Pep up your house cat’s boring wintertime life

With winter upon us, and all the windows shut, [Garfield] and [Socks] can get a little restless. But [Dino] is determined to keep his furry friends entertained through the cold dark months. He hit the junk box, and used some interesting fabrication techniques to build the Chase-a-Mouse motorized cat toy.

The toy is popular with the cats because it incorporates two traditionally satisfying features; something to chase, and an obstacle to chase it around. The base of the unit is a long plank which is held up from the floor by a couple of inches. The loop of rope which spans the board’s length has a mouse attached to it with about six inches of string. When the motor is flipped on it bounces and jerks its way around the circuit, darting in and out of the space below the base.

As you can see in the video after the break the motor is a bit loud. [Dino] used the sweeper motor from a Roomba for this. It might freak the kitties out at first, but curiosity will get the better of them eventually. It’s a quick build, and we love the drill-turned-lathe that is used make the wooden pulley for the system.

Comments

  1. jc says:

    haha does he call his cat JFET ? :D

    • N0LKK says:

      Maybe cause the cat is a high impedance sort of cat?

    • N0LKK says:

      Now it needs a cat operable switch. Although with the open pulleys that might not be a good idea, and this is something to be used only with parent supervision. BTW the operable name for the saw used is a back saw. There was/is the larger back saw when combined with device that allows for cutting compound angles called a miter saw

      • CodyG says:

        You’re technically correct that the saw is a back saw, I suspect that he refers to it as a miter saw because they’re SOE with miter boxes sold in building supply & hardware stores.

      • n0lkk says:

        @CodyG While its more complicated than the simple miter box I did mention the machine is used to cut miters, there was a time that combined with the backsaw was called a miter saw. I only mentioned it because if if asking for a miter saw doesn’t get what you want asking for a backsaw should. Kinda like the hail screen hardware cloth thing. When helping someone in another State I ask the supply store clerk or a 1″ king nipple, didn’t get nowhere until I asked for a hose barb. :)

  2. raged says:

    very nice! i’d suggest some wooden posts a little before each pulley (on the inside) to pull the mouse back outside if thrown inside.

  3. yoww says:

    This reminds me of those films of early industry with the exposed drive belts.

    Can we get some video of the cat getting tangled in the pulley?

    • Whatnot says:

      You are right that this obviously is in need of a lot of refinement, and even then requires supervision while operating.
      But it’s sort of interesting to see what he chooses to construct it though and how he puts it together.

  4. 1000100 1000001 1010110 1000101 says:

    Very nice! And yes I love the use of the drill as a lathe…I will start using that in the workshop.

    How about using a break away connection for the string going to the mouse, either a snap connection or magnets, so that the “belt” doesn’t come off the pulleys when the cat catches the mouse?

    • Anonymous says:

      Plastic snaps are a good idea, but the magnet would have to be embedded in the mouse body. If it’s loose there’s a chance the cat could swallow it, and if they ingest more than one they could stick together and perforate the bowels.

      • Daid says:

        Cats are pretty good at getting the insides out of just about any toy. They are like cute fuzzy balls of destruction.

        I’m keeping my magnets far away from my cat.

    • Hirudinea says:

      Dogs will chase a setup like this 450 yards around a track at fill tilt and this cat just lays there and slaps at it, a perfect illustration of the difference between cats and dogs. As for a break away connection, thats easy, Velcro, the best thing to come out of Switzerland since fancy chocolate!

  5. michael says:

    It’s at Hackaweek.com? That sounds about 1/7th as good as this site.

  6. pall.e says:

    I’ll admit I didn’t watch the entire length of the video so I don’t know what his planned improvements are, but you could put the mouse on a ring that if left alone the tension between the ring and string would drag the mouse around but if when the cat grabbed it would slide on the string.

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