Cat Meow Activated Relay?

Thread Starter

CalebJames

Joined Dec 16, 2020
1
I’m homeschooling my 13 year old daughter. Trying to come up with a project that will really engage and push her in science. We are trying to see if we can build a circuit board that would activate a low voltage relay that would control a solenoid or similar device when a cat meows. By the way, the problem we are trying to solve is a raccoon that eats the cats food. We put her food away each evening (if we remember). Our outside cat will meow when she wants to eat each morning and then we set out her food. Our challenge is, can we build a device that will open up a small container that would house her food when she meows. I have a basic to intermediate knowledge of electronics so any help you can provide us for this practical learning opportunity would be much appreciated. If it fails thats fine but getting her excited and to learn something new is the aim. Thanks!
 

sghioto

Joined Dec 31, 2017
1,801
This should be interesting. They make or you could construct a sound activated relay circuit but trying to differentiate a cat meow from all the other sounds outdoor would be problematic. Do you think your cat is smart enough to learn to activate a switch?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,224
Welcome to AAC!

Differentiating a meow from other noises could be a challenge.

When I was caring for a neighbor's cat that adopted me, I started feeding her in the garage when raccoons, dogs, and other cats started eating her food. For much of her life she was out during the day and slept in our garage at night unless we were away.
 

LesJones

Joined Jan 8, 2017
2,837
I would think the method used with cat flaps that recognize a special cat collar would be more reliable. I have not looked into the technology used for this but I think it would be worth researching.
Les.
 

Dodgydave

Joined Jun 22, 2012
9,848
Does your cat have a collar, if so you can put a pet magnet on it's collar, like the ones used for cat flaps, and make an housing to detect the magnet.
 

AlbertHall

Joined Jun 4, 2014
10,776
Cats who spend most of their time outdoors unsupervised shouldn't wear collars unless they're the breakaway type as they can get hung up on things.
[off topic] There are two types of cat collar. One has the breakaway connector and they are fine. The other sort have an elastic section, the theory is that if it gets hooked the cat cann reverse out of the collar. Sadly cats don't have a reverse gear, they just go round in circles tightening the noose :eek:
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,515
My elderly neighbor (90+) has a dog that she can never hear barking when he's ready to come in. And she forgets to let him in sometimes until late into the evening. I got a cheap doorbell (battery powered, no wires) and set it into a wooden frame with a wooden paddle that the dog can press to ring the bell. The receiver bell is indoors, and when the dog wants to come in he rings the bell.

Aside from this being a dog and a door - the same thing can be done with cats and a food dispenser. However Coons are pretty darn smart. It won't be long before they discover that pressing a doorbell rewards them with food.

For a while I had two cats that didn't get along. One had a private room only he could access. He wore a magnet pendant that when he got real close to the cat door it would unlock, and he could push his way through and get in. You can probably rig a reed switch to operate a motor that opens the door to some food. When the cat turns away when finished, with the magnet not present, the door would softly close and lock.

Good luck with your project. Just remember, Racoon's can be very smart and figure ways around many obstacles.
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,397
This should be interesting. They make or you could construct a sound activated relay circuit but trying to differentiate a cat meow from all the other sounds outdoor would be problematic. Do you think your cat is smart enough to learn to activate a switch?
Cats can learn to hit a switch, but so can Racoons... ;)
 

RIKRIK

Joined Oct 11, 2019
127
But can racoons fabricate a magnet?
, I would of said maybe some sort of switch, what about the frequency of a cat. Don't have one, but surely there's some frequency you could use.

And yes cat collars are bad, but so is letting it sh*t in my garden , my grandad uses a super soaker to keep them off his allocment plot.
 
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