Come with me to the Casbah, Cherie
January 11, 2008 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Nontoxic, non burning fur lightener for cats? Is there way to painlessly, stinklessly give Ms. Black Kitty a light skunklike stripe for her own protection? She lurks in dark, high traffic areas on dark carpet and consequently gets tripped over occasionally at night.

And please don't get all PETA on me - I am asking only if there are ways to do this that will not annoy the cat. Collars are not an option, and please don't tell me to keep all the lights on all night, and yes I have read this thread. Thanks!
posted by fish tick to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about low-light/glow glides or night light LEDs along the 'highly trafficked routes?' Minimal cost to you ... and to pussy-cat.
posted by ericb at 8:27 PM on January 11, 2008

BTW -- with low-cost LEDs and automatic sensor lights available I can't help but wonder if this question is intended to incite the OMGDON'THARMTHECAT responses -- hence, possibly being intentionally provocative here on AskMe. If I am misreading such, my sincerest apologies ... from me and my "putty-kats."
posted by ericb at 8:33 PM on January 11, 2008

Response by poster: ericb- nope, just wondering if there is a painless way to make the cat more visible without making the room more visible. No provocation intended.
posted by fish tick at 9:21 PM on January 11, 2008

I'd ask a vet, actually.

Depending on her tolerance level, you could always use non-toxic glow in the dark paint that is designed for finger painting toddlers and apply it with your fingers when she's calm and being petted.
posted by sondrialiac at 9:31 PM on January 11, 2008

I'm not much of a PETA nut but I do love animals.

I just don't see why this is necessary. Surely these "high traffic areas" are not massive expanses of space, costing millions of dollars to effectively light. It seems to me that adding a few night-lights or something would help you find your way and also avoid the cat. Failing that, what about some sort of collar with a few LED's on it? The only downside to that is that you'd have to remember to put it on your cat, and it could be slightly cumbersome to the cat.

You're definitely looking at this problem from the wrong end. This is an animal that you've chosen to take care of and keep as a pet, not your doll to modify as you see fit. There is virtually no justifiable reason for you to "make the cat more visible" by marking its fur when you could just as easily do so with a harmless light.

Don't take this in an offensive manner; I'm not trying to attack you. I just hope you can see why your idea is not an appropriate solution to the problem.
posted by DMan at 9:35 PM on January 11, 2008

Just to come to the OP's defence for a moment:
S/He is looking for options that will lighten fur colour AND not irritate the cat. That's the question. I don't see what is objectionable about that, especially when the aim is to avoid kicking the cat in the dark [ostensibly reducing the amount of suffering for both parties].


I used to routinely trip over a *white* cat in the dark, so I don't think that the colour of the fur is the issue here [your lighting conditions may vary].
Being the kind of guy who hates night lights, I would try making [kissy noises] with your lips as you approach these high-traffic areas. The cat will probably wake up at least a little bit, and eventually learn that dark + kissy noise = yikes! and will get out of your way.
It worked for me, but there was nobody around to hear me making kissy noises in the dark, so embarrassment wasn't an issue.
posted by Acari at 10:08 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Surely a pet salon might be able to gently bleach a white stripe and rinse the product out so kitty won't lick it off?
posted by Phalene at 10:09 PM on January 11, 2008

Dark and high traffic is sort of confusing. Is this dark as in, on the way to the bathroom for a midnight pee and no lights on dark? Or, is this as in the evening when lights are on in other parts of your house kind of dark? Any misplaced or fallen object could be tripped over in this dark high traffic area, much less the cat. You seem to object to lighting it in any way...

hmmmm...If it's very dark I'm not sure a skunk stripe would help. And it would be pretty ridiculous during the day, to be honest. Probably the best thing to do is to walk slowly along your dark high traffic area, gently feeling the floor with your feet as you go, knowing that your cat might be there, and advise others to do the same.
posted by red_lotus at 10:29 PM on January 11, 2008

ps or carry a little flashlight.
posted by red_lotus at 10:29 PM on January 11, 2008

Have y all seen the apply tape to the cat trick? brush all the fur straight back use that blue masking tape defining the width of the stripe. Mix and apply some powder bleach with a comb 1/2 inch from the skin this should stand up like a mohawk if kitty goes brassy use a violet shampoo to wash off the bleach. is your cat ready to be a blonde ? A kitty Quaalude may help.
posted by hortense at 11:27 PM on January 11, 2008

You can get high-vis reflector cat-collars. I bought one for my mogget - it's your basic cat collar but has a strip of that ultra-reflective fabric that the road safety vests use so it will stand out in low light conditions. Mine had a bell but it was so damn annoying that I took it off.

