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RV Gadget Review: The CatStrap prevents catalytic converter thefts

If you haven’t heard, catalytic converter thefts are on the rise. While lots of people are asking “Why don’t ‘they’ do something about this?” the answer isn’t all that simple. But a reader clued us in to a gadget called the CatStrap™. It might prevent your vehicle’s catalytic converter from being stolen.

The CatStrap

The CatStrap is an intriguing device that is one of those simple solutions to a complex problem that may turn out to be a great solution. 

Essentially, this device is a series of high-strength metal cables encapsulated in a braided metal wrapper with a bright label on it. The whole “strip” is designed to be a deterrent for catalytic converter thefts. It makes it more difficult to actually saw off the catalytic converter. But it is also a visual deterrent by virtue of the bright label. 

Why steal catalytic converters?

It’s easy to steal a catalytic converter on many vehicles and even more so on motorhomes as well as large pickups and SUVs. Essentially, thieves simply slip under the vehicle with a skilsaw and cut the exhaust pipe on either side of the device. Then off they go with a haul of high-value materials to a place that will pay them for the metals or even the complete device itself. 

There are also pipe cutters out there that enable someone to cut the exhaust pipe in a moment’s time and do so almost silently. It’s a tool an exhaust pipe shop would use but something that makes it really handy for catalytic converter thieves, as well. 

Larger vehicles like the kind we drive generally offer more space underneath for a thief to do their dirty deed. The larger catalytic converters required in big engines also have more of the high-value metals in them. 

How it works

The CatStrap simply uses a high-temperature adhesive to stick to the pipe and the catalytic converter. Then you also secure it in several places to add further to it remaining in place. 

The idea is that the high-strength cables inside the mesh outer wrapper will dramatically slow down the thief trying to cut the pipe. Further, the bright label could act as a deterrent and the thief might move on seeing this. 

My own questions 

This is one of those really brilliant inventions that are delightfully simple and seems to offer a solution to a problem without creating a problem itself. 

The only thing I would want to be sure of is that the converter itself doesn’t lose any cooling functionality. The catalytic converter tends to run very, very hot as part of the chemical process that makes it actually work. 

But, honestly, I would have zero hesitation about putting one of these on my own pickup truck and telling everybody about it who would listen. Just the visual deterrent alone could be sufficient to get someone to move on, as most of these devices are just hanging there like the apple that tempted Adam. 

As we’ve written before on this website, many catalytic converter thefts happen because removing them is just so very easy. Further, access to them is also pretty great, especially on larger vehicles with high ground clearance. By installing the CatStrap you may have the only large vehicle on the block that has anything more than what a thief expects to find. That might be enough of a deterrent to cause a thief to move on. 

There’s more

In addition to the simple CatStrap, the company also offers a device called the CatEye. That is an alarm that works by looking for motion under the vehicle. This is a motion sensor that you attach to your vehicle battery that uses a sensor to watch for someone under the vehicle. 

If it detects the right type of motion (it is adjustable), then it sounds a loud alarm—hopefully deterring someone from remaining under the vehicle. 

Of course, the alarm offers a further deterrent but does have to be armed and hooked to the vehicle battery. Yes, additional deterrents are good. But I would think that the CatStrap alone is a pretty good deterrent and a very simple solution. 

The price of the CatStrap ranges from $129.99 to $199.99, depending on the model chosen. Honestly, I see a lot of goofy ideas that people pitch me to share with you, but I think this might be a winner. No, I haven’t seen it in person. But the idea is a sound one and I am going to get one of these myself. 

“They” should do something

In fact, there is attention by government officials to the shocking number of catalytic converter thefts. In this article in Oregon’s Portland Tribune, they outline some new legislation aimed at reducing these costly thefts.

There is also legislation that helps reduce a thief’s ability to sell the catalytic converter, as well. But this is assuming that the thief is selling it to a legitimate business like a junkyard or other material handling organization that obeys the law. The Washington House of Representatives recently passed legislation to stem the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts across Washington state. HB 1815 requires a scrap metal business engaging in a transaction involving a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle to record documentation indicating that it came from a vehicle registered in the seller’s name.

