (5.30-6pm at the latest for Scruff, on the odd occasion, if she's being a Haggis. Loopy is in before the bikkies land on the first shake - without fail.)

The Mean Cat seems to be entirely free range. Comes around at night to gobble up the cat grass. Jump at windows, circling the house in a reign of terror over it's inhabitants. Which to be honest is really a bit of excitment, isn't it? But it digs these big stupid holes in my garden. Which, when SO pointed out, were all in veiw of windows just made me laugh. Until I found one NOT near a window. I was like WTF! The hairy bastard made that one for me... That tears it. I'd like to catch that cat and say "Now look here Kitty, I don't know what goes on at your place, but from where we come from holes are for crappin' in! Not just diggin' about the place wherever you please! You got that!"

But really the problem is that Loopy is being increasingly savaged. (Unlike Scruff, he is The Chicken (-stealin') Boy) He's been rolled for his new collar. Attacked in his shade cloth hammock. The thing just gets him and puts all these nasty holes in my poor Loopy Schmickles. So I've been keeping him in, but it's not fair and bad for family harmony. Which is a perculiar type of music at the best of times.

I go outside but he goes off in search of mischief. I send Scruff with him but even if she's with him at the time, Mean Cat has given her a 'friendly' maul at least once (it's just much bigger) She does go to attempt his rescue though :)

SO alarmed me with the idea of 'taking care of it' until I pointed out that the owners (somebody at the bottom of the cul de sac? They will know at any rate) are quite likely unaware of the relentless torment Kitty is inflicting upon us. So I have bought it some time. It's lucky I'm partial to cats and not just ones that are mine...

A Cat Run. Yes, but for various reasons I'm putting that on hold for now (and this yard is a total snore.) I was going to kit him out in body armor with a samurai style helmet and a tail guard (Ahh, lateral thinking) Then my common sense kicked in. Of course collars!!

That when within X amount of feet or meters let off an alarm! Alerting me and sending both of them headed for home in a fright. I was thinking also an irritating buzz at a closer range might keep it occupied while Loopy makes a dash for safety, and escapes harm. SO wants to put some kind of shock. But I'm hesitant on that one. But have already decided if it comes to that the collars 'need maintainance' and it'll be going in.

It will need to be durable, waterproof, reliable, no maintainance on their part (it would ruin my presentation shpeil) And completely safe!!

We thought maybe like an electric door buzzer stuck down or radio frequency? Like walkie-talkies ect. But I remember as a kid we'd pick up trucks on them... GPS?

What do you guys think? Whacky ideas welcome. Completely different and/or better ideas are also acceptable. :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bonus points for anyone who can interpret the above into English.
posted by delfuego at 5:39 PM on September 7, 2007 [10 favorites]

Yes, I'm having trouble determining exactly what your question is, or what it is that you want and/or need. Could you rewrite your question, keep it simple and to-the-point, and remove all the giggle-ha-ha stuff so we can understand you more clearly?
posted by fandango_matt at 5:45 PM on September 7, 2007

Can you repeat the question plainly and simply without all the turns of phrases? I've gathered your cat(s?) are having problems with a neighbor cat, and you don't want to install a cat run, and collars work in there somehow.
posted by schroedinger at 5:46 PM on September 7, 2007

OP's cats are getting into altercations with Evil Neighbor Cat.

OP wants to fit all three of them with collars that prevent the bad cat from getting near the good cats, probably by means of emitting a small shock or noise as a deterrent when the animals get too close to each other.

Work in a headshop for 4 months. The skills you learn will last you the rest of your life.
posted by cmyk at 5:51 PM on September 7, 2007 [7 favorites]

I don't think outfitting your neighbor's cat with a collar will work out well. The neighbor will likely not take kindly to such an action.
posted by schroedinger at 5:53 PM on September 7, 2007

i would first figure out who owns the cat in question, and have a chat with him or her. The bad cat might be feral.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:59 PM on September 7, 2007

I would first figure out who owns the cat in question, and have a chat with [the owner, not the cat].
posted by fandango_matt at 6:00 PM on September 7, 2007

[a few comments removed, after one or two people say "I don't understand this" there's no need to pile-on. mu~ha~ha~ha~har, you might want to make your explanation much more simple in a comment somehow.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:39 PM on September 7, 2007

Start by putting a standard collar on the cat. If the owners remove it within hours (or the cat is the kind that will get it off), then you've saved yourself a lot of time and money by finding that out BEFORE you put a custom-made electronic doohicky on the cat, never to see it again.

