back to article Cats: Not a fan favourite when the critters are draped around an office packed with tech

Welcome to the last On Call before Christmas, and a reminder that furry friends and technology do not always make good bed, or even floor, fellows. Today's story comes from Andrew, who regular readers might recall from his adventures with Windows and a particularly bity guinea pig. Andrew was an IT engineer with a variety of …

  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Heat detector

    You can always tell when there's a bit of warm (or overheating) kit around here, as you'll usually find the cat sitting on it.

    Now whether the cat causes the overheating or the warmth attracts the cat is one of those chicken and egg questions...

    And mine seems to like to remind me to take regular breaks by coming in and sitting on my keyboard.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Heat detector

      "And mine seems to like to remind me to take regular breaks by coming in and sitting on my keyboard."

      Two of my three use this tactic to remind me when it's time for their midday meal (a.k.a. 3pm).

      Mines the one with the bag of Dreamies in the pocket. (Literally the crack of kitty treats).

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Heat detector

        Dreamies can always relied on to distract mine. Cat heroin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Catnip?

          Works even better on mine - she ends up lying on the floor tripping...

          Reminds me of the time we were travelling to the US to see some friends. My ex suggested taking a bag of catnip for their cats. I said I would use a different customs lane if she wanted to go through carrying a bag containing a green "weed-like" substance...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Catnip?

            On returning from a visit to the in laws, I got stopped at customs where they found a large baggie full of dried sage. My wife had been given it by her mother, and I was completely unaware it was in my suitcase. Lucky to escape a full cavity search that time.

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: Catnip?

              There should have been accompanying bags of parsley, rosemary and thyme ;)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Catnip?

                "There should have been accompanying bags of parsley, rosemary and thyme"

                Only needed if going to Scarborough.

                1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

                  Re: Catnip?

                  "Only needed if going to Scarborough."

                  Faire comment.

            2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

              Re: Catnip?

              In the late 1960s in Berkeley, one of the other students in the dorm I was in went down to Telegraph Ave. and bought a lid of "pot". He then flew home to Los Angeles and got busted. He was then released when it turned out that the cops couldn't tell oregano when they saw it any more than he could...

              1. Sanguma

                Re: Catnip?

                Like the time the FBI went public with a bag of "cocaine" they had confiscated from General Noriega after then-Pres George HW Bush had sent in the marines to invade Panama ... turns out it was cornmeal ... I was expecting to hear that some bright spark in the FBI had tried sniffing it, and had gotten high, but, ah, life doesn't always do what you want it to do.

              2. EVP

                Re: Catnip?

                I grant you my official Most Hilarious Post of the Week badge. Thanks!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Catnip?

            We were looking after friends dog and she (the dog, that is) found an old catnip infused mouse toy under the sofa (we had previously been cat-sitting for another friend) - she went crazy over it. Looked for it on every visit after that.

        2. Portent

          Re: Heat detector

          Mine goes absolutely mad for Webbox Lick-e-Lix. She's almost climbing up me to get to it when I'm opening the packet.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Heat detector

            We had a kitten we called Leper because its teeth and claws were so sharp it made bits drop off you. One morning I was making tea - cup in one hand and kettle in the other with a piece of toast in my mouth. He climbed up my jeans and then proceeded up my bare chest removed the toast and climbed back down before I had time to put the kettle or half filled cup down.

      2. swm Silver badge

        Re: Heat detector

        My music teacher told me that her cat has found a new caper. He crawls into her grand piano and lies down on the strings.

        1. Blofeld's Cat
          Megaphone

          Re: Heat detector

          There's an easy fix for that - play a few bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Heat detector

            Cue Tom & Jerry and Hungarian Rhapsody.

            1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

              Re: Heat detector

              Wondering about Bohemian Rapsody & Freddie's cats...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Heat detector

                "[...] Freddie's cats..."

                Using your over-ear headphones as a litter tray.

                1. gerryg

                  Re: Heat detector

                  Nearly a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers reference but it's Fat Freddie that owns the cat and yes I remember the cartoon.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Heat detector

                    I'm fairly certain that the cat that hangs with the Freak Bro's is owned by nobody ...

                    1. EVP

                      Re: Heat detector

                      The cat probably owns them, in the modern meaning of the verb. A superb comic, I miss it.

              2. jake Silver badge

                Re: Heat detector

                I was under the distinct impression that Freddie wasn't particularly into pussies.

                1. TomG

                  Re: Heat detector

                  That is bad, but funny.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: Heat detector

      One of ours is convinced that the best place to lay down when she wants my attention is on top of my work’s laptop. After she managed to lock my account out by stomping up and down on the keyboard I now use an external keyboard, mouse and screen. The laptop runs with its lid closed, and she’s still happy to sit on it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Heat detector

        So that's the reason for ITER

        They are building the hottest object in the solar system - in order to lure all the cats to southern France.

        the only question is why? what are world's nuclear scientists plotting with an army of millions of moggies?

        1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

          Re: Heat detector

          Once they teach them to use a tin opener our days are numbered

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Heat detector

            "Once they teach them to use a tin opener our days are numbered"

            Dogs are not like cats, who amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw. Men made dogs, they took wolves and gave them human things--unnecessary intelligence, names, a desire to belong, and a twitching inferiority complex. All dogs dream wolf dreams, and know they're dreaming of biting their Maker. Every dog knows, deep in his heart, that he is a Bad Dog...

            - Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

            GNU

    3. Manolo
      FAIL

      Re: Heat detector

      My father used to have a big 'ole CRT that the cat would hop on as he was sat on his desk.

      She would lay there basking in the warmth while my dad did whatever it is he does on the PC (Freecell mostly, it would seem).

      Then came the day he bought a shiny new LCD. Cat hops on desk, hops on LCD and falls off on the other side of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heat detector

        Friendly neighbour cat also liked to sleep on the CRT, he was a bit disappointed when I got a 17" Dell.

      2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        Re: Heat detector

        I had a 21" Viewsonic CRT. We had a cat that liked to lie on top of it with his front claws hooked over the bezel. Since he was lying on the vents, I built a shelf that was on the bezel in front and had standoffs on back. Since that had far less slant to it, the cat didn't have to hold on to stay where he wanted to be, and it was still warm. He would still--occasionally--peer over the front to see what was on the screen.

      3. Chris 239

        Re: Heat detector

        You remind me of something from a while ago.

        My folks are lucky enough to live by a river and have a narrowboat, this was mostly used as a floating shed and study and the side door was open most days. Their cat used to like lying on the bunk in the boat and when getting off the boat used to leap up from the floor over the door sill and onto the bank.

        They eventually got around to going on a boat trip and took the cat with them.... I've still got a picture of the horrified cat trying to stop and reverse direction in mid air like a cartoon cat when it discovered the bank no longer there.

        Turns out cats can swim pretty well if they have to!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Heat detector

      "You can always tell when there's a bit of warm (or overheating) kit around here, as you'll usually find the cat sitting on it."

      The obvious and immediate solution is to make sure there is bigger source of heat, to which any cat will naturally gravitate. Ours will lay down in front of the fire, stretching at least one paw out as close as is bearable. Even to the extant that his tongue is out and he's panting to indicate he's reached the optimum temperature.

      In summer, he'll sleep on the sunny patch where the sun shines through the window. He does get quite grumpy that the patch moves with the Sun and tends to blame me for not stopping the rotation of the Earth such that the sunny patch will stay still.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    What?

    No Catastrophe? No felines tangled in the Cat5 cabling?

    Really, I'll stop now.... stop pushing!

    1. Zarno
      Coat

      Re: What?

      "...I'll stop now meow..."

      Fixed!

    2. John 104

      Re: What?

      it could have been cat-astrophic for the business had he not arrived in time...

      1. Stevie

        Re: What?

        Escaped disaster by a whisker.

    3. Quinch

      Re: What?

      Well, not gonna take it felineing down...

  3. GlenP Silver badge

    Not Just IT...

    Years ago I had a narrowboat with an air-cooled Lister diesel. The previous owner lived on the boat with 3 GSDs, an overheating problem was diagnosed as dog hair clogging the engine cooling fins. We spent a few hours one evening outside a Black Country pub stripping it down by the light of a Tilley Lamp whilst making regular trips to the bar to prevent dehydration.

    1. KBeee Silver badge

      Re: Not Just IT...

