How to track the cat in my flat?

Hey there, i'm new to this and thanks to my brother who bought me a starter-kit i am hooked to arduino :)

so, since i have a mentally ill cat (that's also deaf and bad sightened - adopted it after he was getting hit by a car) that is behaving awkwardly (but in the fun way), i wanted to see how often he is going through the whole flat in one day.

i have 5 possible rooms he could walk in. i need two receivers or transmitter per room (for two possible coordinates, oh, he can't jump either) for tracing him theoretically.

do you have any ideas what would be the best (and not tooo expensive) solution? my idea would be one receiver (arduino) on the cat-collar and transmitter in each room. but what signal could be good to use? rf? but therefore i would need a transmitter (10 frequencies?) that would lose the signal pretty fast (largest room: 5m long, smallest room: 1m wide), or do i? another idea could be two arduinos in each room with a receiver and one collar with a transmitter. but the same problem with the signal strength. my highly scientific researches brought to rfid, to be accurate, uhf-rfid. but do these have enough accuracy (wiki said that these ranges from 3-6m)? could i use oscillators too? do you have any suggestions?

so many questions... any help is appreciated. thank you in advance and have a nice evening!

Well - first you need to take the tire off the rim...

/couldn't resist :D

Have you taken it to a veterinarian?

well, that was not that kind of help i wanted, but thanks :) yes i was, my flatmate worked at one and the cat is somewhat well. just damaged from the accident. he is crazy for rubs and goes to the vet periodicly (or however it is called) he seems pretty satisfied with his live here :)

What you want is called "indoor localization" and accurate measurements are not presently possible for hobbyists. With some effort and expense you could probably tell what room the cat is in, but there are no ready made solutions that I know of. There are a few commercial solutions, but they are expensive and not all that accurate. Google will tell you more.

Could you simply emulate a home security system and put a PIR sensor (or two) in each room? It wouldn't give you accurate positioning, but it would let you tell if the cat had been in every room during the day.

Maybe a IR led on a collar. Make it flash a code once every minute, sleep in the interim. Place IR detectors in the rooms.

Aww, poor kitty! Give him a good life - lots of pettins.

See if PIR motion sensors work - that's clearly the path of least resistance, and it has the bonus of not requiring the disabled kitty to drag around a transmitter (you don't want to, in your efforts to measure his movement, end up curtailing it). Light-beam tripwires might work, but you need them to be able to detect a cat-sized object, while many of them tend to not detect such smaller things as well, because of light bouncing around the object. Lasers would solve the focus problem, but if they were visible, they'd fail the test of not changing behavior ;-P

(and - "We cannot find the cat/we don't know where he's at/Let's ask this walking hat")

Twin laser beam sensors on each doorway.

Lasers are cheap! (But 20 mA each - require a "plug pack" to power circuitry)

Note - cats love chasing laser spots - may become "stuck" in doorway!

PIR sensors poor at detecting furred animals.

I think you could have just an ATtiny on the cat with an ultrasonic pinger that just pings periodically. Three recievers attached to a static atTiny could then triangulate the cats position within the room.

This second device would then be repeated in other rooms. All the recieving stations could be linked to one central arduino which, in turn, would be used to monitor the cats position. You could either log it to SD card or perhaps just have it attached to a computer through the usb, that would do the logging.

KenF: I think you could have just an ATtiny on the cat with an ultrasonic pinger that just pings periodically. Three receivers attached to a static atTiny could then triangulate the cats position within the room.

I see a potential problem with the directionality of the ultrasonic senders and receivers. You might be locating whatever the ping bounced from rather than the source.

Having said that, I thought the OP was not concerned so much about where the cat is in the room, as in which room it is.

I had a VHS player (back in the day) which had a button you could press that would cause the remote control to beep for when you couldn't find the remote.

Something similar may be suitable for your cat.

I would use human audible beeps as cats may be able to hear ultrasound and it may irritate your pet. If the noise is infrequent enough not to irritate you it probably won't irritate the cat. A beep every minute or so may be enough. And maybe the facility to get it to beep loudly if you actually need to find the cat.

You could have a microphone in each room that could detect the beeps from the collar and let your system recored where the cat is.

Or what about very LOW TECH - a bell on the cat's collar? Available at all pet stores.

...R

Robin2: I had a VHS player (back in the day) which had a button you could press that would cause the remote control to beep for when you couldn't find the remote.

Why is this not standard?!?!

I would use human audible beeps as cats may be able to hear ultrasound and it may irritate your pet. If the noise is infrequent enough not to irritate you it probably won't irritate the cat. A beep every minute or so may be enough.

ThinkGeek sells a little device that beeps randomly every 15 minutes or so. It's used to drive coworkers crazy. Plant it under a desk drawer, shelf, wherever you can't easily find it, and watch them go nuts!

Having a periodic beep in my home would lead me to climb a clock tower with a rifle.... just saying.

Marmotjr:
ThinkGeek sells a little device that beeps randomly every 15 minutes or so. It’s used to drive coworkers crazy. Plant it under a desk drawer, shelf, wherever you can’t easily find it, and watch them go nuts!

A local man around these parts was being driven mad by a beeping that was occurring about once every 20 minutes. After enlisting the help of many tradesmen he finally became convinced that someone had hidden a fire alarm within the walls of his home. He then went about cutting into every wall in the house trying to find the mysterious source of the beeping.

Then one day, while going to a drawer in a dressing table in his bedroom he found a fire alarm that was put away some years previously. Apparently the periodic beeping is a warning that the battery is running low.

All in all it cost him over 20,000 Pounds sterling to repair his demolishion work. I gather that he didn’t replace that battery either:)