Can you invent a new useful cat product?

A simple, plastic, mobile device that provides cat caretaking advice in plain, easy to understand English and other languages, for kids and adults, would make a good Christmas present. So, say I. Before I expand on that here are some cat product inventions that have been described as bizarre. However, one or two of these inventions have journeyed from the drawing board to the shelves of stores. These are cat products invented by imaginative people who then patented their invention. Patenting an invention takes time and money. The inventors genuinely believed that their invention required protection.

Two of the patents relate to inventions to prevent cats from preying on birds while a third does the exact opposite: it traps birds so the cat can eat them! That really is a bizarre invention that must have remained on the drawing board.

Laser Pointer

I don’t know if this is the first one of its kind but laser pointer cat exercise toys were very popular at one time and still are as far as I know. The patent was registered on August 22nd 1995 by Kevin T. Amiss and Martin H. Abbott.

It is described by the inventors as:

“A method of inducing aerobic exercise in an unrestrained cat….”

We know how laser pointers work. Here is the patent drawing:

laser pointer cat toy patent drawing

Bird Predation Deterrent Shield

This is an apron that is worn by an indoor/outdoor cat. It look enormous and totally ridiculous but I have seen this discussed on the internet and it might have been manufactured. Although I can’t find it on the internet today.

I would doubt if it was commercially successful. It is too ungainly, possibly dangerous for the cat and in any case birds are minor prey items for cats. They much prefer small mammals such as rodents. The predation of birds by cats is exaggerated by people with an axe to grind. By now, we all know that humankind is by far the biggest bird killer. That said, I respect the views of others.

The device is described by the inventor as:

To provide methods and apparatus for deterring bird predation by a cat which is comfortable for the cat..

Here is the drawing:

Device to stop cats preying on birds

Cat Collar Warning Birds of Presence of Cat

This is a simple yet, at the same time, a rather complicated device. It appears to emit sound that frightens birds away. It emits a “pulse”. The patent does not state what the pulse is. The time between pulses and the volume can be controlled by a fiddly set of switches. It looks dated because it is – registered Sept 1999.

device for scaring off birds to stop cat preying on them

A device that traps birds for the cat to eat!

See below as to how the device is described by its inventor, Leo O. Voelker

device that traps birds to allow cat to feed on them!

It was invented in 1979. The world was a different place then. This odd device, which is so totally out of step with modern life and thinking, must have seemed acceptable at the time. It is a bit of social history, in fact.

Here is the device:

device for catching birds to allow cat to feed on them

It seems that the bird is caught in the feeder and falls into a cage where the cat can grab it, pull the bird through the mesh and consume it. I suppose this device and the ones above reflect the difference in thinking in society over 30 years on bird populations and conservation.

Two devices concerned with cat hair

We know that a lot of people don’t like cat hair that has shed. It is regarded by some people as one of the downsides of caring for a domestic cat. Hence the desire to invent something that solves the problem and is therefore commercially viable.

The first cat hair device is bizarre! The person who invented it, in 2006, Jack Randall Kidwell, probably did not keep a cat because a cat would not use it. A cat would avoid it. It is described by Jack Kidwell as:

A device for automatically collecting loose cat hair, debris and allergens from a pet as the pet enters and leaves the device where the pet is fed thus keeping the pet owner’s house cleaner

It contained three interconnecting compartments. The first compartment contains a vacuum cleaner! The second compartment contains the food. The cat heads for the food and gets vacuumed on the way if all goes well. If not, the cat will just bolt and be terrified of the device from there on.

cat device to remove hair and allergens from the cat

The second device is less aggressive and less mechanical. It grooms the cat as he or she walks through it. It is what I would call a “cat condo combo” ;). It is cat furniture. The cat walks through it and while doing so he is “auto-groomed” as he walks through the apertures that allow entry into the cubes….

cat autogrooming device

It was registered in 1981. It is too fanciful. It couldn’t work. It makes too many assumptions as to the size of cat, shape of the cat and the simple fact that a cat probably won’t use the furniture.

Can I invent a new useful cat product?

I doubt whether I can but I must try having created this page. What is today’s most pressing need in the cat world and cat it be serviced commercially?

The biggest need is an improvement in the knowledge of cat owners about cat behavior and health. In short: education about good cat caretaking.

The internet can educate. However, a lot of people find reading complicated stuff on the internet difficult and off-putting even if they do have access to it. A lot of people are not that well educated. They don’t have good reading and writing skills and a lot of cat owners are these sorts of people. That is not a criticism.

The sort of device I would invent today is a simple portable device of a similar size to a mobile phone or one of the computer game toys that kids use. It would have a search facility and the owner could search for advice on all major aspects of cat caretaking. It would be made of plastic and be cheap. Also a lot children need to be educated about the domestic cat. What a good idea for a Christmas present.

Most importantly, the advice would be written in very basic English so that it would be understandable to all. It could give red alerts signifying the need to take a cat to the vet. It could provide translations into the major languages. The device would be a cat owner’s mobile guide; always to hand and extremely easy to use. It would be a basic device, free of high tech. A lot of people don’t understand high tech machinery and woman particularly are often not that fond of high tech gizmos.

That is my rather feeble suggestion.
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Note: my thanks to DW for giving me the idea for this page.

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Comments

Can you invent a new useful cat product? — 6 Comments

  1. Michael – perhaps you should make a cat education application for smartphones?

    I would take the idea of the autogroom cat tree/condo and just manufacture disposable autogroom strips that can be attached to any cat tree or place that is appropriate for a particular cat’s routine. Actually if it could come in a roll from which you can cut strips or use entire sheets of it. I would for sure put them in their favourite sleeping spots. The thing about it is that it can’t be overly sticky – the cat has to still want to be in that spot. Maybe otherwise just a passing by spot. Either way some kind of cat friendly material that is a bit sticky in a very particular way and perhaps statically charged to attract the cat hairs to it. The more versatile the material the more places it could be installed.

    or:

    The same material could be made as gloves – not bright ones but just non intrusive gloves with which you can give your cat a good rub down for a couple minutes and bring alot of loose hair off in the process.

    ….some kind of material basically that attracts loose cat hairs to it and which can be used in many applications for the removal of cat hair. If only we could better manipulate static electricity because that really can have alot of cat hair attracting power 🙂

    • Michael – perhaps you should make a cat education application for smartphones?

      That is a better idea! 🙂 The way I see it is: short sharp answers in plain English. It would just be about cat caretaking. Like a mini-website but tailored to one subject and written in non-fancy language. There is nothing like that. The nearest are my pages for kids on PoC but they too long for a quick reference guide on a mobile.

      It is a big project though. Too big for me to do while running the site at the same time and trying to live reasonable comfortably as well.

      The modification of the auto-groom condo is an improvement. No doubt.

  2. Yes Michael the biggest need is to educate people about cats. If we could put all your PoC educational articles on a mobile device it would be worth its weight in gold, anyone could type something into the ‘search’ box and the answer would come up.
    Marc we once had a ‘pet glove’ we got for Popsy who was long haired, it was from £ shop I think, it had a sort of plasticy bobbly palm which brought the loose hair off if we stroked her, she loved it. Walt and Jo prefer an ordinary brush and comb.
    The bird trap and cat feeder invention amused me, no wonder it didn’t get patented lol Imagine the outcry from the bird lovers, they’d have a field day.

  3. I would design large tent like enclosures to setup on outside your house for kitty to be able to go out into. It could have tree trunks from large trees, mess that would allow air and rain in from the top and sides. This could double as a safe place for the family to play. Fake trees could be placed so kitty would have a place to scratch and mark.

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