Thursday 2 December 2021

Clever tin foil hack helps keep cats away from Christmas trees

Yeah, this is a classic example and a useful one of how to use tin foil to deter the family cat without scaring him/her. You want some sort of control at Christmas and this provides it. Cats hate tin foil. I have seen is used successfully on kitchen counters. Cats immediately jump off when they land on foil. 

Clever tin foil hack helps keep cats away from Christmas trees
Clever tin foil hack helps keep cats away from Christmas trees. Screenshot.

The problem with tin foil on kitchen counters is (1) you can't use that part of the counter and (2) it's inhumane because it frightens cats.

But putting tin foil around a Christmas tree deters the cat in a friendly way. They hate the stuff but as you can see in the video they place one paw on I and back off.

This cat's response might not be entirely typical but I would expect it to be pretty commonplace. A cat might run onto it which may scare them. 

Reason why tin foil deters cats

Why is tin foil such a hostile product/object to the domestic cat? The answer is that it makes a strange crinkling noise when walked on. That is the source of its effectiveness.  All animals including the human-animal become agitated and anxious when they hear sounds of a certain high frequency and which are repeated. Alarms make these sounds to get our attention. It is a natural response. Tin foil makes this sort of sound when walked on or compressed by hand or fiddled with.

Also, I feel sure that their is a connection with the sound of snakes that rattle their tails. I believe the noise is similar to the sound by a range of species of snake which shake their tails as a warning to keep a distance, including: rat snakes, gopher snakes, corn snakes, kingsnakes, pit vipers, copperheads, cottonmouths, bushmasters, terciopelo snakes, and cantil snakes.

Snakes of the Viperidae family (vipers) rattle their tails and they are sympatric with the North African wildcat i.e. they live in the same area. My guess is that the domestic's inherited memory interprets the sound of tin foil as a viper. Far fetched? 

The video shows us the rattlesnake sound. This species of snake is not distributed in the same area as the wildcat but the video's purpose is to compare the sound with the sound of tin foil. The rattlesnake is a viper.

The domestic cat ancestor, the North African wildcat meets some of these snake species and will avoid them. I believe that the domestic cat has inherited this fear of tail rattling snakes and avoids the sound of rattling tin foil when walked or jumped on.

Most animals consider snakes dangerous. That's why cats hiss like snakes when defending themselves. And it is why they curl up to look like snakes when sleeping (for tabby cats only but all domestic cats were tabbies at one time).

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