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Scare away thieves: Paint your cat!

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We recently shared with readers a news item that police in Saint Paul, Minnesota, had a free clinic to prevent catalytic converter theft. Their answer? Paint your cat! Before our feline support group has a collective heart attack, picture, please, nice policemen sliding under cars and painting – not furry friends – but catalytic converters.

Can you paint your cat?

The idea behind this anti-theft move is that at least reputable auto wreckers and recyclers will shy away from buying a catalytic converter that’s been painted. The brighter the color, the better. But some may wonder, can I paint my own cat?

The answer is yes, you probably can. If you’re agile enough to slide under your rig and manipulate a spray can, you, too, can paint your cat. Unless you own a Toyota Prius, your car itself is probably not as attractive as some vehicles for cat converter thieves. It seems the poor Prius converter has a higher amount of the elements that make cat converters so valuable. More value, more likelihood of some creeping cretin getting under your car and ripping it off.

However, pickup trucks are far more prone that many cars to have their cat converters kleptoed. Why? Because they sit up higher above the ground; hence, they’re easier to slide under without the need of a jack. Jake the Jerk slips under your Jeep and jacks your cat with a cordless saw. Motorhomes, because they’re typically even higher off the ground – and have a larger cat converter – have become real targets.

The secret’s in the recipe

How do you paint your cat? The secret’s in the recipe. The paint recipe, that is. Not just any old can of “tagger’s treat” is going to do the job. Cat converters get hot – really hot! Easily above 1,200 degrees, and sometimes pushing 2,000 degrees. So you need paint designed for really hot surfaces. Like exhaust system components. We found scads of suitably high-temperature paint, but the color selection generally ran in “primer gray” to black. Not too distinctive.

Here’s a “withstands 2000 degree” paint in bright red (and a couple of other bright colors) from Amazon. Order a can, and slip under your rig. We highly recommend wearing eye protection – a full face shield is ideal. Disposable gloves will help keep your hands pristine. And be sure to know which way the wind blows – it’s best to let the breeze blow the paint away from you – not onto you. In this case, we’re looking for “paint holidays.” Paint your cat with stripes running the length of the pricey-device. If it’s large enough, our crafty hearts might even suggest putting the word “STOLEN” on your converter.

And another trick might help, too

Got yourself an engraving tool? You could etch your rig’s VIN (vehicle identification number) onto the painted surface. Hopefully it won’t be needed to identify your part – just being there may be enough to discourage a wannabe thief from cutting it loose in the first place.

Save your converter. Paint your cat!

Related

The scary truth about thousands of catalytic converter thefts

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Dennis
5 months ago

Didn’t know that Honda made the Prius. thought it was Toyota. At least my Prius was made by Toyota.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis

Fixed. Sorry ’bout that. Thanks, Dennis. 🙂 –Diane at RVtravel.com

Bob
5 months ago

I really don’t think that painting the cat will help. Most scrap yards don’t care what color it is. Engraving may help, but then again, how many scrap yards actually look that closely at them.
Plus the thieves know what scrap yards accept them, no questions asked.

Bob P
5 months ago

Some how I don’t think a thief is going to pay attention to what color it is since he’ll be in the dark working by feel with a wrench or a tubing cutter as a saw makes considerable noise cutting through steel. The whole idea is QUIET!

Tom M
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

A tubing cutter or wrench take too long. I’ve seen camera video where the perp is under for less than a minute.

John L
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Night and quiet doesn’t matter to these thieves. A few weeks ago, someone tried to steal the cat from my old pickup behind my garage. They cut through the back and about half way through the front pipe when something scared them away. It was about 11am and I was home but that didn’t stop them. The cops caught the guy, but since he didn’t succeed in stealing my cat, they didn’t have any concrete evidence to be able to arrest him. At least it was only about a $10 pipe section and about 10 minutes of welding to fix it… for now.

Roger Christianson
5 months ago

Me thinks it is a Toyota Prius!

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
5 months ago

Thank you, Roger. It’s been fixed. (I read your comment this morning but it didn’t sink in until the comment from Dennis arrived a little while ago about the same mistake.) Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane at RVtravel.com

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