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  • Your cat and computer safety

    If you are reading this, you are most likely sitting at a computer with the great possibility that your cat is sitting on your lap or nearby. You may have also experienced the invasion of your cat's presence on the keyboard at inconvenient times or enjoyed his antics while he or she chases the cursor on the screen. Noises from the printer or fax machine and the rattling of the paper as they process print jobs, also hold special appeal to the cats curiosity, not to mention the vast array of wires, cables and attachments hanging behind your desk.

    Columbus naps on a computer monitor. From poking and probing, to strolling and stomping, kitty has found yet another source of fascination. While this is patiently taken in stride by some and is cause for irritation for others, the time comes when the overall situation needs to be addressed as a safety issue both for the preservation of your investment as well as the welfare of your cat.

    With proper precautions and some selective arrangements with your computer and accessories, both you and kitty can share your common interest both safely and effectively.

    The following are some tips and suggestions for creating a compatible co-existence for you, your cat and the computer world that you both wish to enjoy.

    The keyboard: This poor thing is probably the most abused. From the casual stroll to the invasion of cat hair, it seems to still faithfully bid at command. Try to offer it a safe haven on a tray that slides under your desktop when not in use. Always be aware that the unsaved novel that you are working on can easily be kitty edited or totally deleted as he or she takes that casual stroll across the keyboard. Save your work, or close all open applications if you are going to leave the computer for a while. (Bear in mind, too, that a kitty paw can accidentally launch print jobs). Frequently vacuum the keyboard, or use a lamb's wool duster. Alternately, keep it covered with a plastic cover.

    The monitor: Usually bidding a kitty to the warm spot on top for a snooze. They tilt! A lot of them also have vents on the top that needs to be kept free of obstacles and dust to enable proper ventilation. Try to work it into your budget to get a desk, hutch or workstation that will box in your monitor, especially protecting the top.

    The mouse: Kitty usually pays little mind to this particular mouse, but we need to keep it healthy by removing the kitty hair from the ball as it slides around on the mouse pad. It will clog up. Try to get a smooth mouse pad that does not attract cat hair.

    Small peripherals: The tape or external disk back-up systems can easily be knocked off of the desktop. Their journey to the floor may be halted if they are still connected to the computer. Remember that the pins in the connections can easily be damaged if this happens, not to mention the additional danger to the cat with the hanging wires. Place them under shelves or cover them with sturdy letter baskets.

    Printers, scanners and fax machines: Some printers and fax machines still have exposed rollers that feed the paper -- dot matrix printers especially. Once activated, they do not distinguish between paper and kitty's tail. Try to keep them covered with a plastic cover, cutting a slit for the paper output. Scanners that activate automatically when a picture is inserted in a slot also could grab kitty's tail. Avoid these and purchase one with an on/off switch. Letter trays on printers and fax machines are fragile and can easily be damaged if kitty steps or attempts to sit on them. When not in use, retract them, or place books under those trays that extend horizontal with the surface.

    The wires: Oh, so many of them. If your cat is prone to chewing on wires, the trouble is double. This threatens severe burns or electrocution to your pet as well as being a fire hazard. Get a veterinary recommended anti-chew spray. Never bind cords together with wire ties. These can cut through the insulation exposing the wires. Purchase specific ties for this or use the plastic ties that accompany trash bags. Run smaller cords along baseboards securing them with approved clips. Secure larger cords from the outlet to the walls, also with approved clips. Plug all the components in a power strip designed to also provide surge protection for your computer. Place this strip beneath the enclosed monitor stand. For added protection, consider placing a sliding screen along the front and back of this area. This will still allow your easy access to the strip, provide ventilation and prevent your cat from getting to it.

    As you construct this safe haven for you and your kitty, you may find other ways to enhance the safety and protection of your interests. And doesn't it look so neat and organized? Lastly, when you have completed your project, get yourself a soda, order in a pizza for you, get out the Bonkers for your cat, adopt a virtual kitty for your computer, and the both of you sit and reap the benefits of your safe and fun environment.

    By Norma Jordan`
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. David's Avatar
      David -
      I'm reading this while my cat is clawing at my thigh and batting at my head phone wires. I'm thinking she is needing some attention.
    1. Brooks's Avatar
      Brooks -
      My cats love to lay on the keyboard when I am on the computer. They want to help type.
    1. LPC's Avatar
      LPC -
      Ha, ha! This made me think of a very funny video. Remember how some people bang TVs or computers if they don't work? Well, this cat seems to be saying, "Darned printer won't work properly! I will just give it a tap to see if I can fix it....":
      Hope you find it as hilarious as I do!
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      Animals have souls, too! Free support for anyone grieving the passing of a beloved pet
    1. David's Avatar
      David -
      That was a funny video. YouTube is a dangerous place to be in the morning for me..... It is too easy to get sidetracked from a busy productive day, Hahaha I was almost tempted to start watching many of the other cat video suggestions at the side... Thanks for Sharing LPC

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