Forum home Problem solving

Specifically - ultrasonic cat deterrents (not about all the other stuff)

I can see how a good AUTOMATIC WATER SQUIRTER/SPRINKLER system might work well, but the need for mains water supply makes this a cumbersome solution.

And on a front lawn, covering the cat-friendly flower bed along the house front, the system would be very visible and might easily be stolen, leaving expensive water running all over the lawn.

I had an ULTRASONIC cat deterrent and a careful analysis, helped by a professional ultrasonic sound detection device, showed why it did not work:

Moisture condensed on the inside of the motion detector's plastic "window" and drastically reduced its detection range. I could crawl across, only 10 feet from the device, and it would not trigger the ultrasonic, and I am bigger than a cat.

I also saw an intelligent video on Youtube where the author had auto-videoed the reaction of cats to his ultrasonic cat deterrent, over a week or so. The 1st time, the cat ran away. The 2nd time, the cat walked away, but thought about it first. Gradually, the cat stopped walking away and started to complete its mission. It got used to the ultrasonic sound. It was much too feeble.

In my case, I reported the results of my own analysis to the supplier and asked him to replace my unit with one that worked without the condensation problem. He preferred to give me a refund, which means that a replacement would have failed just like the original unit had failed.

My conclusion is that, for the £25-£50 that a "consumer" so-called "ultrasonic cat deterrent" might cost, I am not going to find an ultrasonic cat deterrent that

1. Has a motion detector that will reliably detect a cat at up to, say, 15 metres, and guaranteed not to get condensation on its "window", which reduces its range drastically.

2.  Produces a real "blast" of ultrasonic sound, so that a cat could not possibly "get used to it".

Has anyone found a real, guaranteed, professional ultrasonic cat deterrent system, please?

Sitting on the front lawn, for hours, day and night, disguised as a bush, holding my wonderful 1-litre capacity "Stream Machine", which projects about a litre of water out to about 10 metres, is not really a viable solution. And anyway, the cat would just dry out and come back the next day.



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,731
    About 1 to 1.5% of cats are congenitally deaf, so those wouldn't be affected at all by such a device.  Ultrasonic devices may well interfere with natural wildlife, too, such as bats and moths (some moths can detect the ultrasonic calls made by bats in order to evade them.)  Young children can often hear ultrasonic devices as can some adults, so making them more powerful would likely be harmful in at least one of those ways.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,064
    edited 19 July
    "Ultrasonic devices may well interfere with natural wildlife"
    @BobTheGardener is there any evidence for this? I haven't seen any research which confirms that. The RSPB says only cats are disturbed. Fox cubs play in my garden unbothered. The sonic range is specific for cats. You can buy other sonic devices with ranges specific for foxes and others for deer. Each animal has a different range.

              "Has anyone found a real, guaranteed, professional ultrasonic cat deterrent   
              system, please?"

    I'm not sure there are many triple concrete and cast iron solutions out there. It might be a matter of trying things out. I have found RSPB sonic devices to be a total game changer for my garden. This works largely because my garden is small enough that two devices can pretty much triangluate the whole garden space.  I have had them for a few years and they have cut cat mess by about 90%. This is esp brilliant over winter. Previous in spring I would go out to encounter mountains of crap in the undistrubed garden. Now there is v little.

    There is recently a new tom that louches about the garden like rambo. I think he is old and deaf and clearly hears nothing at all. But he is the first cat to not notice the devices in several years.

    It takes a while for hearing cats to get used to the devices' discomfort - more than a week. It does take time to train the cats but it's worth it. The signal does not hurt them, only make them uncomfortable, so if there is a toilet area they are dedicated to, or if they use crap for territory marking, it will take time for them to unlearn the habit.  For me it took a few months to get the positioning right of the devices and for the cats to learn that they can avoid the discomfort. I think for the vast majority of customers, this process would work. So you might want instant results, but this is not one of those things - it's not like a water Scarecrow or a burglar alarm. 

    The RSPB do offer a long guarantee period on the sonics, so you can get a refund if don't want to wait for results. As with most things in gardening, it's often about observation and patience and it won't suit everyone.
  • Mike160304Mike160304 Posts: 69
    Fire - thank you for taking the trouble to share your experience of RSPB cat deterrents.
    I would imagine that the RSPB would test things thoroughly before selling them, and the long guarantee period sounds reassuring.
    I shall look at these and seek he advice of the RSPB.
  • Mike160304Mike160304 Posts: 69
    Fire - re-thinking, I am pretty sure that "Catwatch" was the device I had, but I bought it from the manufacturer, I think.
    My son has access to bat detectors (for sound detection and analysis) from his work, and we measured
    1. when the Catwatch was emitting ultrasonic and 
    2. the frequency and volume.
    The Catwatch would detect human movement, but when the "window" of its PIR (?) detector got condensation inside, its range was too short to be of any use.
    So the volume of the ultrasonic was of less interest, because the detector was often failing to "see" the cat.
    You have presumably not been getting condensation inside the "window", as the device seems to be working for you.
    It is also significant that you only have to cover a small garden - the detection range can be shorter.
    (For deaf cats, obviously ultrasonic does not work.)
    It would be nice to have something that would scare a cat more noticeably, and reliably accelerate it over the nearest fence.
    Having one psychopathic dog in the front yard, and a second psychopathic dog in the back yard, would be effective, but would not be not an attractive solution.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 2,855
    edited 21 July
    The device worked for me too, I didn't get condensation but I was lucky enough to have a sheltered spot on a fence to site it where it wouldn't get rain on it. It wasn't 100% effective but the daily turd-count was radically reduced! As you can see from my profile picture, my long term solution was similar to your final suggestion. He rarely goes out there to be honest, but the cats soon learned how quick he can travel down to the end of the garden.... Maybe dog-sit a friend's greyhound from time to time?
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