Sunday, April 15, 2007

To Build a Better Cat Trap

Our darling cat Oliver has recently taken to jumping up on the kitchen counter and scrounging whatever edible food item is not tucked safely inside several layers of plastic. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to come home from work to a rosemary roll I really wanted with dinner in bits and pieces all over the floor. We were perplexed as to how to discourage this behavior because we can't bar him from the kitchen due to the house's layout, using upside down sticky tape (a previously successful method in Ken's apartment) warns him it's there with a distinct smell--not to mention it's very inconvenient for the humans using the kitchen--and electroshock is apparently out of the question. So my clever husband awoke me at 2:30 am the other morning to share with me his grand vision of how to teach our little cat that mommy and daddy don't take kindly to tiptoeing on the counter. Aside from the timing, it was quite good. Behold, the cat trap.... Can't see it? Here's a closer look: The idea is to create an unstable landing surface that will present an immediate consequence (he'll fall back) and to negatively reinforce jumping up again we have the Tattle Tale, a motion sensing alarm that emits a loud siren when jostled in any way. The beauty of this cat trap is that it's quickly moved aside when we need to use the kitchen and easy to set up before we leave. It also goes without saying that we'll make sure not to leave open or poorly wrapped food on the counter anymore. I'll let you know how it goes. But being completely metal, it could be electrified...I'm just saying.

4 comments:

Brian Ulrich said...

did the cat trap work?

Kali said...

Oh yes indeed.

http://kenandkali.com/2007/04/cat-trap-part-deux.html

LG said...

so i googled my question and this blog came up. i have a question then....
so my cats do the same thing. they jump up on the counter and it's mostly just to drink out the faucet.
i don't let them sleep w/ me. and most of the time they do sleep when i go to bed, however sometimes they wake up and scratch at my door and meow (loudly)....what should i do?

Kali said...

LG, this is a very complex situation - maybe they're wanting attention or food? At any rate you have to establish that you are the dominant one and what you say goes. We give Oliver a warning when we want him to stop meowing or scratching at the door by a loud and firm "Shhhhhh!". If he does it again, we use the "wet head technique" - this is where make his head wet since he doesn't like it, reinforcing that the last thing he just did is bad. While this works pretty well, every couple months or so he "forgets" again. But we don't have to do this punishment very often, it's very effective and doesn't hurt him. But we're not cat behavioral experts by any means, so more Googling may be in order to find something that works for you.