Saturday, September 10, 2011

Keeping the cats out of the dog's space

The barn cats are causing hate and discontent on a regular basis.  They keep crossing the border from the 'cats' space to the 'dogs' space, aka the Kill Zone.  ACK!  I have almost gone nuts having to check for cats and the peacock, then get them out of the back yard before I open the door for the dogs to race out.

The area is fenced with T posts and 5' tall 2x4 welded wire fencing.  But there are two places that Bill put wood posts and a kennel panel on heavy hinges.  Then we can walk through the door of the panel, or open the panel completely to drive the pickup into the yard or drive the big riding mower through.  Cats don't do well climbing wire fencing, but hey, the big round wood posts are pretty easy for them to scale.

I feed the cats out under the pole barn, not on the porch.  I also have temporary steps that are getting fairly wobbly.  Having two to four cats under my feet as I'm trying to navigate the steps was (and still is!) risky business.

The fenced area runs completely around the shop, so if I don't see the peacock out front, I have to check all around the shop before I let the dogs out.  This was getting old.  I had to do something.

So, we bought one of these gadgets.  It's called the Scarecrow.  It's a motion activate sprinkler system that shoots a 3 second burst of water from the impulse sprinkler on the top.
Contech Electronics CRO101 Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler

The cheapest place I found to buy this thing was at Amazon.

$42 and free shipping, not bad for some peace of mind.  The scarecrow uses one 9 volt battery, so you can set it wherever you need it without having to run an extension cord.  The area where we wanted to place it used to be a rock drive, so it was hard to chisel out a hole for it. We eventually put ours in a 5 gallon pail with some brick scrap and rocks to hold it upright.  Now we can easily move it for mowing, too.

It worked really well!  Bill could look out the window while he was sitting at his desk and see cats and dogs getting sprayed with the water.  He kept chuckling every time something got it.  Cats took off as the water sprayed through the fencing. They didn't even try to come over into the yard.  Dogs got to the point where they hit the brakes before they got to the fence.  It was great.  Life was good.

I was really laughing when Bill came in the house with water dripping from his face.  He was really laughing at the big wet spot on the back of my t-shirt when I forgot about it.  Our daughter and grandson were really laughing when both Bill and I got it in the face at the same time.  It's not too pricey for the entertainment factor.

Now then, fast forward three weeks. 

Cats are amazingly smart sometimes.  I watched one of them slooowly climb the pole and come down as slooowly as she could.  Then she slooooooowly took one step at a time towards the porch.  She did that until she got two steps past the Scarecrow, looked over her shoulder at it, then trotted to the back porch.

The dogs decided that getting a spray or two of water was okay...even kind of nice on the hot days.  They're primarily house dogs, but they'll lay outside for a few minutes...if they have to.  And they check often to make sure there aren't other critters in their space.

This morning  - I let the dogs out before it's light, so I turn on the porch light to check for cats in the immediate vacinity.  The peacock is still roosting in a tree out front.  Let dogs out.  Let wet dogs back in.  Towel off dogs.  An hour later, feed dogs.  Take cat food out to pole barn with three DRY cats under my feet as far as the fence, then 4 grown cats and 6 kittens under my feet the rest of the way with the peacock wandering around in the middle of the pack.

I did remember to turn off the Scarecrow on the way, so it wasn't all bad.  The plan today is to move the bucket so it's at a slightly different angle and set the sensitivity to high. 

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