If the collar stays on, then you can think about your next move. The technology realistically available to you is this:

Passive radio (RFID): Very short range (inches) without specialised gear, but the device in the collar would be cheap, disposable, require no batteries and no maintenance, and be so small it would appear to the owners to be a normal collar. The receivers would not be suitable to installing in your own cat's collars, you would be looking at fixed receiver installations or a dog-like invisible fence, but using standard RIFD, the collar itself would not know if it was in range, only the receiver station would.

Active radio - a transmitter: If you or someone on your behalf is building this to order, then range can be whatever you want (10 feet, 100 feet, whatever). While the transmitter can be small, it requires batteries, and either the batteries will be bulky, or they will need constant changing. Think of an AAA cell - putting one of those on a cat collar makes it much more likely that the cat will lose the collar, or much more likely that the owners will think "WTF is this?" and remove it.

Active radio - a receiver: Like the invisible fence shock collars for dogs. Again, needs batteries - look at how bulky the dog devices are. If you can find a small enough dog product, and modify it (among other things - reduce the voltage!) this is probably your best bet. If you (or someone you know) is clever, your own cats could carry an "invisible fence" transmitter on their collars, creating a portable restraining order. This will take some time and effort though, and batteries will need regularly replacing.

Potentially battery solution - solar recharging: You won't get an off-the-shelf solar solution for a cat collar, you need a DIY/electronics type. BUT - if the cat's hair is too long, it won't work, and realistically, you're just setting yourself up to lose an expensive and time-consuming piece of custom work. Perhaps you would find the collar via it's transmissions, unless it was removed by the owners.

Summary: Do you know an electronics enthusiast who is willing to make this their hobby project? Because unless you're wealthy, I think that is what it will take.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:15 PM on September 7, 2007

If this cat is as mean as you say it is, how to you plan to catch it and hold it long enough to put a collar on it?
posted by fandango_matt at 10:27 PM on September 7, 2007

That when within X amount of feet or meters let off an alarm!

Have you heard of bell collars? They do well alerting cats to each others' approach. One bell is not enough for any stealthy and determined cat. You need to attach several, ideally not too closely sewn onto the collar - the more dangly the better. They will make more sound if they dangle. At the same time be wary not to let them dangle too much (an inch is too much) because this can pose a health risk to the cat. Dangly things get caught, and this can trap the cat, which, of course, could result in suffocation via the collar.

That's about as helpful as I can be with this mealy-mouthed posting. Elaborate in the morning when the purple haze has cleared and I'll be happy to contribute any other relevant tips I can.
posted by scarabic at 10:28 PM on September 7, 2007

About those "nasty holes" in your garden.... In my 61 years, I've known only two cats who could catch moles and both of them learned (we think) from the same senior cat in our neighborhood. Next time you see the cat digging holes in your yard, watch carefully.
The cat waits until after a good long soaking rainstorm so the ground will be soft. The cat hangs out in the garden, looking to be asleep, until suddenly s/he's up and tracking...nothing that your eye can see but something that their ears can hear...but looking intensely at the ground and following...nothing that you can see. Minutes or hours later, they dig as fast and as furiously as they can.
They don't always catch the mole but they can be damned determined and, sooner or later, they'll get it, leaving holes all over in their hot pursuit. Every gardener I've ever known has envied me my mole-catching cats.

You're not giving half the information we need here. How many of these cats are neutered? What gender is Big Mean Cat? For all I know, he's catching moles and presenting them to Loopy to prove to her what a great provider he'd be to her kittens. Or maybe Big Mean Cat is a female who has realized that both your cats are maroons in the hunting department and, out of the goodness of her heart, has undertaken their education.

Sheesh, get a grip. Question for SO: You want to put down Loopy's boyfriend or Loopy and Scruffy's adopted mom?

YOU do not determine the cat hierarchy in the neighborhood, the CATS do. You're nice and you give good treats but you're not a cat and you can't smell or hear worth a damn. You can't catch a mole, either. ...Or purr, more's the pity.
posted by realjanetkagan at 11:49 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why the need for all the electronics? Maybe keep your cats in at night for a week or two and patrol your yard with a garden hose or water blaster until the bad puss has been thoroughly soaked a few times? If that doesn't work, perhaps you could ask around till you find the owner & let them know about the damage to pets and property. If that fails, trap it and take it to the local shelter (a bit harsh, I know, but if your cats are getting badly mauled, why not?)
posted by maryh at 1:03 AM on September 8, 2007

It seems your cats are in at night, and bad cat comes around and teases them from outside (as well as attacking them when they are out in the day)?

