Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Has anyone tried the cat stove (sometimes called "super cat")? It is the simplest alcohol stove really. Just some holes cut in a cat food can and the top is left open. I thought I might try that on my next trip, but I thought I mighty ask here about it. I have used all sorts of stoves. Time to cook isn't a big issue for me. I'm usually not in a hurry at dinner time. I wouldn't use it in winter of course where I might have to melt snow for water.
I’ve used one of the original cat stoves for about ten years. It is simple and easy to make, a plus. It works best on wide based pots since it is a side burner. It can stick to the pot bottom if you take the pot off while it is burning. In my mind that can be a fire hazard.
I made one, but I have never taken it backpacking. I also think it can be a fire hazard. It is a very light, open can of fuel. It can be a bit of a challenge to get it centered under the pot and in the wilderness can be a bit tippy where its not sitting on a flat surface. I think it would be better if you pair it with a Caldera Cone type arrangement... though something with batting like a Zelph Starlyte would be the best.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
There are 2 different common versions of stoves made from cat food cans, the original, and the Super Cat. I've made a Super Cat and used it camping a few times (can't remember if any of those trips were backpacking). I have not tried the original. I pretty much agree with everything others have said about it being hard to center/balance, sometimes sticking to the pot when you lift it, being a fire hazard, etc. I would add that it's very prone to wind, so I think the suggestion to pair it with a caldera style cone is probably a good one. It could definitely work if you're aware of the quirks and dangers and are willing to fiddle with it, but in the end, I settled on a light weight canister stove. It's heavier, at least for the short trips I do, but it's worth it for me personally.
Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.