      I was stuck in a workshop in Hammersmith for a while, which had a lot of derelict ground out the back that was occupied by a gang of feral cats (dunno what the collective noun is for feral cats. A posse of pussies?).

      One of these cats which the guys had named Suzy, was semi tame and would wander into the workshop for treats and strokes. For some reason this cat took a shine to me despite me ignoring it.

      One morning while sitting reading a newspaper during the morning tea break, I felt this cat jump onto my lap, and lifting my newspaper to look down at it I found Suzy had decided to share her breakfast with me, which was a freshly dead pigeon still bleeding on my trousers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not Just IT...

        > One of these cats which the guys had named Suzy, was semi tame and would wander into the workshop for treats and strokes. For some reason this cat took a shine to me despite me ignoring it.

        Cats don't like being pestered, so they like hanging around with people who don't pester them.

        1. FIA Silver badge

          Re: Not Just IT...

          Cats don't like being pestered, so they like hanging around with people who don't pester them.

          This isn't quite true, as per Section 4, Subsection 2(ii) of the Feli-homo contract:

          "The Large Warm Moron (hereafter LWM), should provide the requisite amount of pesterting as required by her/his Lady/Lordship. Failure to provide sufficient pestering will incure penalties; over pesterting or incorrect pestering will also incur penalties. Occationally, the correct amount of pestering will incure penalties."

          I believe the specific penalties are tied in to your service agreement, but there are some leaflets that can help. Look out for: "Birds, mice and other morning treats", "Euwwwww.... what's that smell?", and my personal favourite "Claws: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!! YOU BASTARD!!!"

      2. jonathan keith
        Coat

        Re: Not Just IT...

        ...this cat took a shine to me despite me ignoring it.

        Because you ignored it. Ignoring another cat is cat for friendly. Looking directly at another cat is aggressive.

        Thanks - it's the one with the lacerations.

        1. Godgifu

          Re: Not Just IT...

          If you want the cat to feel friendly toward you, look at it from time to time and blink slowly. (This may take a while.) If you see a cat looking at you and blinking slowly, it likes you.

          1. CuChulainn Silver badge

            Re: Not Just IT...

            Cat's are definitely telepathic. Or they understand English (or whatever the local language).

            I noticed that all I had to do was THINK about taking them to the vet and they'd disappear. Most of the time they're climbing all over you and pressing ctrl-alt-del, but if the word 'vet' enters your mind, voom! They're gone.

            And trying to get them in the cat box? Don't get me started on that one.

          2. AndyD 8-)₹

            Re: Not Just IT...

            If you see a cat looking at you and blinking slowly, it's because in the parallel universe, where the cat spends at least half of the time, blinking at things makes them vanish...

      3. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Not Just IT...

        That wa a sign that Suzy really liked you, an offer from a cat to share breakfat is an honour indeed.

      4. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Not Just IT...

        The term is clowder, at least in the US. (a clowder of cats)

        /me is probably a crazy cat-dad.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Not Just IT...

          The "proper" term might be clowder, but I call 'em a drapery, per my married-into-the-family Great Aunt, who claims she got the term from her Grandmother. Auntie is 105 years young, so this version probably goes back over 150 years, about the same as Clowder.

      5. Godgifu

        Re: Not Just IT...

        The collective noun for a group of cats, feral or otherwise, is "clowder." Rhymes with "powder."

      6. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Not Just IT...

        One of my dads research assistants had a cat that lined up its kills on her pillow for her approval. One morning she awoke to a dozen dead rodents sharing her bed.

        1. TomG

          Re: Not Just IT...

          If that was my cat it would soon be my former cat. It is amazing how much cats like open doors.

      7. Godgifu

        Re: Not Just IT...

        Someone may already have answered this, but the collective noun for a group of cats is a clowder.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Just IT...

      "with 3 GSDs"

      A friend had two Old English Sheepdogs - a greyhound's body under a haystack of hair. She used her desktop PC by an open window on a dusty country lane. Her chain smoking then provided the glue to bind everything together in the PC's airways.

  4. TonyJ Silver badge

    Dead mouse

    Did once open up a fax machine that had come in for repair that had a dead mouse in it, which was a bit grim. I have no clue as to how it got itself inside the machine - I'd have to assume it managed it late on somewhere on the production line as there simply wasn't the space for even a rodent to squeeze through.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Dead mouse

      Most people are quite surprised at how small a hole a mouse can fit through.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Dead mouse

        There's small though and then there's small :-)

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Dead mouse

          And as for lizards... I once fixed a non-functional Studer tape deck in the Dhaka office; a lizard had found its way between the rotor and the casing of the capstan motor, which was very nice for it until someone used the machine...

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Dead mouse

          Apparently a mouse can fit through a 6-7mm hole (they can basically fold their spines and ribs up). It would have to be a pretty tightly designed fax machine to not have a gap that size anywhere. Being rodents, they can also chew through pretty much anything they can get purchase on, so that 2-3mm vent in a plastic casing can easily be made into a slightly wider vent.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: Dead mouse

            7mm ?

            Wow. That's really small.

            1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Dead mouse

              I think this was on Autumnwatch not so long ago.

              Basically the limiting factor is the size of their skull. Everything else will squish in behind it...

              1. David 132 Silver badge

                Re: Dead mouse

                So, you'd get Pinky in there, but not Brain.

                Narf!

                1. keith_w

                  Re: Dead mouse

                  I always wondered which was a genius and which was insane.

          2. gerryg

            Re: Dead mouse

            I've watched our cat perform a fairly similar trick (pro-rata) to get though a hole in a fence. It was as though she had detached her shoulders.

            In other news I've watched her struggle to get through the cat flap then look at one of us until we open the door, however, when being chased by the local un-neutered Tom, she flies through without touching the sides

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Dead mouse

      I opened up a pc tower unit at home once because the cat had been camped next to it staring for two days.

      As suspected - live mouse in it!

      1. ibmalone

        Re: Dead mouse

        Cats have incredible hearing, and senses generally. They can hear a long way into the ultrasonic, which mice use to communicate. Or possibly it just picked up on the scuttling. They're effectively terminators for small mammals.

        1. Martin
          Happy

          Re: Dead mouse

          They're effectively terminators for small mammals.

          Most of them are, yes.

          When I were a wee lad, we had a toy cupboard which had some interesting noises at the bottom of it. So we brought the cat upstairs, who showed considerable interest in this. We poked around with a broom handle, and soon a mouse scampered out of the cupboard and across the floor. The cat yowled, shot off down the stairs and vanished...

          (I've told this one before here, but it did seem apt)

          There was also the time more recently (different cat) when we (and the cat) heard a noise in the cupboard - and discovered to our dismay that there was a rat in there. The cat looked at the rat, then looked up at me, turned his back and started washing himself. I could clearly hear him saying "You want rid of that? Your problem, mate!"

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Dead mouse

            You obviously had a wimpy cat. One of ours loved ratting. Once left lots on the driveway as a present for us - trail of them leading to the door. Unfortunately for the postman, he discovered them first whilst delivering our mail (back in the days of early post deliveries, it being a weekend and we were still in bed)

            1. Geoffrey W

              Re: Dead mouse

              One of ours was black and liked to sit in dark places where you could see his big eyes staring out balefully. I once found him with a small rabbit in his fangs. He struggled a bit getting it up the gully but managed to offer it to the great can opening serfs who served him. Sadly a coyote got him and so the cycle of life turns. Everything eats something else, and in turn is eaten by something larger. Humans eat everything on the planet and are eaten by space aliens...Or Royals...Probably...

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Dead mouse

                This is something with which vegetarians have yet to come to terms.

                1. tonique

                  Re: Dead mouse

                  Triffids? Supersized sundews? Bladderworts of unusual size? Flytraps the size of Venus? Pitcher plants from hell? Or bunker-sized butterworts?

                  1. Sherrie Ludwig

                    Re: Dead mouse

                    Audrey II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub2bxfLU2Sg

              2. Tom 7 Silver badge

                Re: Dead mouse

                We had a cat that would bring full grown live rabbits through the cat flap and terrorise them in the parquet floored dining room, which was also host to the upright piano. The rabbits used to get behind the piano and kick the shit out of the strings while screaming loudly. We have had guests flee our haunted house as a result. My room was right over the dining room and after the first occurrence I just used to ignore it and try not to tread on the skin with four paws and a pile of guts in the middle that was the only evidence of the night of terror.

