Have a cat that won't stay off your counters? I do. I finally got fed up with it enough to do something about it: scare the crap out of him with a motion-detecting blender (while recording the results for my own amusement, of course).

Confused at what you're looking at? This is a repeating shot of security camera footage of my cat jumping on the counter - in search of a plant to munch on - and initiating my Blender Defender. Take a look at the following comic (Courtesy of Sarah) to get a better understanding :)


Sorry, but you're going to have to pretend you can hear an extremely loud blender while you watch these clips

The following recordings are the result of the Blender Defender being needed once again in January of 2011.. This time, however, we needed to keep one of the cats off of our bed. Why? Well, lets just say that she liked to go up there and... make... messes...

Instead of using the blender for this, we decided it would be better to use the vacuum cleaner, since it's louder and doesn't have to be close to the cats to get the message accross.

If you want to keep updated on when new videos of my cat are posted, make sure to subscribe to the RSS feed. All new videos that are added to this page will also put in the RSS feed.


If you were to walk in my house, you may see something you dont normally see in a kitchen. On the wall, to the left of my sink is a webcam (network camera). It is plugged into the network jack and screwed into the wall plate cover, supporting itself. It doesnt get it the way, nor do we ever have to think about it. The camera is being monitored for motion by my computer upstairs in our office.

The camera itself is one of the cheapest network cameras out there, the DCS-900. It can be picked up for about $120 or so. There are a couple network cameras that are a little cheaper, but the D-Link one is pretty rugged and makes it easy to get into the raw feeds, something that cant be said for many other cameras.

As you can see from the videos above, the blender and the strobe light are both controlled by an X10 unit. The unit is sent an on or off command from the computer running upstairs by means of an X10 Firecracker. The Firecracker is just a wireless X10 transmitter that plugs into your serial port. I wont get into explaining it much here, but one thing to note is that is happily co-exists with my CM11A unit.

The computer upstairs is running the 'motion' library for linux. As soon as it detects something moving on camera, it starts recording frames. While it is saving frames, it also initiates another Perl script I wrote that sends an X10 command to turn on the blender and strobe, wait 3 seconds, then turn them off. After the script is done detecting motion, it then splices all the JPG frames together using ffmpeg and saves the resulting movie as a SWF file, which you can see above. Finally, after it saves the movie, I have it set up to email me a link to the movie so I can see the results from where ever I'm at (remotely by using my phone).

Is this cruel?

Of course not! To teach a cat not to do something, it has to get the idea that what it is doing is a bad thing. One way to do so is to sternly tell your cat 'NO' when it does something. The cat may learn that it is bad, but more often than not, the cat learns that it's not supposed to it when your around. This is not what you want. The best way to teach the cat not to get on a counter is to take yourself out of the picture. If the cat jumps up on the counter and is greeted with a scare, it will learn that the counter is not a very nice place to be. The cat is never harmed, but it's instincts tell is that this may be something to be feared. Just like a vaccuum. The cat doesn't like it at all, so it stays away.

Some will say that the cat is trying to eat the plant because he needs it for his digestion. In this case, it's just not true. Our cat doesn't simply eat our plants. He sees them as a toy. He plays with the stalks, digs them out, etc. We find leaves in the other rooms half the time. And, yes, he does get grass every once in a while.

Project Cost

The table below shows how much money would normally go into a project like this. This isn't to say that I've spent this much, as I already had everything lying around the place, but if somebody else were to start this project, this may be what they should expect to pay.

Item Notes Price
Strobe Light Bought from Spencer's 20.00
Blender Housewarming present, woot. 50.00
X10 Firecracker Check Ebay and Amazon if you're looking for one 12.00
X10 Appliance Module You wouldnt want a Lamp Module for this. 12.00
Network Camera D-Link DSC-900 120.00



I can't stand it when my cat gets on my counter tops and tables. I've had lots of cats and this one just won't stop jumping up on them. I wish I had your invention to deter him! Good job!
Why don't you put a cat-grass plant on the floor for your cats to chew on? If they're indoor cats it's especially important for their health. Helps them with hairballs.
randy m
Thanks for the ideas, I love my cats,but we have 2 males that have spray-fests , and nothing is sacred,(the stove top, all the outlets ,MY TOASTER,!!!!.try to get rid of THAT fragrance.
Love it. Wish I could buy it as a package.
The people that say it's cruel probably had their own cats declawed... and justified that in someway. Yeah, I cut my friends fingers off, but its alright that he walks all over my food prep spaces with his amputated paws. The amputated paws that have to scratch the gravel over the poops. yeah!
you have to really love an animal to come up with something like this thing. When i talked to people about my cats on the counter the most common response was to shoot them with a water bottle. And they could NOT understand why I hadnt declawed them. maybe maimed feet would have stopped this problem.. People are so stupid sometimes.
This is not cruel! It does not harm the cat and keeps paws fresh from the litter box OFF the countertops where we prepare food. Refusing to train your pet is irresponsible.
I agree with MichaelAtOz in that there should not be a 5 second delay if keeping the cat off the counter is the goal.