Unfortunately, it’s an easy crime to commit and the rewards to the thief are pretty good considering the relative risk. Perhaps the best way not to be a victim is to take action yourself, especially if you own a vehicle that’s easy to crawl under like an SUV, pickup or motorhome.  

Learn more on the CatStrap website.

##RVT1041

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DW/ND
6 months ago

The Fargo, ND or Moorhead, Mn police dept. arrested a guy a day or two ago who claims he stole 180 cat. Conv. in Minnesota! They tracked snowmobile tracks to find him. (One off the streets!) (Valley News Live – Channel 11 – vnl.com).

Melinda Schoenwald
6 months ago

After having ours stolen twice (once from rv storage lot, another at campground in las vegas) I’m interested in deterrents. Also agree laws need to be more stringent. Scrap metal dealers are not required to have same compliance as pawn shop dealers and should be. Some states are waking up and working on this issue.

Gary Stone
7 months ago

Where can I buy just the warning sticker?

BILLY Bob Thronton
6 months ago
Reply to  Gary Stone

Drop by your local scrap yard and ask if you can remove a couple from the ones they took in.

Donald N Wright
7 months ago

The “Cateye” alarm, I would be so popular with the other folks in the campground, and the two dozen dogs when the Raccoon goes under my TV.

John Brooks
7 months ago

This wouldn’t slow down anyone. All you have to do is cut the clamps and then the pipe. Extra 10 seconds at best. ID cat with phone number is about as good. ASE master mechanic.

Scooter
7 months ago

Bought 4 of these and have installed 2. Had to remove one (shop needed to work on exhaust) and I will reinstall tomorrow when it warms up. My thoughts…. These do not make it impossible to steal the cat just make it a giant pain in the….. hopefully the thief will move on. It will be hard to remove and make a hell of a lot of noise with a saw. The seller gives you a handfull of metal zip ties but I found these are easily defeated with tin snips or any type of cut off wheel. They do make it easier to install by holding the strap in place while you add bigger clamp. As seen in the picture, add multiple clamps. The more you add the more secure it will be. The clamps are also only secure until someone shows up with the proper tools, time, and patience to remove them. You could tack weld the nuts in place or add loctite. Worth the money, I think so. I just wish our local govt would do their job, take this seriously, hold thieves accountable, so I wouldn’t have to get this.

Chris
5 months ago
Reply to  Scooter

I believe the metal straps are only to hold in place until it heats up and glues itself to the piping.

Bob p
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris

How many thieves are going to have a light to see the warning sticker, this is the same kind of logic politicians use to try to make gun control laws. Criminals don’t obey laws! Politicians somehow believe making it illegal to steal and sell cat converters will deter the thefts. A scrap yard that buys these doesn’t care what the law says, they’re tearing these apart and destroying the shell and selling the contents to some other person who doesn’t care either. This goes back to the no common sense of the politicians. Run a 220V wire to your vehicle and the common to the ground, the thief will still be shaking when the cops come. Just don’t forget to turn it off before you touch it. Lol

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

Watching that video – the guy on the right is using the saw properly, shoving the stop up against the pipe. The guy on the left is NOT using the saw properly, and that is why he is so unsuccessful in his attempted cutting.

Roy Voeller
7 months ago

After reading this I did a YouTube search for this item. After viewing some different aspects of it I can say that I am not a big fan. A little bit of a fan? Sure. Anything is better than nothing but, for the price that is being asked I can’t bring myself to feel comfortable that I am getting what I am paying for. Too many “what ifs” come to mind. Also, this came out as near as I can determine, about 7 years ago. Cordless tools and their capabilities have come a long way since then. The concept is good but the overall end result is…?

Charley B
7 months ago

The problem could have been stopped YEARS AGO if lawmakers got their heads out of their rear ends. Those things should have been required to have large VIN numbers stamped into them from the factory IN ADDITION to severe penalties or loss of business licenses to ANY recycler (who are nothing more than fencing organizations to copper and cat thieves) if they accepted a cat converter from anyone other than a licensed repair shop.
It was simple fix.
Just like stopping drunk driving. EASY. First offense-You loose your car/ 1 year in jail. But politicians drive drunk, so THAT will never happen!