                1. Geoffrey W

                  Re: Dead mouse

                  Cats don't always get their wicked way with bugs bunny. A friends children had a rabbit which they would put out to run in the garden, watched closely by the neighbours cat. One day a horrible screeching and squalling was heard which brought everyone outside expecting something terrible. They found the rabbit on the cats back biting the heck out of it. That cat never came in the garden again. Bugs Bunny can be fierce.

                  1. Intractable Potsherd

                    Re: Dead mouse

                    Yep - in a (domestic) cat v rabbit fight, there is no clear way to guess the winner in advance. The power in the back legs is capable of seriously injuring a cat (guess how I know!)

                  2. William Towle

                    Re: Dead mouse

                    > Cats don't always get their wicked way with bugs bunny.

                    Nod. Out first generation "rabbit run" summer hutch was a rectangular affair which local cats would sit on top of until enough of their tails poked through the section with chicken wire walls to get bitten at. None of them came near when we put a portable fence around it and let the rabbit out (although with the rabbit that found it could leap the fence with ease we daren't wander far...)

                    When the time came to make a replacement run we did it with sloping sides and no longer had a spectacle to enjoy :/

                  3. irrelevant

                    Re: Dead mouse

                    "Cats don't always get their wicked way with bugs bunny."

                    I had a rabbit once that used to have his wicked way with the cats... Any that strayed into the back yard where he was allowed to roam free would get jumped on and bonked furiously..

                    This same rabbit managed to jump onto the 4' dividing wall, and from there onto the top of the shed, and stare down at us through the dining room window. (and then hop down and eat the weeds next door..) I had to add a chicken wire height extention to the wall in the end.

                2. tcmonkey

                  Re: Dead mouse

                  Had a similar moggie years back. I don't recall it ever bringing anything back alive, but it had an unfortunate habit of bringing rabbit carcasses home and then breaking up the bones (notably the spine) with its teeth under your bed at 2AM. Truly the stuff of nightmares, plus you had to dodge the organs the following morning.

                  In fairness to the cat, it didn't kill them for fun. Or at least not solely for fun, as the majority of the victim was eaten, and the cat required very little feeding as a result.

                  1. BabyOne

                    Re: Dead mouse

                    The downside to catching and eating outdoor prey is parasites. Veterinarian bills would soon negate the economy of "very little feeding". And consider that some parasites can be transmitted from cat to human

                    (think worms and skin infections).

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Dead mouse

                      We live in the civilized world. Ask your Vet about anti-parasite meds for cats. They are cheap, widely available, and they work. Even the local ferals around here each get an anti-flea/worm/tick treat often enough to not become infested.

                      The only "skin infection" I've ever seen a cat give to a human (other than poison oak) is ringworm, which is fungal (not an actual worm), and hardly life threatening. In that one case, the owner wouldn't have contracted it if she had listened to the Vet's advice and had the cat treated a couple years sooner. (Ringworm is rather difficult to pass from a furred critter to a human.)

                      Other skin conditions are so rare in most places as to be pretty much ignorable ... However, as always, if you see anything odd about your mog's coat, get it to the Vet post-haste.

            2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

              Re: Dead mouse

              The Chartreux cats were bred to be ratters. The usual description one is a potato on toothpicks. They have soft, very thick, gray fur, are very "soft spoken", and extremely friendly.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Dead mouse

                Friends in South Africa had a half-Cape Wildcat - named Thomas. Their putative farm plot had a kopje mound - the usual home of spitting cobras. On visits Thomas would scare up a cobra - then keep a safe distance away as the snake reared up. He then proceeded to walk round it in a circle. The snake continuously twisted its head and body to keep him in sight.

                At the point where the snake had to untwist - Thomas would dart in and seize it behind the head to dispatch it.

                1. CuChulainn Silver badge

                  Re: Dead mouse

                  That reminded me of an episode of My Cat From Hell I saw a couple of years ago.

                  Some woman had this cat that spent most of its time living on the ceiling or tearing doors off. It lunged at people as they walked past the chair it was on, leaving deep wounds. It's side paws were almost as long as my thumb - there was NO WAY it was a regular cat.

                  One time it attacked one of her kids, and she was chasing it under the bed with a spray bottle of water (that was a new one on me) shouting 'bad kitty! Bad kitty!'

                  It weren't no 'kitty', of that I'm sure.

          2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

            Re: Dead mouse

            My parents previous cat was an ex-farm yard rescue. Semi feral, capable of removing skin from your arms and still the waking nightmare to a mate of my dad's after spending a night locked in the front room with said cat (he still refuses to talk about it years later).

            Now that thing brought back wild rats almost as big as itself, got bit hard enough to go clean through his paws and still tried taking on a heron that was emptying a koi carp pond (he then fished out what the heron missed including a fish that was almost 4 figures to replace).

            Now that was a cat. Beholden to no-one and only lived at my parents because it choose to do so.

            1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
              Terminator

              Re: Dead mouse

              Sounds like the cat-before-last that we served. Rescue cat who loved to be stroked up to a point, when he would just turn around and lunge with the claws or teeth. Still have a few semi-healed scars even after the couple of years since he died.

              Was renowned for bringing in all sorts of snacks from the local area - mice, rats, squirrels, bird. Basically everything around except Pokemon (as the kids were fond of saying during their Go-playing phase). Got to the point of when we heard him come in and go directly upstairs of having to go check (after youngest daughter went to bed one night only to find a squirrel corpse in front of her bedroom door).

              And if he brought in a dead mouse and made a dash under the dining table, simplest response was just to let him get on with his dinner...

            2. Godgifu

              Re: Dead mouse

              We had a cat once who caught and ate roof rats. We once found a piece of animal tissue on the kitchen floor which, after cutting it open, we decided was a rat's kidney. (It was the size of my little finger.)

              Another time, the same cat caught a mouse and ate all of it, from tail tip to brain case, and left the little frontal bones of its skull on my son's chest as he slept.

          3. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

            Re: Dead mouse

            I friend of mine had a cat that would--successfully--hunt rattle snakes.

            1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

              Re: Dead mouse

              One of our cats when I was 1st marries was a big black male with large yellow eyes. 34 Ibs of all muscle, no fat, knee high at the shoulders and 27 inches head to rump (excluding tail). He would scare the piss out of people who visited our home who did not know him. Some thought we owned a panther. He and his brother cat worked for their food keeping the considerable rat problem in the neighborhood out of our house. Odd thing was, yes, they would drop them at the back door but never eat them. Now birds, those they would eat. He would climb into my neighbors tree and sit on a branch, 15 ft high and then leap into the air and catch a bird mid-flight and land softly on the ground. All to the horror of my neighbors wife. Very odd cat, we would put him out at night, and were sure the house was securely locked up, wake up in the morning and he'd be sleeping on the kitchen chair. Never figured out how he got back in the house. He disowned us after we got a dog. I saw him sitting on the old lady around the corners porch one day. I guess he adopted her.

        2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

          Re: Dead mouse

          Old joke...

          Ball bearing mouse trap == tomcat.

        3. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
          Devil

          Re: Dead mouse

          We moved house some time ago, and the previous occupant had an aviary at the bottom of the garden. Our cat, Mickey, was fascinated by the aviary, running back and forth across the wire mesh front, so we let him in. Didn't see him for three days, but every morning there was a line of dead mice on the concrete wall of the flowerbed, all lying on their right sides with their noses pointed towards the back door. Eleven the first day, seven the second, and three the third. Mickey then strutted into the kitchen with a smug look on his face, and a bulging belly. He wouldn't tell us how many in total, but it kept him fed for those three days and most of the fourth.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Dead mouse

        "the cat had been camped next to it staring for two days."

        Unless the cat took time off the mouse must have had a store of food in there. It wouldn't have survived anything like that long without feeding.

        1. Is It Me

          Re: Dead mouse

          We once lost one of our cats for about 4 days, turns out it had been exploring a near by house that was being renovated and had gotten himself boarded up under the floor.

          The workmen had to lift a bit of floor and out popped the cat, came straight home and ate and drank it's own body weight.

          They can survive longer than you think

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Dead mouse

            Yes, in extreme cases a healthy cat can occasionally go 10 days or two weeks without food. However, it comes at a cost. Even healthy cats who don't eat for 24 to 36 hours should be considered at risk, and in need of emergency vet care. I won't go into the details of why (look up feline hypoglycemia and hepatic lipidosis if you want to know). If your cat skips meals for a day for no apparent reason, get it into the vet, pronto!

