Monday, February 9th, 2009
Babyproof Pet Food Dishes
How do you keep pet food dishes away from a baby?
My first child, Little Miss, didn’t give a damn about our dishes, kitchen cabinets, climbable furniture and other problematic issues. Perfect kid.
Our second child, 10-month-old The Hulk Little Brother, is a giggling menace. I googled for a solution and hit upon two pet-owner themes:
Option A. Place the food bowls in a gated area, usually the kitchen or where litter boxes are located. Cats jump over the fence; dogs are manually given entrance.
Option B. Let your pets starve to death.
How is it that the Babyproofing Industrial Complex has not sought a solution to this problem? Imagine the fear it could strike in new parents by reminding them that a crawling baby could drown to death in a mere inch of water in Fluffy’s water bowl.
My preferred solution is to invent electronic feeding bowls mounted to a shared base, with automated self-sealing lids.
Step 1: Fluffy wears a wireless beacon on her collar.
Step 2: When Fluffy approaches the bowls, Fluffy’s presence is identified and the lids slide open for pet access. When Fluffy leaves, the lids slide closed again.
Step 3: Little Brother wears a wireless beacon on his collar.
Step 4: When Little Brother crawls or walks near the bowls, if the lids are open with a pet eating, they slide closed for safety. A recording of an angry cat or barking dog (user-selectable) plays to scare the pet away from the dish, thus ensuring whiskers don’t get caught in the closure.
Step 5: If Little Brother attempts to push or pick up the bowls, he discovers a 30lb weighted base that quashes any such attempt.
Step 5 Alternate: A sensor detects bowl movement, causing a mild electric charge to gently caress the surface of the bowl, thus dissuading Little Brother from further shenanigans.
Such a device would solve our other problem. We have two cats, one obese and one skinny. We could prevent Cat A from eating all of Cat B’s food if the dishes only opened for the appropriate cat. Oh well.
In lieu of a marvelous invention, we are handling the baby the same way we handle ants — the cat dishes have been placed out-of-reach on our dinner table. The cats figure it out pretty quick. Oh, and I’m not baiting the baby with ant poison.
What has been your solution?