Scooter
7 months ago
Reply to  Charley B

This ^

John_Brown
7 months ago

Well, this is better then nothing for those that are not skilled enough to make something of their own. They say “hardened” steel, I would like to know how “hardened” the cables are.

More then 14 years ago, I build cages for A/Cs out of bed frames (spring steel) because it was and still is impervious to most sawzall blades. I built cages to install over the window A/C units, cages were lagged down to the studs on the inside of the house.

From the videos I have seen and the spark show, most of the “pro” thieves use both a sawzall and cut off wheeled tool. They have the tool guy that does the cutting, the floor jack guy, and the driver.

Most probably do start from the bottom of the pipe, so, that is a bonus only for saws . I just want to know how this handles being hit by a cut off wheel. If the first thing a thief does is hit the underside of the pipe (SOP) w/cut off wheel, then insert the saw when 2″ deep already, does this stop them?

BILLY Bob Thronton
6 months ago
Reply to  John_Brown

Yeah, whats in bed frame steel anyway. That stuff is incredibly hard.

Michael Butts
7 months ago

My storage lot requires anti-theft devices on all gas-powered RVs now. The day after my new cat was installed, I put a CatStrap on. It hasn’t been stolen yet (it’s been almost 3 days since I put it on)!

The newer straps are bright orange the entire 8′ length, no sticker on the strap anymore. The theory is that the thief will move on to something easier than cutting through the time-consuming strap and then running off with 8+ feet of exhaust.

I wasted weeks of time talking to the sheriff’s department, the storage lot (over a dozen were taken in one night), the insurance company, and then searching for the VERY rare shop that will do exhaust work on a motorhome.

Until the law gets changed, these thefts will continue to happen. I’m just trying to convince the lowlifes to take someone else’s that’s less protected.

Bob
7 months ago

I have ordered this a few weeks ago, have not received it yet but if it makes a thief think it may be easier to move on to another vehicle it will be worth it. Remember they are lazy. Plus as for taking a 3 or 4 foot piece of tailpipe with them is not what they want to do.

Rich
7 months ago

my buddy informed me just yesterday (2/25) that the entire exhaust system was stolen from his girlfriend’s car while it was parked in the lot at her office.

hillye1
7 months ago

will take less than 2 min with an angle grinder

BILLY Bob Thronton
6 months ago
Reply to  hillye1

Just think of the spark show!

M.J.
7 months ago

Why wouldn’t they just cut the pipe a little further away to avoid the device?

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  M.J.

Shh.. dont want to give the thiefs any idea. LOL

Rich
7 months ago
Reply to  M.J.

my buddy informed me just yesterday (2/25) that the entire exhaust system was stolen from his girlfriend’s car while it was parked in the lot at her office.

BILLY Bob Thronton
6 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Makes sense to me. Worth more selling an entire exhaust sytem, right!

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago
Reply to  M.J.

Yup, my thoughts exactly.

Joe
7 months ago

A thief could Cut the exhaust piping further away from the cat and take more pipe with them. With the heat the cat puts out I doubt the sticker would still be there after driving 20 miles.

Jim Langley
7 months ago

You didn’t have to clearly explain how to steal a catalytic converter even explaining what tools to get, did you?

Rik
7 months ago

I’d like to see an independent test. Was the guy that was cutting through the CatStrap really trying all that hard? Only he knows.
Here’s a video showing how to install it. It also shows the hardened steel pins that are covered up by the CatStrap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfm-UnwYuJI

JCoop
7 months ago
Reply to  Rik

I seen the same thing about the guy cutting the cat strap wasn’t trying to cut that pipe… {bleeped} I’d give the other guy a run cut for cut. Lol

Joe v
7 months ago

Perhaps something more akin to a taser would be better.

David V
7 months ago
Reply to  Joe v

Just wire up the exhaust to the battery.

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  David V

The battery is alrady grounded.

Zane D.
7 months ago

If you’re under there with a saw, why not just cut one clamp and get the cat strap out of the way?

Gary G
7 months ago
Reply to  Zane D.

It is also installed with high temp adhesive.

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