            Cats can go without water for about the same amount of time as you can, about three days. However, again it can come with a cost, specifically kidney damage or failure. As with food, if your cat refuses water for a day or so, it's vet time.

            Note that I am not a vet! This is not a diagnosis! Don't take the word of some random dude in an obscure techie forum on the Internet as gospel when it comes to the medical care of your critter(s)! Instead, ask your vet for verification. Your mog will thank you.

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Dead mouse

      When I first moved in to my house and opened the cupboard that houses my phone connection, I found a very dry and old mouse, now I find half eaten ones left by my cats...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dead mouse

      I went with the 5th grade class on a tour of the local peak power plant near us that was fairly new. During construction one of crates for a large part had a thin but still live cat. They called it turbine and it was still around when we were taking the tour.

      When our guide asked for questions at the end of the tour the cat was all the kids cared about. After a bit the principle got annoyed and told the kids no more questions about the cat.

  5. macjules
    Happy

    Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

    2 pugs, 2 golden retrievers, a very recently rescued Pomeranian (someone had left him on the verge of the A27) and I am not sure if we still have cats* since I put down food for them but they seem to prefer my neighbour's house. Tried one of those robot vacuums but it gave up after ingesting enough dog fur to create a new pug. It also didn't help that one dog would sit on the vacuum and wait for it to drive off. IT-wise I applied the vacuum cleaner to the innards of my only desktop PC and managed to practically double to speed of the computer.

    As a measure of how bad it can be I recently sold my wife's Audi TT which has a very small interior space. It cost £90 to have the interior cleaned by a company that prepares cars for resell, in addition to the normal £100 deep "anti-allergy" clean.

    * Humans never own cats: they just deign to occasionally eat in your home or defecate on it - a bit like 18th century royalty. Once a paw-operated can opener has been invented then you will never see them again.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

      Ah, yes. Robotic vacuums ... Here's an apropos repost.

      Mine were called FRED, short for Fucking Ridiculous Electronic Device. We got four of them for Xmas one year (SWMBO's relatives are in cahoots, it would seem), so we turned one loose on each floor to see what would happen. The cats ignored them, but the dawgs took an instant dislike to them. They all met their demise in under three days.

      The first to go was FRED four (the one supposedly patrolling my attic office space). It was found beeping most piteously in a mud puddle under a rhododendron at the far end of the dawg's run. It never rolled again. FRED three disappeared. We never did find it[0]. FRED two kept mysteriously falling down the uncarpeted back-stairs, until the magic smoke came out. FRED one somehow wound up in the laundry sink while a load of wash was running. None of us actually observed roboticide as it was occurring, so we don't know who the perp(s) is/are ... but my money is on the very elderly Standard Poodle, who had a rather guilty, yet satisfied look about him for a week or so afterwards.

      Needless to say, we didn't repeat the experiment.

      [0] Update: FRED three was found in the crawl-space under the feed barn about a year later. I have no idea how it got there, the only entrance large enough for it to physically fit is the locked trap door in the floor, and I have the only key.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

        Our FRED (actually he likes to be known as Rodney) does a very good job. The mogs are wary when he wanders around, and the terrier had a good half-day of barking at it, but gave up when he was not getting a reaction.

      2. macjules

        Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

        Mine is a Miele Scout. It is still like watching dogs playing a curling match: 1 pug sits on the robot while the other chases it and 2 retrievers run along backwards barking at it and causing it to change course every so often. We keep it simply because the dogs find it entertaining: it is bloody useless otherwise.

      3. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

        I was given Vyleda ( I think) robovac, my two cats tried batting it and biting it with unsatisfactory results so unless it was heading directly for their spot in the sun they ignored it.

        However, it had been infected on the productiin line with an evil gremlin, if I ever entered the room it was in and not looking for it, it would steer straight under my feet.

        I finally exorcised it one day with a large hiking boot, frankly, I prefer a broom or traditional vac.

      4. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

        That is all.

      5. Anon

        Re: I have the only key

        "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." -- A.C. Doyle

        "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." -- Peter Steiner

        Put the two together, and... who's a good boy, Jake? Yes, you’re a good boy! Yes you are!

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

      My cats like to dine out, lots of neighbors with cats and unsecured cat doors. The vet asks what am I feeding one of them, and I reply, "nothing more that the other two."

      1. Anne Hunny Mouse

        Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

        Your neighbours need some of those fancy cat flaps linked to their cats collars.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

          You get ones which link to their RFID chips now too.

        2. Martin
          Unhappy

          Re: Pugs, golden retrievers and IT equipment do not mix

          Several years ago, a friend of mine reckoned he could make one of those electronic fancy cat flap locks. He was right too - the cat was given a widget to wear on his collar, and he was able to come and go through the cat flaps, but other cats in the area couldn't get in.

          All was fine, until one day when the cat was being chased by another one. The cat belted up the garden at top speed, straight towards the cat-flap - which unfortunately didn't respond quickly enough, and stayed locked....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best wire cutters ever

    We have a cat that chop cleanly through 5mm coax with a single bite. And speaker cables, Christmas tree lights...

    She somehow manages not to have a go at anything with mains in it though.

    And yes, warm laptops are a great place to sleep.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best wire cutters ever

      We had a dog that used to lie down under our feet while we sat on the settee, one evening it shot across the room. It'd been chewing on the cord for the reading lamp...

      No harm done (except to cable) and didn't happen again.

      1. Dave K

        Re: Best wire cutters ever

        Our puppy learnt the lesson with electricity a few years back - thankfully in a less shocking manner. One morning after waking up in our bedroom, she found the cable for my wife's hair-dryer hanging down. The plug was switched off (so no danger), however she decided to give the cable a tug and was promptly hit on the back by the hairdryer as it tumbled off the chest of drawers.

        One terrified puppy-howl later and she'd learnt her lesson. She hasn't touched a cable since!

    2. BebopWeBop

      Re: Best wire cutters ever

      Out terrier got a liking for USB cables (never mains). No cure - they are now well out of his way.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Best wire cutters ever

        My shepherd dog once tasked herself with slicing a 20 meter 3-phase extension cord into much more handy 5-10 cm pieces... luckily it wasn't live (I mean the wiring, but the dog pretty much played dead when I found out)

    3. Coastal cutie

      Re: Best wire cutters ever

      I used to work with someone who had a Persian cat with a penchant for chewing cables - only it did that when the Christmas tree lights were plugged in. There was a flash, a bang, all the lights went out and the cat was flung across the room. When the lights were restored, the cat was found in the corner, with all its fur standing on end, making it resemble a static infused furry bowling ball with an equally static infused tail. Remarkably it suffered no serious injuries - but they bought battery operated lights after that.

    4. J27

      Re: Best wire cutters ever

      My cat is always chomping through wires. The little bastard.

  7. A____B

    Not cat related but ... years ago I worked for a manager who was a clear desk fetishist (also cupboards had to be tidy with doors closed, window blinds had to be all up or all don... appearance was all - actually doing the job was secondary). He was really OCD on the subject; his desk was always clear.

    At one meeting he pontificated that "a tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind" -- I just wish I'd had the guts to ask "OK - what does an empty desk signify?"

    I should have done so as I left shortly afterwards (so nothing to lose) and the company no longer exists -- who'd have thought that customers preferred deliveries over obsessive tidiness?

    1. ttlanhil

      I might be inclined to suggest that a busy desk is a working desk...

      1. ABPearce

        A bus stops at a bus station.

        A train stops at a train station.

        On my desk I have a work station ...

        1. Anomalous Cowturd
          Joke

          Re: A bus stops at a bus station.

          > A train stops at a train station.

          > On my desk I have a work station ...

          And work stops at your work station?

          Inquiring minds, and all that.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      In a previous role I worked for an American Corporate. When we were having a visit from some board level US execs there was an instruction that all desks had to be completely clear, nothing on cupboard tops. etc. My office was tidy but inevitably in IT it wasn't spotless.

      The FD walked in, looked around, and said, "It's good to see someone works around here!"

      We got on very well after that except he never forgave me for having a Range Rover (albeit an elderly one) as he'd only been able to afford a Ford Expedition with his bonus.

    3. swm Silver badge

      At Xerox they had a "clean desk protocol" which I ignored. My office had stacks of paper everywhere. When the security gum shoes inspected my office they left a form (which I found a week later) with every box checked including "passed". I guess they were so flustered that they just checked all of the boxes.

