Hackaday Prize Entry: Feral Cats Phone Home with Das Katzetelegraf

Feral cats are a huge problem in some areas. Roaming freely in cities and in rural settings and reproducing with reckless abandon, colonies of feral cats can exhibit nuisance behavior that often results in unpleasant measures being taken to control their population. More humane programs, such as trap-neuter-return (TNR), seek to safely trap cats, give them basic vaccinations and neuter them, and either return them to their colony or, for a lucky few, ready them for adoption. Such programs are proving successful, but are not without issues. Enter Das Katzetelegraf.

You don’t need to understand a lick of German to figure out exactly what Das Katzetelegraf does from its name. Consisting of an Arduino, a GSM module, and a simple magnetic reed switch attached to the door of a humane cat trap, Das Katzetelegraf sends a text message to a TNR program volunteer when a cat has been trapped. Instead of waiting in the trap for the TNR workers to make daily rounds, the cats are quickly retrieved and the trap is reset for the next cycle. This reduces the time the cat spends in the trap, stressed and without access to food or water, and improves the animal’s outcome. As a bonus, each trap’s throughput is increased, so more animals can be cycled through the TNR program.

TNR can really help reduce feral cat populations, and Das Katzetelegraf can make them even more effective. But if you just have a stray cat pooping up your garden, a Raspberry Pi cat-deterring sprinkler might be a better choice.

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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!

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