Tuesday, February 8, 2011

deterrent update

A while back I wrote about my purchase of StayAway automated deterrent in an effort to dissuade Theo from counter surfing. I thought an update was in order.

The device works by sensing motion from a small sensor that when triggered emits a short burst of air and/or a moderately loud sound. With the small switch on the back, the human can select either just the sound or both the sound and burst of air.

So after some use how does it work? Nahum and Willow are terrified of the sound, even though it is not very loud, but the surprise factor seems to send them running for cover. This is an unfortunate side effect of using an automate device, because they are never the ones to trigger it - they are innocent bystanders who get to experience the consequence of Theo's mischievous behavior.

Of course Theo is not nearly as scared by the sound or puff of air. When he triggers the device, he looks puzzled as he calmly jumps down. He then stares up at the counter, trying to make sense of what happened. Sometimes he jumps right back up to get a closer look. In general it seems to slightly dissuade him from prowling the counters and gives him something else to think about besides the hunt for food.

The biggest challenge with this device is remembering that it is there! I think the humans have triggered it more than the cats. We typically set it up when food is being prepared and one has to step away for some reason. Inevitably, we forget it's there and it goes off, sending Willow and Nahum bolting out of the room. I created a post-it note that says "Alarm is Active!" to post as a visual reminder. That sometimes helps but has not been fool proof.

The other challenge, is the device has to be placed in such a way that a human can get behind it to deactivate it without setting it off! This means careful consideration must go into placement. We were hoping to use it more on the stove to keep Theo off the hot (or lit) stove, but I am a little nervous about putting a pressurized air canister near an open flame or a very hot surface! After all the warning label on the canister says "container may explode if heated!"

Looking back, am I glad to have spent the $40 on the StayAway? It's not a sure thing for preventing Theo's antics but I suppose it it helpful to have a device that can be used in moments of need and it is certainly better than no device. So, in the end I would say, yes, it was a good purchase.


  1. LOL - Mo is my certified counter surfer, but I have only myself to blame since I medicated him there when he was a kitten. As bad as it sounds, I surrender...though it might be worth it to keep him out of the cabinets. :)

  2. I've heard mixed reviews about these things. I think it would scare me more than my cat Rocky, who counter surfs pretty much every time I am preparing food. I've tried a gazillion things to keep him off, and in the end, I just keep my trusty spray bottle handy. Most of the time I don't have to spray him, I just point it as a warning. LOL.


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