      My boss said my office was secure - nobody could find anything there (except me).

      1. jake Silver badge

        A clean desk is the sign of a diseased mind. —Old SillyConValley proverb

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        "My boss said my office was secure - nobody could find anything there (except me)."

        Rumour has it that the office of someone I knew slightly was officially classified as a fire hazard. One of his colleagues told me that when he visited this gentleman the phone rang, and he couldn't find it under his piles of documents.

  8. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    Slugs don't have fur

    Was asked once to look at a relative's fridge, which appeared to have given up the ghost. Investigation turned into stripdown. The thermostat gubbins is s bit if electrickery on a PCB sat underneath the top of the fridge, adorned with pitted trackwork and the remains of a partially copper plated slug*

    New fridge time.

    *No, the garden pest, not Trump, but I like your train of thought.

    1. roytrubshaw
      Headmaster

      Re: Slugs don't have fur

      "The thermostat gubbins is s bit if electrickery "

      ... is a bit of ...

      I think a cat may have been involved.

      But thanks for the copper-plated slug image!

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

        Re: Slugs don't have fur

        Bloody predictive text.

        1. Chris 15
          Coat

          I think you 2 have stumbled onto something there

          Predictive text uses 'fuzzy logic'/ai trained by using the output of cats treating keyboards as seats?

          1. Soruk

            Re: I think you 2 have stumbled onto something there

            There is a reason it is sometimes known as "autocorrupt" - even offered by my phone as soon as I've typed "autoc".

  9. Wolfclaw
    Happy

    What your missing is the % of enjoyment, stress relief and multitude of other benefits having these animals around. Anybody WFH know the benefit of having a pet for company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep...

      - "Forced breaks"

      - Zoom background entertainment

      - Free heating

      - Free "typist"

      - Emptying of trash (not sure on the floor helps though).

      - Poison tasting

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Yep...

        They work for me

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Benefit

      The feline B*stards dig a hole in one place, sh1t in another and then try to cover it up in a third. Usually on my seed beds and not their 'owners' house.

      Anyone who can't keep control of their pet should not be allowed to keep one. That rule works for other animals - why not cats?

      I know a lot of farm animals can be trained more that a cat.

      I put netting over the seed bed once and the cat from over the road got tangled up in it in the middle of the night waking most of the street up. I presented the catawalling tangle of net and cat to the neighbour and asked for a new net in return - at 03:00. The owners were only renting the house and moved rather than let the cat out again, and didn't replace the net!

      Anonymous because there are strange folk who actually like cats ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Benefit

        In my part of the world you're not allowed to let cats out of the house in town, shame Oz didn't implement similar, they may have had some native critters left. I'm with Harry Enfield's "Old gits", go to the charity shop to buy shoes to throw at cats in the garden

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Benefit

          I thought it was standard practice for native critters in Oz to be lethal. Are cats immune to this? (I know cane toads are.)

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Benefit

            "Are cats immune to this?"

            Cats, like Humans, are apex predators. Over time, as they learn the countryside, they win. Sometimes with disastrous results for the locals. Note that this is not the fault of the cat, this is the fault of the humans who introduced them.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Benefit

          "buy shoes to throw at cats in the garden"

          A friend advised me that the technique is to run at the cat shouting loudly. You have to convince them you intend to kill them. Worked on the neighbour's cat who became convinced my garden was an unhealthy place to catch birds. However - when we meet in the street it brushes my ankles in treat soliciting mode.

        3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Benefit

          That is animal cruelty.

          A cat should be able to roam.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

        Yes, there are. People who like the purring of a cat sitting in your lap, especially on a cold winter evening. People who find it fun to see a cat lying in the sun, giving that impression of utter exhaustion only a cat can achieve. Oh, and farmers who like the free pest control around their grain reserves.

        I love cats. I've always had a cat around since I was 5 years old. Not the same cat, obviously, but there always is a cat. I like it when they come for cuddles and push their head against my knuckles to scratch their cheeks, purring all the while like a motor boat.

        I don't mind dogs, but they don't purr.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

          It should also be noted that all of the extroverts in the country have turned to looking after cats in a really big way; there is a national shortage of cats at the moment. A normal moggy (random cat of no particular breeding) kitten usually goes for between "please take it away" to a nominal £50.

          At the moment the going price appears to be 5-10x that.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

            A normal moggy (random cat of no particular breeding) kitten usually goes for between "please take it away" to a nominal £50.

            Where are these traded? It'd be worth rounding up all the bastard cats that keep coming and crapping in our garden and, as per the A/C's post, digging holes elsewhere.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

              I have said to people that like cats - "Come round to our place, keep what ever you can catch!"

          2. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

            One of our 2 barn cats has gone walkies and is being courted by an old lady about 5 miles away who wants to keep it. She was grassed up by someone on FB so we have been trying to contact her to explain a few things to her but she refuses to answer the phone. We would like to warn her that on no circumstances is she to try and pick him up. I'm normally pretty good with animals but this one will rub against your legs a purr like a harley but touch his belly and he'll remove your arm,

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

              I say let her find out for herself!

            2. CuChulainn Silver badge

              Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

              We had one like that. Mitzi, her name was.

              She used to be friendly and docile, but that changed when we got another cat.

              When we took her to the vets, he'd show us how to give her a tablet and she'd swallow the thing. As soon as I tried it, I needed a blood transfusion. And she'd spit the thing out behind the sofa. Same thing when flea-treating her - I had to wear leather gardening gauntlets if I expected to keep most of my blood.

              She'd come and sit next to you, nuzzle you, and she MIGHT let you stroke her. But even if she did, when she decided she'd had enough - which could be anywhere from none to 30 seconds - it was A&E territory again.

              1. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

                Re: there are strange folk who actually like cats

                We had a cat that was good about taking his pills. The alternative was seizures. He was epileptic, which rare in cats. He was why we had a bottle of phenobarbital in the house...

        2. Jens Goerke

          purring dog

          Get a Rottweiler and gently ruffle its chest when it nudges you to be petted - in my case it was a guard dog while I was chatting with its owner.

          Result: a grown Rottweiler purring like a kitten.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: purring dog

            Most greyhounds and whippets have a very distinct purr when they are content. It's usually quiet, and almost always short, roughly about as long as it takes you to say "I'm quite content", but it is a purr nonetheless.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Benefit

        Upvote for the "Anyone who can't keep control of their pet should not be allowed to keep one." I'm a former cat owner (died at 16), and like cats, but seriously folks, don't let your pets wander around.

        Case in point - our neighbors' 4 rather large, aggressive dogs. They did eventually put a section of chain-link fence on their side of the wooden fence that the dogs liked to tear boards off of... before coming in our yard at our little kids...

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Benefit

          First dog like that in my garden (without children around) is a warning, second one or with children around is a dead dog.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Benefit

          "I'm a former cat owner (died at 16)"

          Bloody millennials. Even posting online from the afterlife!!

      4. Marcelo Rodrigues
        Trollface

        Re: Benefit

        "Anonymous because there are strange folk who actually like cats ;-)"

        I like cats! They are excellent owners! :P

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Benefit

          Well, I for one welcome our feline overlords!

          (someone had to say it)

      5. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        Re: Benefit

        In traditional law, animals are divided into two groups, domesticated and "ferae naturae" (wild by nature). Dogs are in the former category and their owners are responsible for any damage they do. Cats (and bees) are in the later category and the owners aren't legally responsible for their actions.

      6. Stevie

        Re: Benefit

        motion-activated sprinkler.

  10. Tw0lf

    Keep the hoover handy

    As one of two Human staff to a large, fuzzy, loud, has to be part of everything, goes everywhere Norwegian forest cat, the hoover is an essential tool. Roughly a half-cat of fur is sucked into the long suffering Dyson each week, it gets worse in March when he sheds the winter coat.

    Also, very high on the priority list for the new gaming PC was a case with very solid dust filtering. The sheer amount of fluff that builds up on the existing PC front mesh, despite it being on the desk, is fairly awesome.

    Can't complain too much - he's an apartment cat, and he's absolutly helped with 9 months of WFH and not seeing family etc, and he's a great copilot when gaming. Less appreciated is the 6am 'Feed me Human' shenanigans...!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Keep the hoover handy

      The indoor cats here are mostly Skogkatts & Maine Coons. They have full access to the outdoors, but are usually found napping indoors, draped elegantly over whatever they can shed on the most ... or trying to con somebody out of food.

