As a tech enthusiast, I’m always looking for ways to integrate smart tech into my home. Usually, that means convenience – lights that turn on automatically, monitoring my solar panel production and also snapshots from my security cameras… but sometimes, tech solves problems I didn’t know I had.

Home Assistant

A few weeks back, I started finding…unpleasant surprises…on the canopy of my rear porch. Naturally, I blamed the usual suspects: the neighborhood cats.

Luckily, I already have a fairly robust smart home setup. I’m running Home Assistant, an awesome open-source home automation platform, and Frigate, an open-source NVR (Network Video Recorder) for my security cameras.

One thing to know about Frigate – the detection process is pretty resource-intensive. To make it work smoothly, I’ve got a Coral Edge TPU offloading the inferencing. This setup is powered by an old ACER VERITON L4620G that I repurposed into a Docker server, where Home Assistant, Frigate and a few other services run as containers.

Anyway, because of the poop problem, I installed a new camera aimed at the rear porch and configured Frigate’s object detection to specifically look for cats and people.

Fast forward a few days, and guess what? More mess! But this time, after investigating, it was clear the culprit wasn’t fluffy felines – it was a civet!


Let’s just say our neighborhood mango tree must be pretty attractive to attract this creature. Ugh, I totally blamed the innocent cats!

To rectify the situation and to prevent future mess, I’ve installed a floodlight tied into Home Assistant. Now, when Frigate’s AI detects a cat on the rear porch camera, well the model was not specifically trained on civets but the resemblance is good enough to trigger a floodlight.

HA Trigger

Did I scare it?

But really, a water spray would be the ultimate weapon against unwanted visitors. Can anyone suggest hardware that can be triggered to spray water?