Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Laptops and Kittens....

Laptops and Kittens....

  • Comments 38
I mentioned the other day that we have four cats currently.  Three of them are 18 month old kittens (ok, at 18 months, they're not kittens anymore, but we still refer to them as "the kittens").

A while ago, one of them (Aphus, we believe) discovered that if they batted at Valorie's laptop, they could remove the keys from the laptop, and the laptop keys made great "chase" toys.  Valorie has taken to locking her laptop up in a tiny computer nook upstairs as a result, but even with that, they somehow made off with her "L" key.  We've not been able to find it even after six months of looking.  To get her computer up and running, we replaced the "L" key with the "windows" key. Fortunately she's a touch typist, and thus never looks at her keyboard - when she does, she freaks out.

Last night, I left a build running on my laptop when I went to bed.  Valorie mentioned that it would probably be a bad idea to do this, since the kittens were on the loose.

Since I couldn't close the laptop without shutting down the build, I hit on what I thought was a great solution.  I put the laptop in two plastic bags, one on each side of the laptop (sorry about the mess on the table :)):

I went to bed confident that I'd outsmarted the kittens.  My laptop would remain safe.

Well, this morning, I got up, and went downstairs (you can see Sharron's breakfast cereal on the table to the top right).  I asked the kids if there had been any problems, and Daniel, with his almost-teenager attitude said "Yeah, the kittens scattered the keys on your laptop all over the kitchen".

I  figured he was just twitting me, until I went to check on the computer...

Oh crud...

There were the keys, sitting in a pile where Sharron had collected them...

I love my cats, I really do...

The good news is that I managed to find all the keys, although I was worried about the F8 key for a while.

  • Replacement keyboards for dell laptops are pretty cheap and are easy to replace. If it's anything like mine it's only 4 screws. You might not need it now, but it might be a good idea to get a spare.
  • Woah.

    Your cats have a real destructive streak. I thought my cat was bad when he would dig at the corners of the room and rip up the carpet. I can safely say they have not discovered this "feature" of my notebook.
  • Out of interest, why would closing the lid stop the build? I frequently leave things running overnight on my Inspiron with the lid closed without a problem.

    Maybe you could scavenge a dead laptop to use as a decoy... *grin*
  • Ben, the laptop's configured to suspend if the shell is closed (since that's the 99% case).

    If it was docked in a docking station that wouldn't happen, but I don't have a docking station for the laptop (and don't really need one either)
  • That is bizaar! Did you tie up the 2 bags before you went to bed? Maybe it's the smell of the plastic that is attracting them to the laptops.
  • Nah, it wasn't the bags - it was the laptop.

    Never underestimate the intellegence of a cat.
  • Oops. I was referring to the plastic casing of the laptop. http://cats.about.com/cs/felineanatomy/a/catsnose_scent.htm
  • How about posting some pics of the little hell spawn demons? :)
  • It seems like the simplest solution would be to declaw them. Or are these cats able to pry out keys without claws? If so, your only hope is to bow to your cats and beg for their favor.
  • But you can change default action when lid is closed - in "Power options->Advanced" tab, at least in XP ... unless it's hardware brand-related issue :)
  • Larry: Ah, right; I reckon in my case I only want it to suspend ~ 75% of the time, if that, so I've got used to changing that setting every so often or just suspending it by hand.
  • If you wake the cats up when they try and sleep during the day they will sleep at night.
  • From the picture, it looks like the keys are close enough together that sharp nails would be required to get them off of the computer.

    Perhaps you should cut their nails?
  • Absolutely! My cat managed to open our bedroom door in the middle of the night, and I'm not talking about pushing it open. She jumped up to almost human-shoulder height and pulled down the lever-shaped doorhandle... she was less than three months old at the time.
    Since then, she has also managed to open a round-handled door (but the handle was much lower, so she could reach it from a chair). When she wants to be in a room, the only way to stop her getting in is to make a barricade.
  • ;) <br> <br>I came to the same question as Ben -- and do it often enough so that I can change what happens when the lid is closed pretty quickly depending on the current need. (probably quicker than finding a plastic bag ;)
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