      I agree with the above post.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Keep the hoover handy

      and he's a great copilot when gaming

      Mines not. he managed to hit F7, which is "Load last saved game" and cost me much progress!

    3. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Keep the hoover handy

      Less appreciated is the 6am 'Feed me Human' shenanigans...!

      You feed your cat human?

      1. Evil Scot

        Re: Keep the hoover handy

        Obligatory Pratchett Quote:

        In ancient Egypt Cats were worshiped like gods.

        They have not forgotten this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keep the hoover handy

        Just the occasional door-to-door salesman.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keep the hoover handy

        Spammers - the other red meat!

      4. Tw0lf

        Re: Keep the hoover handy

        He'll take that happily if the food bowl is not filled promptly!

    4. Montreal Sean

      Re: Keep the hoover handy

      We have 4 cats, 2 of which are long haired. All our cats are indoor only.

      The long haired cats get shaved 2 or 3 times a year, leaving them with a short mane, "booties" and bottle brush tails. They absolutely love it, they play much more and snuggle much more. They also both purr super loud and stretch out for the groomer.

  11. Martin Howe

    Fond (well, kinda) memories of the six-monthly disassembly of my Gateway laptop to remove the customary 10mm wedge of cat fur from the fan vent. Freddie loved sitting next to the computer, just where all that lovely heat was coming out. And it wasn't even a gaming laptop :) Still it was a good design, MX8716B; made 2007 and still going in 2016!

    Then there was the time I received a frantic phone call from mother 120 miles away; the monitor on her computer was dead. Power light showing, caps lock on computer goes on/off when toggled, etc. Checked VGA cable - cat teeth marks all over it. Siri (short for Syringa Superba, her pedigree name - this was long before iPhones became popular) loved it so much, Mum had to fit hot water pipe cladding around all the exposed mains cables in the house, and the network cable too.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Bitter apple spray usually stops pets chewing inappropriately. Just make sure whatever you are spraying is unplugged, and has a chance to dry before plugging it back in.

    2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
      Gimp

      Just out of curiosity, does Siri react to catnip?

      A friend of mine had Burmese cats, who have a common mutation in the catnip receptor. Only my mate Karen could have a cat that was kinky for rubber.

      1. Martin Howe

        I don't remember, as both cats I mentioned passed away ages ago; however, given Siri was an Asian Self (Lilac) and thus essentially a Burmese, it could explain her weird addiction :) Another one, Felix was part Burmese and part RB and he was a devil for eating anything odd; at my Dad's wake, we had to have the flowers at Mum's house in the conservatory, visible through glass, as Mr 'bloody' Felix would try to eat the petals :)

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Bouncy bastards Bumese. A mate had one and it used to jump onto my shoulder from the floor - well over 5 1/2 feet. And then try and purr my head off!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I once stayed with a colleague for a few weeks while working on a local project. The wife raised Siamese/Burmese cats - who became very vocal in season. They would come up to me and yowl while snuggling into my arm pits. Apparently they would also drag my shirts out of the washing basket.

        The cats' behaviour fascinated the woman - as it had never happened before. It had an interesting effect on her too...

        1. a_builder

          Ah Tonkinese.

          I know exactly what you mean.

          We had three at one stage.

          We used to have a giant CRT TV in a cabinet. Cats loved to sit on it. Replaced the CRT with a flat screen and the boy jumped up over it and fell down the back: it was incredibly funny.

  12. Richard_Sideways

    Furry Overlord

    The kids hamster has duly polished off a £45 laptop charger (which the wife thought she could fix by just mashing the wires back together and wrapping with electrical tape) and went through the broadband line. Pretty much every cable within nibbling range has got teeth marks in it - suspect it's only a matter of time before there's a loud *POP* and a shower of singed hamster fur.

    1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

      Re: Furry Overlord

      Our children's hamster escaped. Not to be found until several days later the fridge went into overdrive and everything inside went irretrievably ice-bound overnight.

      'Hammy' (I know, I know) was found within a ball of fluff in the continuously-running compressor, warm as toast but no longer a danger having chewed through and shorted the thermostat.

      New fridge, new contents, no more hamsters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Furry Overlord

        We had a cat when I was young. She liked to sit on our VCR. Freaked out my friends who came over to watch movies, because she stared back at you.

        My brother had a hamster. Hamster escaped from its cage one day. No dead appliances for us, but the cat did hock up a hamster-sized ball of bone and fur in a few days.

  13. phy445

    No cats but...

    In my unofficial IT "expert" role I was once asked to look at the computer of a friend of the Significant Other – said computer was running very slowly and randomly restarting. I expected it to be full of dodgy DLLs and the like and to have to have a discrete word about browsing habits with the hubby of said friend. Instead it turned out that the computer which was kept on the floor had sucked in so many carpet fibres that the components on the motherboard weren't even visible.

    1. Dave K

      Re: No cats but...

      I've seen this before with PCs in industrial locations. Had a workshop PC where the motherboard was buried under about 5mm of fine, grey dust (thankfully it was an old Pentium II, so didn't produce as much heat as modern systems).

      More recently, I've seen several PCs that sit on the shop-floor near the CNC machines come back at refresh time and are completely caked in a thin layer of oil. No idea what the lease company thinks when we send them back. They're usually in fully working condition and the penalty charge sheet we have from them makes no mention of oil contamination...

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: No cats but...

        Quote

        "More recently, I've seen several PCs that sit on the shop-floor near the CNC machines come back at refresh time and are completely caked in a thin layer of oil. No idea what the lease company thinks when we send them back. They're usually in fully working condition and the penalty charge sheet we have from them makes no mention of oil contamination..."

        You think thats bad..... the doofus that designed the casing for one of the robot controllers helpfully put the heat exchanger on top of the casing.... so that factory air get blown thrown a set of copper pipes and another fan inside the case blows on the other end of the copper pipes.

        So all the oil/crud laden air gets blown through a filter then across the heat pipes.... depositing said oil/crud over everything.

        Then it drains down the copper pipes.... drips off the bottom inside the casing and straight into the main power inverter......

        Blue flashes and pops all round.... and its bloody expensive to replace the electronics in one of those.

        Hence all the rest have bits of bent ally bolted on them to divert the oil drips harmlessly away.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: No cats but...

        "I've seen this before with PCs in industrial locations."

        Add reprographics shops. A client of mine, based in Oldham, had a branch office providing reprographics services in a govt. office in an historic London building. I can't remember now what the floppy drive was used for in the SCO server but it got through a few of them. The last straw was when I got a call from the operator to say the ceiling has just fallen onto his desk. After that the operation got moved to another branch.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: No cats but...

          Throw in old-school Print Shops, especially shops where they will (die)cut paper to order. Paper dust gets into everything, but PCs are concentrators by their very nature.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: No cats but...

            Try a paper mill. Apart from the explosion risk, that dust not only gets everywhere, it also completely fills every available enclosed cavity. I once got called out a factory floor wide carriage dot matrix printer. It looked quite unusual in that it seemed to have some sort of polystyrene block inside, cut specifically to allow the printhead to move side to side, even to the extent that it had printhead shaped edges at each side of the head path. But no, it was just an almost solid lump of paper dust filling the entire printer apart from where the moving parts move to and fro.

          2. Andy A Bronze badge
            Unhappy

            Re: No cats but...

            We had a spell when the fire alarm would go off repeatedly in our mainframe computer room. It automatically rang the fire station. The record was 4 callouts in one day, not counting the times it went off again before the firemen left.

            As a bureau, we printed a LOT. Dust from the hundreds of boxes of fanfold was settling through the cracks in the false floor and onto a smoke sensor.

            We cut holes in the sides of a stationery box and placed it over the sensor. No more false alarms, but the female staff were disappointed to lose their visits from hunky firefighters.

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: No cats but...

              Um, not a fan of covering up the life-saving sensor, as a solution. Even partly. But what to do instead?

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: No cats but...

        I've seen this before with PCs in industrial locations.

        The PDP-8 that I had to fix as it was in need of a new power supply was controlling the electrolysis of salt water to produce chlorine gas. Even with the actual process running in a sealed vessel, there was a definite whiff of chlorine in the air, and it clearly reflected in the state of the enclosure bolts and several connectors. Curiously enough the machine didn't have much of a history of board/backplane contact problems.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: No cats but...

          "Curiously enough the machine didn't have much of a history of board/backplane contact problems."

