SERDANG, August 1 - Cats are cute, making them pets among people. Yet many people feel uncomfortable or are extremely scared when cats approach them even though these cats are not stray cats.
The uncomfortable situation with the presence of cats exists because of physical annoyance and psychological annoyance.
Physical annoyance is directed to people with allergies, such as asthma, skin allergy, or disease because they are worried that the cats can affect their health.
For others, the psychological or mental annoyance is the main cause. People who are labelled as ailurophobia or gatophobia have extreme anxiety towards cats even when the animals are just passing them.
They have extreme fear towards the animals, and some people will react subconsciously such as screaming without considering others although the cats do not harm them.
Now, through the innovation of ONOCAT, the group of people mentioned earlier can deter stray cats effectively from approaching them when having a meal at the eatery, for example.
A lecturer and researcher from the Industrial Design Department, Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Dr. Siti Mastura Md. Ishak, said the ONOCAT’s product is designed using biodegradable material from natural resources infused with a unique odour to deter cats from approaching the wearers.
She added that the biodegradable material of ONOCAT as repellent is produced through a combination of waste (by-product) from local plants, and she and her co-researchers are now at the final stage of the experiment.
This effort is a new method to improvise waste materials which have received little attention. Its aromatic capability has the potential to be commercialised safely, cheaply, and effectively.
“The biodegradable material can be used three times, and even if it is used for one whole day, it will still emit a scent.
“The ONOCAT wearable has a practical design and easy to be used as accessories by clipping them on the pants, shoes, or bags, depending on the creativity and style of the wearer, “she said.
The ONOCAT’s product is developed together with the student and researcher, Nurlisa Tajul Rosli, and is a slick and fashionable accessory, with its weight lesser than 9gm. It is easy to be used as a personal cat repellent.
Dr. Siti Mastura mentioned that the innovative design and new material can provide benefits to people with cat issues to deter cats away in a certain range of distance.
ONOCAT is designed as a tool to help adults or children who fear cats.
“This design takes into consideration of the traumatic effect on cats which is to deter cats through scent that does not cause psychological or physical disturbance.
“This approach is natural through the stimulation of olfactory sensory system of cats which will give them a temporary traumatic effect,” she said.
She also added that the design concept of ONOCAT is inspired by the olfactory epitthelium nasal tissue of cat as the odour outlet.
Meanwhile, the ‘glow in the dark’ colour is an added value designed to emulate cat eyes that signify alertness concept. – UPM
By Azman Zakaria and Noor Azreen Awang
Date of Input: 15/10/2019 | Updated: 15/10/2019 | nsyahirah
Office of The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation)
Universiti Putra Malaysia
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