Pi-Powered Anti-Cat Trap Soaks Felines and Other Animals

[Joshua] has a problem with cats. They like pooping in his garden. He decided to take action with this awesome automated and humane cat trap.

Now just to clarify, he did attempt a few other alternatives before going all out in cat defense – the easiest solution would be to get a cat of his own, but alas, he’s not a cat person.

The system uses a Raspberry Pi in a waterproofed housing with a PiCam. He’s written some rudimentary code to make use of the PiCam Python Library which also allows him to record pre-cat-trapping footage, much for our enjoyment. When motion is sensed, the Pi trips a 24VAC solenoid water valve, which turns on the sprinkler and quickly soaks the intruder.

Stick around after the break for quite a few videos catching the furry little buggers in the act!

As for the cat lover’s out there… we’ve also covered a dog version of this which uses an Arduino instead!

[Thanks Doug!]

48 thoughts on “Pi-Powered Anti-Cat Trap Soaks Felines and Other Animals

  1. I’d like to see something more… directional. There’s a lot of spray, for one cat, and most of it misses the target.
    For generic garden watering systems, splitting your garden into multiple “zones” is a good idea anyway. So there’s a genuine need for multiple activated sprinkler heads.

    1. I agree. I’d go for three streams that track the cat all the way out of the target zone. Get him completely soaked. Maybe a little dye in there, too. (After all, shouldn’t the cat’s owners share in the joy?) Then again, there’d be only one entertaining video per customer.

    2. How does it detect if it’s a cat and not say an otherwise harmless animal?

      Or a drunk person looking for a place to pee? Water spray works well there too. Combine this with directionality? Too far? They are pissing on the guys property.

        1. Proximity to a bar? High population area? The only local alley around? Less affluent community? These were not all recorded in a single night.

  2. What an unnecessarily complicated way to keep a crappy garden a little less crap free. There are many passive methods to keep cats out, some of which will even make your garden less ugly.

        1. Really? A fence? My cats routinely hop to the top of the 6 foot concrete block wall surrounding my backyard. Maybe a 10 foot high electrified fence may stand a chance, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

          1. Enter those cats in the kitty Olympics! My cat waits for me to open a baby gate for him. He can hop it, but he’d rather not.

  3. Although there are other ways to deter cats, the beauty of this is that it waters the grass at the same time! Just make sure that outlet by the sprinkler is GFCI protected.

  4. A simple and good hack.

    I need some more discriminate targeting though. I would not like to soak my children or my own cat. Nor the neighbours if they came on a visit. Or myself if I passed by and forgot about the whole thing becouse I was thinking on a MAGLEV based mini Death Star.

    An adaption of this system would be perfect. Just needs some more oomph on the water delivery system: http://pyvideo.org/video/674/militarizing-your-backyard-with-python-computer

  5. To make it even more effective, he should mix the water with some citronella oil, which would not only repel the cat but also drive mosquitos and other insects away as well. Two for one repellant action!

    1. Actually, plain water is probably best. Cats readily develop phobias and are easy to scare off. However, they have delicate kidneys compared to humans and could be poisoned licking off substances such as citronella.

      1. They sell stuff you can throw in your flowerbed that repels cats. They sell it at gardensupplies places and some petstores.

        But it won’t help with the blind cathater’s issues though. but they sell drugs for that particular thing at the pharmacy.

    1. Many places prohibit weaponized booby traps. Though this would be satisfying, he’d have to wait up for the cats as the difference in a cat getting sprayed vs. shot and a trespassing neighborhood child getting sprayed vs. shot are significantly different

  6. very nice.
    I have the same problem with cats. The more passive solutions just don’t work. I’ve spent so much on animal repellents, and yet the joy of working the garden and getting cat poop all over your hands, shoes, knees, etc. and the smell. My very nice garden turned into cat toilet.

    and yes, there is at least one cat lady in the neighborhood.
    and no, I am not willing to off the cats, I just want them away.

  7. One of the better solutions is to use costume hair dye (bright green or purple is good) – the negligent owners then have to bathe their little darlings (though the dye won’t hurt the animals) and are usually reluctant to let them wander as far.

    1. You don’t really get a choice where your cat goes, it’s either ‘in’ or ‘out’. If you have an enclosed garden with high fences and a small cat that can’t jump that high perhaps you could keep one in the garden, but they’d probably find a way out.

  8. Wouldn’t a dog be the traditional anti-cat animal, not another cat? Sure, you’d have dog-poop in your garden, but not cat poop.

  9. Random question but would flames from a fire trigger this if so this has some wide reaching applications in fire prone areas.

    I would also like to keep cats out of my yard but would not like to scare off the plentiful native wild life if this was more accurate and discriminating it would be a nice asset.

    1. I don’t know what sort of image processing he is using, so I can’t answer your question, but I can point you in this direction which discusses those applications.

  10. I can’t believe you used a pi for this! Could’ve EASILY been done with a 555, a crescent wrench and a pack of gum. SMH.

    Those videos are hilarious.

      1. I think he’s kidding, mocking the people whop seem to bash basically eveyr project for being ‘overcomplicated’.

        1. Well, they are.

          Mains rated PIR modules are a few bucks on eBay, solenoids a little bit more. Wire one to the other and you’re done.

  11. The simplest solution would probably have been putting out a box of nice soft dry sand that would be far more preferable for the cat compared to the wet soil. We all know how picky cats can be. For cleaning simply leave a mesh grid in the bottom of the box that can be lifted up to sieve out and dispose of the poop.

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