What is with Cats and Technology? Especially Printers and Laptops!

While our main business, KBM Enterprises, 15 years ago was originally named for the partnerships 3 dogs, my house has come to be ruled by 3 kitties and they are a great "help" in the office. (Kyrie, the only dog any more, has considerable identity issues.) A memory of Tigo, a favorite male grey tuxedo who is sadly no longer with us, still flashes to my mind when I hit the print button. He was quite the hunter and the printer was his arch-nemasis. "Kitties don't touch printers." still jumps to my lips when I hear a printer motor rev as it was standard procedure when Tigo was in the office. Tigo always came running when he heard the printer. But that's too long a story for a blog. Suffice to say I wasn't paying attention, Tigo pounced the printer tray, the tray broke, the broken printer tray with the kitty were on the floor. The indignant Tigo looked at me like, "Who did that?" It still makes me laugh. I digress... As you might guess, cat assistance and cat fur are an ongoing battle in the office.
Cat on Top of Printer

Cat on Top of Printer

Cats are especially attracted to nice warm monitor tops, laptop keyboards, and recessed printer bays. Recently, I saw a very clever solution at Caring for Cats here in Greece, NY for the 'kitty in the open top printer bay' problem illustrated by this picture posted by Cathie Wright, Development Director for the Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. They found just the right sized medical tray to lay upside down across the top of the bay. I unfortunately didn't think to take a picture of it... When was the last time you drove 20 minutes with two caged kitties singing for you?... But it was so simple, I just had to at least tell you about it. The only thing I might recommend as a safety improvement before leaving kitty alone with the tray in place would be to get some of those stick on non-skid feet at the office store. Also, frequently remove the tray and vacuum the bay. In all likelihood, you are probably going to lose some life on your printer. But it's pulling double duty!

I similarly found a compromise for a popular laptop location in my office. My workstation is set up to dock my laptop to my 26" Acer Monitor and a separate keyboard and mouse. So when the laptop is in the office, Kit the Kat, my resident tabby, finds the laptop keyboard a ready and waiting heated kitty bed. (She often works into the wee hours of the morning with me.) This poses 2 problems. First, and I hate when this happens, she occasionally would hit the power button long enough to just, shut her heater off. This produces one annoyed web programmer and one annoyed cold kitty. Not a pretty situation. Second, while properly scenting the keys (see kitty prancing and circling on keyboard) she types horrendous dissertations in the middle of my programs, tabbing (no pun intended) and cursoring all over so, it's not just a matter of undoing, but finding all the "undoings." She has also managed to send her rantings to my customers... I still can't figure that one out.

To solve this, I found a piece of Styrofoam™ that I could cut to form a nice little laptop cover (Caution! The Styrofoam™ needs to rise high enough above the keyboard to allow air flow and the areas where the fans blow out the sides needs to be cut away. There is nothing worse than fried laptop and cold kitty.) See the picture of Ava, a stray that wandered in last fall who found a home with a friend, demonstrating this handy device. When you first install your kitty guard, check how the laptop is weathering it's own heat as well as that contributed by that nice furry helper. If it seems cool enough... newer models should shut down if they don't agree with your assessment, but no guarantees... Then you and your kitty can work without argument. Again, frequent vacuuming and/or blowing with compressed air in the fan vents while the laptop is off is recommended.

Let us know in the comment area if you have a creative 'kitty in the office' solution. Note, it won't appear until we approve the content.

Kit Working Hard on Laptop

Kit Working Hard on Laptop

Ava Demonstrating Keyboard Guard

Ava Demonstrating Keyboard Guard