Get a motion-activated sprinkler to use at night, and after a few soakings this way, I bet bad cat will not want to come around at all. Combined with maryh's water blaster (if that doesn't do the trick alone), it should make your place pretty unattractive as hole-digging, kitty-terrorizing playground.
posted by taz at 1:30 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

That's the one, cmyk.

It already has a collar. The owners are somebody at the bottom of the cul de sac. (We are on the corner of it) Or perhaps it's from over their back fences. When I have a solution I'll ask around, and then explain the situation to the owners. It's very healthy, nice collar with a bell and tag. It's a nice neighborhood. If I explain the shenanigans but not ask that they do anything at all but simply attatch something that I'm happy to just give them, to their kittys collar in order to avoid the unpleasantness and any possible vet bills, that seem likely to occur before long. I imagine they wouldn't mind. Do you think a reasonable person would object to that? If so I'll think of something else I guess.

-harlequin- Good stuff mate! Exactly what I was after :) They're all shorthair and SO is an enthusiast with a discount at Bunnings (-massive hardware store).

And of course - bells, why didn't I think of that! Why on earth do people need measures such as personal alarms, pepper spray or tasers - when we've got bells!
*roll eyes*

They already have a handful of bells between them.

We don't have moles in australia. I have watched it. The cheeky shit circles the house at night pausing in front of windows to dig massive holes in the bark where mine can see it.
Mine were taught to hunt their mother was a stray (the reason they have enough bells for a pack of reindeer) SO singlemindedly has his familys interest at heart, he cares and I admire that. He's also able to be reasonable and open to considering other ideas which I even more so very much admire.

Loopy is a desexed (whimpy) boy. Scruff, a desexed (brave) girl. Mean Cat... is just big. I think it might be a girl? It's out at night but there's only been the odd cat fight here and there so I'd be inclined to think it's desexed too.

Scruff and Mean Cat met first and were on friendly terms to begin with. (Scruff is easygoing and friendly while Loopy is.. threatened easily.) But Loopy copped it from word go and then before long Mean Cat had a go at Scruff one day too. I think Scruff is a little frightened of it now and seems to avoid it. (Scruff would be fine in the wild, Loopy would be lucky to last 5 minutes, if that makes it any clearer. They're littermates so Loopy's just a ding-dong. But he's my ding-dong)

That's right, good for them, they're the cats - and I'm the boss (it's on my fridge as a reminder...)

Yeah the night time antics aren't causing me any real greif (plus with water restrictions sprinklers were banned long ago) And that's right, mine are only out during the day (in by dusk at the absolute latest.) The problem are the deep bites but my main concern is the risk of abscesses and the any number of possible injuries that the next incident may leave. It's getting more vicious and it's hurting him more both physically and mentally. It makes him so sad, it's never a nice feeling when you are attacked.

And yeah I've drenched the lot them with a bucket. I hate the fighting. And yes I will go to the owners once I have a solution (one so simple and zero effort that if they want to be pricks about it I'll then feel honestly justified in order to be able to do what has to be done. From the options they've cornered me with). Otherwise what good does it do? They're cats they do as they please. I've got them and I know that the only real solution is one that's actually going to work without being tedious or inconvenient beyond words. Hopefully the collar will be that for them
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2007

Not the answer you're looking for, but a similar situation.

One of our cats was badly beaten up by a pure-bred, collar-wearin' siamese that does the rounds once a day. We took her to the vet, who was amazed at the extent of the injuries inflicted - he thought it was consistent with a dog or possum attack. (We'd witnessed the attack.)

Vet gave us a trap, said to bring bad cat in to him "no questions asked", as bad cat was a menace and a pest.
posted by TiredStarling at 12:08 PM on September 8, 2007

My ex-next-door-neighbors had a big mean long haired cat that used to stake out my cat’s cat door, and head him off on his way home to try and kill him. Dousing the rascal with water didn’t help much, and neither did talking to his people. Finally, after $300 in vet bills, I shot the thing in the ass with a low-powered pellet pistol.

The gun I used could barely penetrate an aluminum beer can, but it was accurate enough so I could place my shots at close range and not hit something like an eye. After the second treatment the thug cat learned to keep his distance. Not an ideal solution, but....
posted by Huplescat at 3:34 PM on September 8, 2007

I've seen these in my local pet shop (in Perth, so would assume you can get them in Brissie too). They're designed to stop your cat attacking wildlife, but the guy in the pet shop said they were also good for deterring catfights— it's basically an alarm that goes off when the cat goes into "attack mode", from what I can tell. I haven't tried it yet, so can't give a personal recommendation, but it might be worth a shot.
posted by indienial at 1:03 AM on September 9, 2007

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