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Water bottles explained

After I posted the entry on the water bottles in Burano, I did a bit of searching on the Italian version of Google and found a few discussions where the water bottle approach was discussed and analyzed. Basically it was dismissed by many as an urban legend but those that believed in it gave the following reasons why it worked. Frankly, I find most of them a bit silly but I'm amused by them.

- the cat/dog sees his reflection in the water and is scared-off

- the cat/dog finds the place "occupied" and goes away to find another spot

- the cat flees when he "senses" the humidity in the bottle

- the dog is startled when he sees his urine rolling down the bottle and runs away

- the cat/dog is inhibited by the sight of the water in the bottle

and the funniest and most bizarre of all:

- the cat/dog feels a light electric shock when he sprays the bottle which will send him running away

A possible explanation for the origin of this practice is given here ( in Italian ). It tells of an old Scottish practice of placing half-buried uncapped glass bottles in the crop fields. It seems that the whistling sound made by the wind blowing over the mouth of the bottle scared off foxes and other predators.

Snopes also posted an article on a variation of the use of the water bottle as a cat/dog deterrent. Here's the piece.

So there you have it, the mystery of the water bottles explained. Urban legend or not it makes for an interesting topic.

Comments (4)

Hmmm. Those are some interesting theories, for sure! The whistling sound make sense but none of these bottles in Venice are uncapped, are they?

I still say that it must work at least some of the time because why would they keep doing it if it didn't?!?

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, this is so interesting and I agree kind of humorous. If only dogs and cats could talk, we would truly be able to find the answer to this mystery! Meanwhile, I think my guess would be # 1! :)

Thanks for this interesting and also entertaining post Maria! Have a great weekend!

Those are some pretty funny explanations. But as Annie commented, it must work if they keep doing it.


I particularly like the whistling bottle in the fields theory (although I don't supose that would apply quite so well in the Veneto!)

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