Let’s Debug It: Keyboards and Endothermic Mammals
Saturday, January 24th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

First, recognize that in any disagreement with a Cat, the Cat will Win.

The main character of my book, Josie, was named after my oldest cat. My tiny little girl going on 13 who still jumps, plays, zips around and insists on her treats at EXACTLY 7:30 each night. But she’s gotten older, perhaps stiffer, and as such, she’s sought out the warmest areas in the house to snooze.

And then she discovered my laptop computer.

How do you stop a clever cat from using your laptop as a Really Nice and Warm Bed? While also preventing the sending of salacious emails to your co-workers?

The obvious collecting of known facts

Josie loves the sun, and has spent a good part of her life following the sun patterns around the house to keep her body temperature at a balmy 1000 degrees. As she gets older, her external thermal demands have accelerated exponentially.

In the beginning, she’d taken to putting her paws on edge of my laptop keyboard, under which some exothermic element gently warms the edge to a nice and toasty goodness (actually, the sucker gets hot to the touch). Then microseconds after I slip away from the keyboard (usually for intake or ejection of caffeine-carrying liquids), she magically appears laying across the entire keyboard. Always left to right.

In this position, she wrote an email addressed to “b[=]b’;[bn8 http://www.fda.gov/cder/ogd/ ;ki;/ml98p6 yh8;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; [[[[[ ]0-hb”

(www.fda.gov??? Drugs for Human Mind Control???)

I’ve also found disconcerting confirmation boxes from Windows: “Do you really want to delete <insert name of really important document here>?”

Lisa: 0 Cat:1

My laptop keyboard is admittedly a tropical cat paradise that doesn’t require the need to get up (sigh) find a new patch of sun (sigh) and then re-assume a position of maximal horizontal surface area (optimized with an aspect ratio of 1.8). Traditional heat acquisition methods are so crude, demanding excessive effort on the part of the Princess of Fur.

Therefore, Keyboard has been deemed acceptable to Cat.

While this is all well and good (to her), I’ve already replaced the laptop keyboard once due to Excessive Buildup of Hair and Dander. Select keys (not surprisingly ‘Q’ ‘~’ ‘CTRL’ and ‘F1′) could no longer be fully depressed.

Lisa: 0 Cat:2

So after replacing the keyboard, I shut the lid to keep her off.

Lisa: 1 Cat:2

Cats are not idiots. I awoke one morning to find Josie ON TOP of the closed laptop. Facing away from me. In perfect meatloaf position. Purring.

Lisa: 1 Cat:3

Now, as a last resort, when not in use, I must position the lid of my laptop at a precise angle of 45 degrees. Not too open, not too closed. Pisses her off.

Lisa: 2 Cat:3

But, having a cat remain pissed off at you is never a good thing (oh, where is that litter box again? sorry about the mess. nice new couch you have there.) So, I put a heating pad on the table next to the computer so she can continue to be my ever-present “editor” without my need to type around her paws. (Displace paw, type word, displace paw again, type next word. (That annoyed her. My thoughts remain to be irrelevant.)) And even though she is a svelte 7 pounds, I’m afraid to leave the heating pad on all the time. (Will cause burns! Do not sit on! Do not leave on!)

Lisa: 2 Cat:4 Home Safety: Not Acceptable

So, I slogged through the piles of heated pet items on the internet (Clearly, marketing makes us, in Yoga speak, Soon parted are a fool and his money).

Available are “Heated Kitty Pad”, “Outside (Feral Cat) Heated Kitty Pad” “Heated Kitty Bed”, “Microwaveable Kitty Pad”, “Heated Kitty Cabin”, “Heated Kitty Hut” (the difference between ‘cabin’ and ‘hut’ being partial and full overhead coverage).

Also available are the “Heated Kitty Lounger”, “Heated Kitty Crinkle Sack”, and the “Heated Kitty Crinkly Tunnel.” Further, to appeal to the aesthetics of cats who reject any product not suiting their exacting needs, these items are available in Mocha, Sage, and Faux Lambskin & Suede.

Really. I swear on my mother’s litter box.

I believe we humans have available a significantly smaller number of heating pad options: standard, and large size heating pads. In one universal color.

But as a member of the ’submissive seeking approval and acceptance from our felines’ club, I found the perfect product…looks a lot like my heating pad and it can be left on all the time. The clincher was the tagline:

“Cats stick to them like glue! Affordable and portable.”

Lisa: 2 Cat:5 Home Safety: Acceptable

It will arrive here on Monday. In Sage.


The Editor in Repose

After the Heated Kitty Pad arrived, it was immediately occupied, as you can see below. My keyboard, at last, tail and paw free.

Lisa: 3 Cat:5

Post Script: I’ve since acquired a second Heated Kitty Pad for Feline #2. Everything was fine for a while. Then Josie was back to sitting on the keyboard, so I was back to positioning the laptop screen at 45 degrees.

Lisa: 4 Cat:6

But cats never lose, given time to ponder.

Yesterday I found her on the keyboard, wedged within the triangular area formed by the keyboard and 45 degree tilted top.

Lisa: 4 Cat:7


Now I must ALSO place a large sticky-pad cube on the keyboard, under the 45 degree angled lid to roadblock her out. Finally. Fingers crossed, perhaps I appear to have won.

Lisa: 5 Cat:7

Clearly, only for now.

≈ ♦ ≈

See the comprehensive list of All the “Let’s Debug It” Mysteries

Let’s Debug It: A Rabid War between Technology and Nature (Jet Skis vs Mangroves)

Let’s Debug It: My Internet Security Software HATES me, TOLERATES me, REVILES me. Evil BitDefender

Let’s Debug It: Alaskan Scuba Stuff and iPods Don’t Exercise

Let’s Debug It: A Cat’s Plea to Microsoft - “Can You Hear Me Now?”

Let’s Debug It: “No Ma’am (Idiot), You’re Calling from Line 2″

Let’s Debug It: Keyboards and Endothermic Mammals

Let’s Debug It: Hacksaws are Your Friend

Let’s Debug It: My Computer Plays “I’m Ignoring You Now”