Six-year-old Cohen Hodge was looking for a way to help fire departments rescue cats from trees when he came up with an invention that earned him fame the Super Duper Cat Saver. The Chango Elementary School first-grader demonstrated his invention on the Thursday, Nov. 16, episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show" with the theme "Kids You Should Know."
Cohen's invention is made with a commercial bug catcher, which is basically a mesh cylinder on a plastic base. Catnip is placed in the mesh container to lure the cat. The device is humane in that it does not use any type of trapping mechanism.
Cohen, who was one of three children featured on the show, appeared modest when asked about his about his five minutes of fame.
"It was fun," he said. "I really liked it when they gave us candy."
Cohen's path to stardom began after he placed as a finalist in the 2006 Capital Region Invention Convention, an invention education program that is held at the Schenectady Museum and Suits-Bueche Planetarium between May and June. Cohen participated with 1,200 other children in the area, and his invention was among 25 winners.
The Super Duper Cat Saver was first displayed at the Chango Elementary young inventor's program last winter. The boy's parents, Lisa and Gabe, submitted a videotape of Cohen and his invention last spring and received a call for Cohen to appear on the nationally broadcast show while the family was on vacation in Florida in early November.
After arriving home, Cohen and his mother went on an all-expense-paid trip to Burbank, Calif., where the show was taped.
"We almost gave up, but we received a call while we were at Disney World three weeks ago," said Lisa Hodge.
Capital District Invention Convention Coordinator Elyse Goldberg said that the Ellen Degeneres Show requested tapes of the young inventors last spring while the invention convention was taking place.
"They request tapes because they know about the program," said Goldberg.
Cohen's parents describe him as a creative boy with a passionate personality.
"He loves to create things artistically and invent games to play with his siblings and parents," Gabe Hodge said. "He also likes things in his environment to be just so."
Cohen introduced his cat, Fletch, but said that the fluffy feline was not his source of inspiration.
"He's an indoor cat," Cohen said.
"I think he came up with the idea when our cat Barkley was alive," said his mother. ""