Rumpleteazer & the SSSCat!! of God

We all know the mischief cats can get into...scratching the furniture... spraying...jumping up on the kitchen counter while you're making dinner...swiping a porkchop off the buffet...hanging off the birdcage...terrorizing the hamster...chowing down on your I need to go on?

These cat behavior problems are part of what makes being an ailurophile such an adventure...but sometimes we all wish that it weren't quite such an adventure!

You've adjusted your lifestyle to eliminate temptations...your plants give a whole new meaning to "upwardly mobile," dinner stays covered and under close guard until the moment your family's forks and knives go into action...but Rumpleteazer is nothing if not creative!

The question is, when you catch Rump in the act, what can you do about it?

Perhaps you've tried clapping your hands suddenly, or exclaiming "Scoot-scoot-scoot" or "NO!" Or maybe you've tried repellent scents, spray bottles, or sticky tape, and found that Rump's determination was even stickier.

What now? Well, it's time to move from being reactive to being proactive. Imagine childproofing your house for a carnivorous, curious youngster who can leap eight vertical feet in a single bound.

First of all, let's look at it from Rump's perspective. What's attracting him to this particular behavior? If the hamster cage or bird cage are in his direct line of sight, say, on an easy-to-reach shelf, he might think you're offering a challenge with a tasty snack as the reward. If  he's jumping up on the kitchen counter while you're making dinner, he may be interested in the food smells or simply curious about what you're doing.

In other words, if you were a cat, what would you think about the situation?

And if there were something you really, really wanted, and your dearly beloved humans got all upset when you tried to reach it, you'd want to avoid the upset by nabbing it when they weren't looking, right?

So the idea is not only to make the temptation more difficult to reach, but actually to make it unpleasant to reach. Enter the "Deus ex machina" - the "god out of a machine." That is, a behavior modification technique that will show Rump immediately that he doesn't want to be in X location, without escalating tensions between you or damaging his trust in you.

How can you set this up? You can find any number of DIY solutions - remember the sticky tape? Other people swear by putting aluminum foil on shelf edges, or balancing booby traps where they'll fall off when Rump leaps up.

But for a simple, automatic, and effective deterrent that works every time, nothing to my mind matches the SSSCat Deterrent Cat Spray by PetSafe (available through Amazon and It's motion-activated, so when Rump crosses its infrared beam, he's startled by a hissing spray of compressed air going off like the voice of God...every time, whether you're there or not. The message quickly gets through: this is an unfriendly, scary place! His visits quickly stop, and peace reigns in your happy household.