Cats are lovely creatures. They’re soft, cute, sometimes affectionate, and playful. However, they seem to take an evil sort of pleasure in inconveniencing and/or embarrassing their owners. My family used to have a cat named Lily. Lily decided at some point in her life that the downstairs bathroom in my parents’ house was hers, and hers alone. Most of the time, she could be found napping in the windowsill, on the chair next to the heater, or in the cupboards where the towels were kept. Many an unsuspecting houseguest went in to use the facilities only to have the daylights scared out of them when a small orange cat burst out of the cupboard with a yell, and then proceeded to hop into the bathtub and yell even more loudly until the faucet was turned on for her to drink from. And then there were the times Lily felt the need to redecorate. I’ve lost count of the number of times I walked into the bathroom to find it toilet-papered like a high school teacher’s yard on Halloween, with Lily happily crouched by the roll, shredding away. There was nothing to be done; if we tried to keep her out by shutting the door, she would sit outside and scream until she was let back in.
But now Thingiverse user John Lawrence, a Chicago-based engineer, has come up with a cat-thwarting device that is simple yet effective, and takes advantage of a cat’s greatest weakness: the lack of opposable thumbs. His 3D printed Kitten Proof Toilet Paper Guard is a plastic cover that fits over a roll of toilet paper, with a sliding door that can be easily opened by humans, but, thus far, not by cats.
“Our (now 6 month old) kitten Mochi loves to destroy the toilet paper any chance he can get,” says Lawrence. “This is my attempt at out smarting him, and it seems to have worked so far.”
The Kitten Proof Toilet Paper Guard can be printed in four parts, and easily assembled, as Lawrence demonstrates in this video tutorial:
Lawrence says that the device is still a work in progress, and he will likely tweak the design a little bit. He suggests Gorilla Glue to connect the two pieces that make up the housing, and recommends sanding to make the door slide more smoothly.
“It will depend on what resolution you print at,” he adds. “I printed everything at .3 (just to quicken the process) and I had to sand a bit to get the action of the mechanism to be smooth.”
He welcomes feedback from anyone who has ideas on how to improve the device, but it appears to be doing a fine job keeping his kitten out of the toilet paper. I know I’ll be keeping an eye on his Thingiverse page to see if he comes up with any other cat-foiling inventions. Perhaps something to keep them from eating houseplants, or strewing their food all over the kitchen floor? We can only hope.