          Not curious at all. The connectors were made out of nearly pure gold. They didn't have electrical connectivity problems ... but in labs, where we were constantly removing and inserting cards as we worked on them, they often had quite severe wear problems.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: No cats but...

            The gold contacts clearly worked the way they were intended, but I had expected more flakiness from conductive deposits on the boards themselves and component casings degrading. Same with the wirewraps on the backplane, and all that resulting in more than average board swaps. But that wasn't the case, at least not significantly more than a lot of similar machines that didn't have the benefit of having been installed in a nicely conditioned data centre.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: No cats but...

              Those machines were lovingly assembled entirely by hand, back when assemblers had clues, wire-wrap pins had teeth, and solder was solder.They quite literally don't make 'em like that anymore.

              For example, I helped a friend restore an original 1965 PDP8 a couple years ago. Even though she had sat in his garage for over thirty years, there was no real damage other than a little bit of physical wear and tear. We had to replace a couple broken switches (cosmetic damage only), a couple components on various cards (caps, mostly), probably no more than 60 feet of cut/b0rken wire-wrap, make some new wire harness, and the drive mechanisms for both of the tape drives were hosed (I had spares, thankfully). The physical damage, and broken and missing wire, was probably from kids playing with it. We spent around 50 hours total. Today, she runs like she did when new.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No cats but...

        A PC had been supplied to an underground railway company. To reach its location near the tracks you had to have safety training. After a few months it was so filthy that it looked like it had been there for centuries.

        1. Andy A Bronze badge

          Re: No cats but...

          Dealt with many of these. Worst was a print server under a desk in a depot. The actual problem lay in the RJ45 lead, but when I pulled out the unit the first thing I did was to take it to their sink and scrub it, using loads of detergent. Only when I had cleaned my hands too could I diagnose the actual fault.

          One place I worked used a lot of Hydrofluoric Acid in one area. Surprisingly, we never had trouble with the PC in the adjoining office, despite the horrible tang in the air. Maybe the usual culprits stayed away?

          I used to visit an office in Whitehall. When dealing with any PC there, first job was to remove the case screws, then take it out onto the balcony, Only then, making sure you were upwind, was it safe to take the lid off and blast the interior with a can of air. Goodness knows what the tourists below thought as a month's worth of muck from London air descended on them.

    2. Not previously required
      Facepalm

      Re: No cats but... GPs

      When the kids were little we had "outdoor" guinea pigs. Occasionally they were allowed a a cuddle on the sofa and to run around indoors. The telephone engineer was very understanding about the cable they chewed through and chalked it up as IT failure so that we didn't have to pay. However they also ate part of the spine of our European atlas and there were bits of France (*) we dared not visit for years.

      * = Written on the day the French have locked us out, like most of the rest of Europe. "Take back control of our Borders" - Ha Ha,

    3. Not previously required

      Re: No cats but... GPs

      When the kids were little we had "outdoor" guinea pigs. Occasionally they were allowed a a cuddle on the sofa and to run around indoors. The telephone engineer was very understanding about the cable they chewed through and chalked it up as IT failure so that we didn't have to pay. However they also ate part of the spine of our European atlas and there were bits of France (*) we dared not visit for years.

      * = Written on the day the French have locked us out, like most of the rest of Europe. "Take back control of our Borders" - Ha Ha,

  14. BebopWeBop
    Facepalm

    Living with two of the furry psychopaths, I had to move to a wireless mouse on the desktop. Never had major hair problem, but I did come across a dessicated mouse on a couple of occasions, carefully stashed behind one of the servers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A young friend also used his mouse mat as a coaster for his cold drinks. His two dogs contributed short hairs. The result was a felt pad ring forming on the mouse ball - it would move back/forwards but not sideways.

  15. Lars Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Beware of cats

    My (wife's) cats have destroyed two laptops just with some piss at just the right spot and they have managed to pull out keys from from several keyboards. Not long ago one managed to put my wife's Windows into portrait mode just by walking across the keyboard, ctrl, alt and arrow at the same time.

    And you might ask me how I let that happen, and I ask exactly the same question.

  16. jake Silver badge

    About once per quarter ...

    ... I clean out the computers in the barns, whether they need it or not. It's amazing how much dust and hair can accumulate in a desktop PC without affecting it noticeably. The one in the main barn office gets especially bad when we are clipping horses ...

  17. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Cats definitely help me keep a tidy desk. Every item on the desk becomes a plaything, and every plaything ends up on the floor.

    1. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

      That's how you can prove the Flat Earthers are wrong. If the Earth were flat, the cats would have pushed everything off it by now.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    My cats stomping across the laptop keyboard seems to manage to find any number of keyboard shortcuts which occasionally do so much damage that a reboot is required to get my OS back to normal. So I have started locking the screen as soon as he jumps up now to be on the safe side.

  19. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    vid call

    My cat made a brief appearence in a video call job interview a couple of weeks ago.

    Didnt get job :(

    Not blaming cat though.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: vid call

      Your cat starts in the job Monday.

  20. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

    Hasn't been too bad here

    The cats have unfortunately passed away, but when they were both alive it wasn't too much of an issue. It's difficult to get behind the machines under the desk, or I could at least normally nudge them with my foot/shout at them when they tried it.

    I can also recommend having a cat tree next to your desk so the cats have somewhere to sit on when you're working instead of your desk/keyboard.

    On the other hand, the sofa needed a regular vacuuming with the special cat hair attachment.

    Kittens in 2021, will see what impact they have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cat tree

      Tried that. She looked at it and me with utter contempt before proceeded to curl up on the office chair I was about to sit on...

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Cat tree

        I put a handful (exaggeration) of catnip powder on our cat's scratching post. Immediately she fell in love with my hand. I still have it.

    2. Peter Prof Fox

      Re: Hasn't been too bad here

      1) Shiny new thing arrives.

      2) Take opportunity of disruption to 'tidy' desk. Put papers etc into bottom of box.

      3) No matter how small the box, the cat will have a new home.

      Everyone happy...

      ...Until the 'watch dog' (hear cat?) timer realises the fridge door is overdue for opening.

  21. BeverageBeast

    The fluff can be profitable

    Made a decent bit of money on the side "fixing" overheating games consoles in the late 2000s. Most of the time I'd just vacuum the fluff and pet hair out of the vents and they'd miraculously come back to life, would pocket some decent cash for five minutes work. Very occasionally had to also throw a PS3s innards into the oven for a few minutes to revive it. Thankful for extremely fluffy pets overheating hardware.

  22. Ikoth

    IBM Ashtray

    Back in the mists of time, my first IT job was with an IBM reseller. One day I was assigned to go fit a memory upgrade in a PC/AT machine used by a local engineering company. The machine was installed in the design office, an open-plan room filled with 30 or more drafting boards. Because this was the late 80's smoking in the office was still a thing, and apparently all the draughtsmen were chain smokers (the constant blue haze in the air was a big clue as well).

    I opened up the PC and literally could not see a single component on the motherboard. The thing was completely smothered in several cm of grey dust which I assumed was years of accumulated fag ash and congealed smoke. It was unbelievably vile. I carted the thing out to the carpark and blasted it with two full cans of "spray-air" to clear the crud out so I could install the upgrade.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: IBM Ashtray

      "The thing was completely smothered in several cm of grey dust which I assumed was years of accumulated fag ash and congealed smoke."

      With 30 people in the office, a fair chunk of that dust would be human skin too. The condensed nicotine and tar from the smoke just helps glue it all into place and adds some extra aroma.

    2. Andy A Bronze badge

      Re: IBM Ashtray

      We once had a fault call about a server which was not yet on contract. They had to pass an acceptance test before we would add one to the contract, so this was a chargeable call. Symptom was failed backups.

      I arrived to find a brand new server room, but with building work still in progress. The false floor around the rack was incomplete - I had to fit half a dozen tiles to give me a place to stand.

      Opening the top of the server showed the root cause. The main board was covered with about a centimetre of cement dust. Luckily I managed to vacuum the worst out, but the heads on both their £800 tape drives were worn out. What's more all their backup tapes were toast too. A layer of cement dust inside the protective box is a giveaway.