Frankly, though, red_lotus is right. I thought all cat-owners had the midnight-shuffle thing down pat. It's what I do now as both I and the cat dislike collars.
posted by ninazer0 at 12:12 AM on January 12, 2008

A thought: A glow ring for a collar? Admittedly, these glow bracelets are probably a little small, but the same company has glowing dog collars - maybe something like this is available for cats? Infact, here are some cat collars with glow-in-the-dark bits, but they probably aren't as bright and visible as the dog collars linked above.
posted by Jimbob at 3:12 AM on January 12, 2008

Response by poster: This is an animal that you've chosen to take care of and keep as a pet, not your doll to modify as you see fit

Yes, well, in terms of modification, I have seen fit to remove her uterus, and I see fit to clip her claws, and I see fit to brush her, and I would also see fit to do this, if it could be done without harm to the cat.
posted by fish tick at 5:55 AM on January 12, 2008 [7 favorites]

i'm curious, why are collars not an option? i am always freaked out by the prospect of dyeing cats because they clean themselves with their tongues and components of even permanent dye do wash out gradually (that's why bleach blondes eventually look brassy--the toner fades with each shower). with a cat, that means they'd wash out on their tongues. eek.

we had a cat that got out of collars a lot, so we eventually got him a harness for a leash. he was unhappy with it for about a week, but eventually got used to it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:30 AM on January 12, 2008

"How can I safely dye my poodle blue...":

"I have done several dogs at our salon and they have all had their colour last anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months. I only use food colouring mixed with vinegar." (...)

"I used food coloring that you can buy at the grocery store and I just put it where I wanted it on the dog and then let it set for a while and towel dried the dog. Problems with this are that when ever the dog gets wet it will transfer color! I dont reccomend not rinsing the dog after using food coloring however my colors didn't run."

Maybe you could put a reflective vest on your cat? The are availble in sizes for small dogs too, and will probably fit a cat. But if your cat would hate using a collar, she will probably hate using a vest.

Another (and much easier) solution: slippers with LED lights. Or use a small flashlight.
posted by iviken at 6:47 AM on January 12, 2008

if you really think this is the best way to go about this, you could try the kind of paint sold at feed and grain stores to mark livestock. it comes in day-glow colors and is totally completely permanent and non toxic. it comes in a container like a giant magic marker. having used it on goats running around in a dark barn, i can say it works pretty well.
posted by genmonster at 7:38 AM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, well, in terms of modification, I have seen fit to remove her uterus, and I see fit to clip her claws, and I see fit to brush her, and I would also see fit to do this, if it could be done without harm to the cat.

Heh, fair point.

If you're really bent on this as a solution, I think your best bet is probably to ask your vet. He/she will know better than most of us (and Google) what would be safe to put on a cat.
posted by DMan at 8:05 AM on January 12, 2008

The thing is, it won't last. You'd have to keep repeating it.

Also, have you never seen anyone with dark hair try to bleach to white? It takes long, repeated application of harsh chemicals. There is no other way to go from black to white. The cat will not hold still for this, not repeatedly.

I think the people are right who suggest either adding lighting or investigating some kind of glow collar.
posted by zadcat at 8:41 AM on January 12, 2008

I suggest shuffling rather than walking at night, which will virtually eliminate the risk of tripping.
posted by kindall at 10:13 AM on January 12, 2008

Why not give the cat an irresistably soft and secure place to sleep that isn't the floor? If you know it will be in its basket on its squishy pillow, you won't step on it as much.

Or buy a pale-coloured carpet sample to put where it usually sleeps. Or run a pale-coloured hallway runner on the path. Or get several dehumidifiers and a Van de Graaf generator so every time it moves, it grows an aura of static electricity.

If you're genuinely asking how not to step on the cat, there are many ways you can modify your own behaviour and actions to accomplish this.

If you're asking how to Pepe your cat, and adding some "sensible reasons" so as not to get a lot of answers enumerating the reasons why you suck, tradition has it that one should couch their query as if researching for a book, or perhaps a live-action Looney Tunes film.
posted by Sallyfur at 11:01 AM on January 12, 2008

I'm with those who think that if it's dark enough, you won't be able to see her even with a stripe, and you'd have to bleach black fur a lot to make it bright enough to see. I don't think it would work, safe or not safe. Carrying a flashlight or using even really soft nightlights would be your best bet.
posted by Koko at 11:44 AM on January 12, 2008

Weighing all this in the balance, getting tripped over would probably be less harmful to the cat than attempting to dye her dark fur a lighter color. Ideally, you would need glow-in-the-dark paint to really make her visible, and I can't find anything like that which is kitty-safe.

Since collars are not an option, what about relegating her, just at night time, to a specific room of the house, with her food, a couple toys and litter box there? We have found this effective for our own kitten, who found having her "own space" comforting the first few nights, and so we have kept to the routine. A laundry room is ideal.

Also, you could get your cat a light-colored bed or cube. This is less likely to be completely successful, because of course cats aren't really nocturnal like you are, but it might help. There are also glow in the dark pet toys to help light the way (cheap!).

I am thinking that you don't want to illuminate the room because you are sharing a house?
posted by misha at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2008

If you want to see a black cat in the dark, you will need light, not a lighter cat.
posted by Tehanu at 11:21 PM on January 25, 2008

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