StayAway vs. sssCat – a head-to-head comparison of two automatic cat deterrents

We have already told you that, in times when you need to keep your cat off the kitchen counter, or keep a cat out of a certain area, there are no better solutions than automated cat repellents. They not only scare cats away, but do it consistently, without a cat owner’s involvement. This is the key to any training tool.

head-to-head sssCat and StayAwayFor this reason, we are not going to talk about whether these devices are good for training or not – we have already said they are. Today, however, we want to do a head-to-head comparison of two of the most popular devices out there: StayAway, by Contech, and sssCat, by PetSafe.

UPDATE: Unfortunately StayAway has been discontinued and is no longer available on the market.

Basically, both devices look the same. One is gray and the other is black, but the shape, design, and everything else are (almost) the same. Yep, the even patent numbers printed on the devices are the same. They are both owned by the company MultiVet, which has recently merged with Innotek and PetSafe – the manufacturers of sssCat.

StayAway’s “Beep only” mode rocks, but sssCat costs less!

The biggest difference, and, in our opinion, the only reason why you should choose one over the other is the ability to activate a “beep only” mode on the StayAway version. What does it do?

sssCat normally lets off a burst of air when it detects motion. StayAway, however, sounds a short “beep” and then sends a burst of air. Soon, the cat learns that every time he jumps onto a counter, the beep will sound and it will be followed by a burst of air.

Even if you run out of gas*, you can still set StayAway to the “beep only” mode, so the beep will sound when motion is detected, which still makes the cat head in a different direction. Why? Because he knows what’s coming after, and he does not want that!

* – Actually containers do not contain air, but a harmless gas called HFC134a (so easy to remember!).

If you read older forums about these devices, you’ll find out that sssCat once also had a “beep only” mode, but later they started to manufacture ones without it. We’re not sure why, because the beep mode makes a huge difference. It even helps to save you money. Many cats make the association between the beep and the burst of air very quickly and, as soon as the first can is empty, you can set the device on beep only mode. Your cat will head away instantly, just after hearing the beep.

What about the cost? sssCat costs considerably less than StayAway. As of this writing, there is a 45% price difference between them on Amazon.com.

How long do cans last? This is not a very big issue when comparing the devices, because each one lets you use refill cans made by either manufacturer. In fact, they are just standard aerosol canisters. However, in case you use are tempted to use any aerosol other than those recommended by the manufacturers, you, and only you, are responsible for your cat’s health (keep in mind, the spray often hits the cat). You also run the risk of breaking the device. Therefore, we recommend using only refills made by the manufacturers.

Both sssCat and StayAway are not divine devices, and sometimes they may miss a cat running alongside them. Based on our observations, StayAway was more likely to miss than sssCat. However, that just refers to a case when you want to keep a cat from crossing a certain border. If you want to keep a cat off a counter, or away from a closed door, both work every time.

Additional tip: Could you build your own DIY version of a motion activated pet deterrent? Sure, why not? Maybe you could combine one of these with a noisy, but harmless device.

Which is better, sssCat or StayAway?

If you ask us which is better, Stayaway or sssCat, then we would tell you to consider:

  • Functionality:  StayAway wins, because it has a “beep” mode.
  • Quality:  sssCat appears to have a faster reaction time and to be more reliable. In general, however, the devices are very, very similar.
  • Price: At the time of publishing, sssCat has a better price when it comes to both the device and the refill, although you can use refills from either manufacturer in both devices.

Basically, it’s up to you which one to choose. We love the beep mode, so we give our “thumbs up” to StayAway, but for some people, the functionality might be irrelevant. We care about the quality and price ratio, which is considerably better for sssCat, but some may say that it’s not that important. If you need to keep cats away from more than one location, why not buy both and see for yourself?