Out Engineering a Sneaky Cat

Cats do what they want, which rarely coincides with what their owner wants them to do. In [Dumitru]’s case, his girlfriend’s cat [Pufu] tended to make it outside into the cold more often than desired. Rather than settle with the normal bell which gets obnoxious even when the cat isn’t misbehaving, he decided to put together a custom Cat Finding collar. He used a PIC microcontroller as the brains, and temperature and light sensors to decide whether the cat had snuck into the cold, dark night. Once the cat has been marked as being outside, a buzzer and LED are set to go off at regular intervals until returned into the safety of the indoors.

[Dumitru]’s website along with his YouTube videos are in Romanian, though the schematics and source code provided speak for themselves. He does a wonderful job walking through the entire design process, including time spend in the IDE as well as EAGLE designing the board. YouTube has managed to subtitle the majority of the details, but we imagine this post will be a real treat to any Romanian speaking hobbyists out there. Be sure to catch both videos after the break.

Detailed design Walkthrough

Overview and Project in Action

31 thoughts on “Out Engineering a Sneaky Cat

  1. Only Russians would strap stuff like this to their animals… Next thing you know, they’ll be strapping bombs to dogs and sending them off towards German tanks.

  2. Firstly, what’s wrong with getting a cat flap so the cat can come home when it feels like it

    Secondly, I give it a couple of days before the cat removes it- you have to put things like collars and bells on all the way from kitten upwards if it’s going to be accepted

  3. This is a bad idea, cats like to go through small holes and with this fairly large gizmo attached they might get trapped by the collar.

  4. It’s Romanian, not Russian (i’m looking at you Laika), and bombs? I admit it looks kind of “unfriendly” but it’s a prototype.
    rfid tags and a small rfid reader network around the house… if you’re that keen on knowing the location of the cat. that’s how i’d waste my time and money if i had any

  5. This is a good way to get a cat killed. Cats require stealth so as not to be eaten or killed/maimed by larger cats. Also why declawing a cat is a poor idea–it removes their ability to defend themselves.

    Cats are smart and independent. Don’t be a controlling parent to them. Nothing wishes to be caged. Make your home a loving, safe destination for your cat by showing it how happy you are that it has returned home and your relationship with your cat won’t be one of prisoner and jailer.

  6. @florinzgtrst he refers to what the russians tried in WW2 when they strapped bombs to dogs and the idea was they would be trained to run under german tanks and explode them, but it backfired (literally) when the dogs would instead run to their own tanks/troops with disastrous results leading to abandoning of the project.
    It’s all on discovery channel and such.

    It’s a bit silly to go on about that though because the brits and the US and many other nations have had similar nasty ideas so long ago, and you can’t say the russians weren’t in a tight spot.

  7. @Dan I’m with you, I always let cats go outside, and not only do they return but I had times when they brought friends along.
    But I guess there are areas and situation where it’s not safe, lots of hostile wildlife or conditions for instance.

  8. Sounds like their apartment/house is one big security leak.

    I claim owner negligence that they can’t keep tabs on their pets. Where’s an animal control officer when you need one?

  9. Keep your cats indoors, I’m sick of scraping them off of the road.

    None-the-less this is a cool idea though, but better to have a GPS device that transmits a signal of it’s location using the cat’s body as an antenna.

  10. Dang.. This is sophisticated but from the cat’s experience it’s going to make life much less fun, maybe even depressing, depending on the intervals of sound. Cats, in hunting and in play, often rely on their stealth to reap the rewards.

  11. I’m with @Dan. It’s a large blinking sign (literally) that says “come eat me”. The kitty doesn’t have a chance if it’s only means of survival is to run and hide.

    Sometimes the simplest solutions are best. Change your door opening protocol first. Then, confine your cat to safe areas in the home during certain escape prone times.

    Or, you can do what I do- let him/her outside with you close by. I follow my cat after he “escapes” but I don’t chase him. After he figured out it was cool with me, I guess it didn’t seem that much of a thrill.

  12. @whatnot Yeah, I know about that stuff (damn bastards). I’d be a bit retarded if I didn’t, with all the war documentaries that I’m stumbling upon on viasat.
    On a different thought, maybe the collar should go on a more noninvasive approach towards the cat’s security (well being by stealth) and quality of life ( not hearing annoying beeps)

  13. knowing a cat that learned to move silently, even with a bell, (the trick being VERY careful movement) I wonder when this cat will learn to keep the sensor warm :-)

  14. Hi guys, i am the one who made this device.
    It’s not animal cruelty, it’s just a simple way to make the cat visible during the night.
    You have no idea how hard it is to find a cat in the bushes when you cannot see anything outside.
    It’s not a “come eat me” device, Pufu stays outside only a few minutes until found and retrieved.
    This cat doesn’t know what to expect in the wild, was found in the bushes when was about 1 day old. In fact i am not sure she knows she’s a cat, behaves more like a dog :)

  15. You do ALL Relaize this isnt JUST for a Cat… you guys are singleing out the cat aspect. Who gives a rats patooty about the cat I dont.
    The Idea here is HACK meaning technology the cat isnt technonolgy. It can be used or put on a kid, dog, mouse, rat, gerbil, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother… anything else… heck even your own remote control car, or boat, or sub… I mean the point wasent the cat and you are all harping on the cat.

    Again it isnt the cat. Frankly, if the car gets outside, and it is a problem, then watch the cat before you go outside. Make sure you see him before you leave. Now if the cat has a sneaky way of getting out that YOU DONT HOW HE IS GETTING OUT… then this is a good idea(especially if it is GPS and or RFID track them the whole way) And if it gets out of the GeoFenced area(the house itself), then the little beeping goes off… Hello if the cat isnt ALLOWED to go outside at all… this is a wonderful idea. Especially traking down HOW he got out.

    Obviously the cat ISNT ALLOWED to go outside. So all you idiots complaining about the Cat… frankly keep your mouth shut. You dont know why, and you obviously are not asking questions just compling and trolling like you all do.

    Yes I watch the boards(threads), and I see the SAME IDs complaining about 1 thing that has nothing to do with the hack at all and harp on i constantly.
    GROW UP.

    This is a wonderful idea, that can be implemented in alot of ways to keep track of things/people/pets etc.

  16. First, he does not speak Russian. It is Romanian. This is not a Slavic but Romanic language (same as Italian or French).

    Secondly I think that this is not over enginered because one important option is missing.

    Author of this cat control should implement radio control so the light and sound is activated only on radio signal.

  17. @ Jorge

    He is a Romanian and not a Gipsy(also known as RRomani)

    RRomani =|= romanians. Please keep this in mind you ignorant fool.

  18. @All

    How they want to raise their cat is up to them. They don’t want the cat out so be it.

    Keep in mind I DO NOT HUNT but the idea for the collar is not nearly as bad as the collars on the hunting dogs around here. If the dog go out of the range of the owner it starts beeping. If they do not get back in range in 2 minutes it will shock them every 30 seconds.

    The point is someone made a device to find a moving target easier.

    On the other hand the device is still a prototype and too large to be used properly. Hopefully he will be able to get the size down.

  19. As a cat owner for 35 years I am happy that the safety of cats is being dealt with. I guess PETA or other nonsense groups are are part of some of the comments. I have a cat door and do not believe in keeping cats indoors or declawing them. That is humane. Keeping track of them is not.

  20. To restate; I meant keeping track of them is humane but declawing them or forcing them to stay indoors is not. Guess the old mind is slipping.

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