A proper water gun for letting badcat know what's what
March 6, 2008 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Water Gun Recommendations? The cats are insufferable and I'm in need of a quality bad-kitty water gun. Any ideas?
posted by willie11 to Pets & Animals (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When I had bad kitties instead of good kitties, we used to use a big plant mister that had the ability to make a squirt gun like stream, or mist (kind of like a windex bottle). We would set it on stream and then be able to squirt bad kitty from far away.

The bottle was nicer than a squirt gun since it stood upright and did not leak like most of the toy squirt guns would.

One thing we saw was that bad kitty learned the sound of the bottle being primed and would only start her jumping when the noise changed to be the squirt.

We learned to prime quietly outside the room before coming in a like a ninja.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Motion activated goodness is a little extreme for indoor use, but if your problem is outdoor kitties...heh...
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:53 PM on March 6, 2008

Being a non-cat-owner but proficient cat torturer, I have found that it's actually the mist as much as the water which inflicts the greatest “shock and awe”. I have employed both strategically placed fans around a room with a standard water pistol - a sort of “banked shot”, if you will, and a combined Super-Soaker/duct-tape-mounted fan to achieve maximum dispersal. But, uh, be careful combining water and 120 volts AC. (Careful for yourself more than the cat.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:55 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding the idea of a plant mister - specifically because, as bottlebrushtree mentions, cats will soon become conditioned to the idea of "squirty sound = wet kitty" ... I haven't actually used anything on my cat now in years, yet I can still get him to cease all badness when necessary simply by making a similar "shhhht!" noise with my mouth ... handy, that ...
posted by zeph at 7:08 PM on March 6, 2008

my boyfriend uses one of those air duster cans on his dog.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:13 PM on March 6, 2008

well, not ON the dog. AT the dog. sheesh, people.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:14 PM on March 6, 2008

We have one of those tiny, hide it in your hand kids water guns for our dog when she goes outside and barks at things. She quickly figured out that if you weren't actually holding the spray bottle she could carry on with impunity until you went and found it and returned, plus she had time to hide in a plant and avoid the spray. She can't see the tiny watergun and is still a bit confused as to whether we are shooting water directly out of our hands or wtf is going on. It makes her a lot more likely to decide to heed the first warning and shut up.

It's actually kind of cute, now she just goes outside and instead of barking you hear these tiny, muffled ~wufmphh~wuufffmmmppphh~ noises when cats walk by.
posted by fshgrl at 7:15 PM on March 6, 2008

I use a cheapo spray bottle that I purchased from the gardening section of some store. I applied my own Kitty-B-Gon label and went to town.

My cats now run when they hear the sound of a spray bottle spraying for fear of ultimate soakage. I can even make the sounds with my mouth, which comes in extraordinarily handy.

Once, when my cat was really bad, I, um, aimed at him with a fully charged Super Soaker and came REALLY close to pulling the trigger. That would have been bad. Half a cat is pretty sad.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:36 PM on March 6, 2008

thirding the plant mister. My cat who has some behavioral issues has learned to know that he has to self-correct when I pick up the spray bottle. I pick it up, he knocks it off. I don't usually even have to spray. Good luck!
posted by arnicae at 8:16 PM on March 6, 2008

I agree, a spray bottle is much better than a water gun, has adjustable spray and doesn't leak all over everywhere. You don't have to go as big as a plant-mister, you can buy smaller bottles at drugstores -- I suppose they're intended for wetting down hair and such. I only have to pick the bottle up and shake it meaningfully -- though it does seem that from time to time, kitty forgets exactly why that noise is threatening and has to be reminded what the bottle actually does.
posted by tomboko at 8:37 PM on March 6, 2008

I prefer the canned air myself. It is much more electronics friendly than a super soaker. Another alternative might be clicker training the cat.
posted by slavlin at 9:06 PM on March 6, 2008

When Dante was a kitten he had an unfortunate incident jumping into the toilet to investigate. Coupled with the few times we used a squirt gun and he is now afraid of water that isn't in his bowl.

"Sssssssst" sound works just as well and you don't have to worry about leaking bottles.

For very stubborn kitties, shake a pop can with a few pennies inside. It gets the message across very fast.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 11:15 PM on March 6, 2008

Yep - squirty bottles are the way to go, for all the reasons mentioned!

There are ones that are electric - intended for people with arthritis.

I can ask him for the details when he gets back but, ours has been modified to fit a MUCH larger battery... and consequently it fucking hoots! Heh heh. Usually I just brandish it about and that does the trick but every now and then, as a little reminder, I need to make an example of somebody (or everybody).

They try to out run it - so just aim so the stream will fall where they're going to be... ;) Heh heh, they think they're the boss. They're not the boss.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 2:07 AM on March 7, 2008

No recomendations here, except to avoid using supersoakers directly onto the cats, the blast from them can cause internal bruising.

Also, most importantly, if you allow the cat to see you using the spray/demister, then the cats will only stop the behaviour you want to stop when you are around. This is because you are teaching them to fear punishment, not teaching them aversion to the behaviour you don't want, by associating spray of water with the behaviour.

Stay hidden when you want to use the spray to stop the behaviour.
posted by Arqa at 2:37 AM on March 7, 2008

2nd air duster cans. It sounds like a hiss.
posted by desjardins at 6:44 AM on March 7, 2008

Mixing 90% water with 10% white vinegar to load your spray bottle works wonders, too. They &?%$ hate that smell.
posted by Shepherd at 7:16 AM on March 7, 2008

I agree with Arga... The cats are only going to not do the behavior if they see the bottle. What are they doing exactly? I am an animal trainer and have found that it is MUCH more rewarding and efficient to teach them to DO something than not to do something. Punishment rarely works. But that is a totally different subject.
The canned air is a good suggestion. And I have used Silly String before (naughty animal trainer) making sure it is the nontoxic stuff and I don't hit the cat with it just shoot in his direction. Downsides are - If you do hit them with it you should probably go brush it out of their fur and it does create some "clean up" chores. But wow does it make them jump out of their skin.
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 8:15 AM on March 7, 2008

I'll be the first to admit that the standard mist/stream spray bottle that you can get 85 for $1 from the dollar store works totally fine, and it's what all my friends who have cats have used to great effect.

However, as I am a guy I would be remiss if I didn't at least link to this DIY project for the ULTIMATE BAD KITTY get-off-the-table water squirter. Yes, it might be a bit of overkill, but that doesn't detract from the awesomeness. And if you do use it, I want video.
posted by indiebass at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2008

A fun thing to do is make sure they never see that its YOU squirting them. Then its just the hand of god coming down to smack them around. It's really rare for you to actually get one over on your cat .... so enjoy it!
posted by muscat at 9:28 AM on March 7, 2008

Compressed air works like a charm, yup. Our cats could care less about the squirt gun, but that hissing sound puts the fear of Ceiling Cat into 'em real good.
posted by EarBucket at 2:25 PM on March 7, 2008

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