Those who think this isn't a very effective method to train a cat don't know cats very well. Those who think it is cruel are either na´ve or not seeing the big picture. A cat that knows not to jump on the counter in the long run is going to be a happier cat than the one that doesn't and eats plants on the counter, throws up the plant it ate, owner gets mad, other cats smell throwup and pee on it, etc., etc. Plus who would want their food preparation area to be walked all over by a cat that may have been fresh from the litter box, hmmm?

Combining the strobe with the blender is genius, btw.
I'm always amazed at the inability of animal "rights" activists to think. If these "poor, scared cats" were living in nature (WHERE THEY CAME FROM) they would be getting startled or scared on a daily basis by predators, loud noised, and who knows what all. The world is a nasty place, especially outside civilization. Folks are simply taking advantage of the cats natural instincts to train them to behave. Flight or fight: it's born in them. WHAT has become of common sense?? Sheeeesh.
hello i dont think i can afford the camera at this time but i have a blender can you tell me more in detail how to set this up?

Thank you
danielle sprice
okay does any one have any common sense anymore way would you want to do anything like that 2 any animel. if you had a right mind you would agree. honestly they are just animels they don't know what their doing is wrong cause they don't know any better. they are like babies with a bit of a exploring mind their not going to know the differance between whats dangrous and whats not.animels are babies that never grow up. so we have to keep them safe. but also let them rome arouder because they have that freedom and they diserve it.
OK, but then how does it make you feel when the cat comes running straight to you for protection?
Brendan Robert
Pretty funny videos. Any form of reinforcement, positive or negative, is going to result with success but only if it is very consistent. Because you've automated it, it is extremely consistent. You might want to introduce some climbing spaces that are equally good places to be so your cat can get its climbing fix -- such as a vertical cat tower, warm window seat, etc. If the cat has places it is allowed to perch and is comfortable on, chances are that it will start to leave your stuff alone a little more.
Ty Tower
No credit for the creativity of this - Good job . I have been fooling with motion myself and trying to get my camera to record. You may have given me some insight into that . Its a bit different to windows approach using Digiwatch so I've not yet got a handle on it . Technically -well done .
I found setting a sheet of newspaper on top of mousetraps very effective at keeping them off counters and the couch. the paper avoids any injury to the pet, yet makes plenty of noise. I am going to implement this as well - great idea!
Very cruel to kitteh! I must go now because someone turned on a blender next to me,
Isn't putting a loaded gun in your face precisely what our law 'enforcement' officers do far too often?

This is more like installing an alarm system that sounds if you try to break in to a business to steal stuff. I haven't heard of any criminal suing a company for the stress they went through as a result of setting off a burglar alarm (but don't look it up, I'm sure some idiot somewhere has tried)....
Joe Mack
I'm not sure it's cruel, but, I'd never do such a thing to my Dog or Cat. I LIVE with the cat/dog hairs on my clothes and don't at all mind if they climb up on the sing. But, that's just me...
The best way to keep cats off the counter is don't let them in!! That being said, we have a cat in the workplace and I hate the hair, the cat prints on the counters and desks, the traces of kitty litter all over where their cat tracks are, and especially the litter box. You walk in the door and the smell hits you in the face. Why would anyone want to clean that??? Their feet are in the litter box kicking the kitty litter over their waste, then they get on the desk or in someones lap. Yuk!! Think of all those germs. It grosses me out!!!!!
Cruel? No, just lazy, and a ham-handed attempt for attention based off of trying to cash in on the fact that funny cat videos are still a form of humor thats in vogue. Congratulations, you've wasted 215 bucks and a bunch of time on something a normal and disciplined pet owner can accomplish without any gimmicks. Hope for the sake of society you don't have kids.
I would remove the 5 second delay, proper conditioning should rely on a very close time correlation of the behaviour and the stimuli. With a delay your may be training for other behaviour such as walking on the counter top or sniffing the plant, rather than the jumping up which is your real issue. Although without the delay you don't get as good videos.
Train Your Cat
hahaha... that's cool... http://www.howtotraincats.net/train-cat-toilet
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Oh, and hi Jean!