    3. tcmonkey

      Re: IBM Ashtray

      "Welcome to Flavor Country"

  23. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    The worst combination

    Is cats and smokers. Cat hair can be removed by vacuuming, unless it's coated in a fine layer of tar. For similar reasons, you don't want to place anything electronic in a kitchen, unless you would like a thin film of grease deposited inside it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The worst combination

      Living with someone that vapes is pretty bad. Everything is now covered in a film of oil, so I'm now building up my courage to insist that vaping is only allowed in the garden.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: The worst combination

        Presumably someone else's garden so all your flowers don't end up smelling like cinder toffee, or candy floss, or whatever other hipster vape-perfume is popular this week.

      2. Zarno

        Re: The worst combination

        That same film on the inside of the windscreen on a car is also quite annoying.

        Know a few people with a buildup so bad it's like window tint.

        The only saving grace is the vape stuff smells like blueberry muffins, toasted caramel, fruity pebbles, candy corn, raspberry, etc, so someone "lighting up" without permission doesn't require a full-on deep-clean of the car/house afterwards.

        As an aside, the dual-sensor photo+rad smoke alarms are great vape detectors.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: The worst combination

      "Is cats and smokers"

      In the early nineties I used to refurbish mainframe VDUs that had been in offices since the seventies, when smoking was permitted de jure.

      No cat hair, but sooty as a chimney, with black dustballs shorting circuits. It should have made me give up smoking but I never expected to survive the decade.

  24. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Cat diagnostics

    About 40 years ago I use to repair data loggers that recorded everything on cassette tapes, a typical problem was that the tape motor would have problems and start getting noisy, so that was always an easy fix once you turned it on and heard the problem.

    On night I woke up about 2am, dreaming that I'd been trying to fix a unit and each time I replaced the motor the problem kept reoccurring, so frustrating that I couldn't fix it ... when I work up I discovered that our cat was sitting on my chest purring! Problem Fixed!!!!!

  25. Ozzard
    Boffin

    Fanless PCs are *wonderful* if you have pets

    We usually have 2-3 cats around the house, plus two long-haired humans. We both appreciate low background noise, so both our PCs (actually midi towers from QuietPC) are fanless apart from some large slow-spinners on the graphics cards that are stopped unless we're playing 3D-intensive games. The PCs tend to last 5-7 years before needing replacement - if you're buying fanless, it's so bloody expensive that it's worth buying further up the market and extending the useful life of the boxes.

    One of the unexpected advantages over the several previous generations of fanned machines is the sheer lack of crud that gets into the system. We don't get appreciable dust/fur/hair/crud/PLA wisps from the 3D printer buildup even over that lifespan.

  26. Giles C Silver badge

    Mine tends to leave me alone whilst working as he is usually asleep (especially as it getting colder now) but when he wants attention he sits between the keyboard and screen and likes to make appearances on video calls usually locking the camera and giving the participants a view of black fur.

    Mind you he is pretty good at biting ankles as these tend to distract me so I can’t work....

  27. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Cat hair?

    Try living in a house with powder preening parrots (a Du-corps cockatoo in this case).

    The difference between these and other parrots is that they constantly shed a very fine white powder, which gets everywhere, especially wherever there is equipment cooled by fans.

    Sky boxes, laptop computers, televisions, I keep having problems. The first thing I have to do is open them up, take a stiff brush (bristle, keeps the static down a bit), and shift the dust, all the time trying not to breathe it in.

    The most bizarre thing is having to take the vacuums apart, and vacuuming the dust out of the motor (the dust goes right through the filters), and then shifting the stuff off the fan/impeller.

    And don't get me started about the brown sticky deposit that complicates things that we also get from my wife's unpleasant habit of smoking indoors. Some deposits resemble treacle rather than dust.

  28. IJD

    Slugs conduct mains and so does their slime. Found this out when one crawled up inside our dishwasher and committed suicide on the back of the big multi-terminal rotary programmer switch. Impossible to clean the resulting fried slug/slime off, had to replace the entire switch at a cost of more than fifty quid...

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge
      Joke

      Did you try putting the switch in the dishwasher to clean it... oh, wait, no.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of my cats likes to jump up onto my work table, especially when I'm in the middle of a video conference and he starts headbutting me. Especially nice view for the people on the other side of the camera as they get a lovely view of his nether regions.

    I particularly like it when said mog does this because that means I get to leave dreary meetings quickly.

    I have made no effort to encourage this behaviour ...

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      I have made no effort to encourage this behaviour ...

      I am inclined to believe you didn't discourage it either.

  30. TomPhan

    You need a cat to avoid meetings

    As soon as a cat appears in any of the squares in a meeting everyone has to talk about the cat, optionally dragging their own cat into view, and thus you stop talking about the boring things (ie work).

  31. tweell
    Flame

    Cat + carpet +PC = fire

    A sometime client of the dodgy bandwidth reseller I worked for called and complained that their system had burned up. We'd sold them a 'whole package' - the company had us bodge together PC's when we weren't out on calls and sold them at a steep markup - so I went out to see what was up. They sold carpet remnants, and the owner had a cat who would sleep on top of the mini-desktop. The lint and fur had filled the PC's innards and it eventually caught on fire.

    Yeah, it was totally fried. Baked, toasted, it was an ex-PC. The owner demanded that I repair it Right Now, and did not appreciate my telling them that it was well beyond repair. She waved a paper at me and said that she would sue if I didn't make it work "and there better not be any data missing!" I took pictures, referred her to my boss and GTFO. Caught a reprimand for that one, for poor customer service.

  32. David Roberts

    Heat sinks should have fins?

    Some time after the last cat died (aged 23) I was investigating an overheating problem in our PCs.

    Apart from the usual fluff, all the fins of the CPU heat sinks had become smooth with all the gaps between the fins filling up with crud.

    I assume it was cat related.

    All working again apart from one which may have a flaky PSU.

    I'm a bit wary of investigating that for fur, fluff and filth

  33. MCPicoli

    Cat fur is not the only cat-produced thing that can damage computers!

    Several years ago I had the worst possible experience involving cats and computer hardware. I had just bought a brand-new RX-480 GPU (very expensive at the time, specially in this backward part of the world I live in) and was enjoying the just-launched Fallout 4. The computer was assembled inside a not so well ventilated case and started showing signs of overheating during extended gaming sessions.

    My first idea was to remove the cover of the computer and play with it open, and put it back again when finished. Everything went fine until it didn't.

    My house is home to six cats and as any cat-owner knows, whenever a new cat is introduced there is a bit of territorial re-shuffling and infighting. The fifth and sixth cats were recently and suddenly introduced (I inherited them when my sister died) and they were still at this stage of their adaptation into their new home.

    One night I forgot to close the computer's case... at some point in the night I hear the familiar sounds of cats hissing and fighting and as it stops rather quickly I do not bother to get up and end the fighting.

    Next day I go to the computer to check emails and do other morning stuff and after moving the mouse, the familiar login screen does not come up. Computer locked up? After rebooting, the familiar "beep" but no video signal. Loose cable? I reach behind the computer and then I smell the very unmistakable odor of cat pee...

    It just happened that during the previous night fights, one of my cats somehow lost bladder control and sprayed cat pee around the general area where the computer case was... And some of it landed just on top of the GPU's circuit board.

    I tried everything I could to revive it... washing with DI water and putting it with a dessicant, drying under the sun, drying in the kitchen oven, etc. to no avail. The GPU was now an expensive paperweight and a bad one at it.

    Miraculously, the rest of the computer was unaffected. Back to integrated graphics for some more time...

    Of course I bought a new larger case with much better ventilation after that.

  34. CuChulainn Silver badge

    Ah, Cats!

    A work colleague once invited me to his house and while I was there he mentioned he was having trouble with his VCR (shows how long ago it was).

    I moved everything out and started to move the VCR, when I realised it had an encrusted whitish crystalline substance all over the back and on the carpet.

    Suddenly, the overpowering cat smell (of the kind you don't want) in his house made sense. His cat had been urinating up the back of it for God knows how long and the VCR PSU had just fried.

  35. Neil of Qld

    Anyone who doesnt like cats hasnt had them cooked properly

    1. Martin

      My father used to say "I like children, but I couldn't eat a whole one."

  36. Sanguma

    That's nothing

    A cat once caused a power outage in several suburbs in the New Zealand city of Tauranga. At least that's what everybody concluded after a: the power outage, and b: fried cat discovered on the power substation for said suburb.

    Cats and power systems can be lethal - at least to the cats themselves.

    1. Richard Pennington 1

      Re: That's nothing (also in Cambridge, mid 80s)

      Same here. A cat got into a substation in Cambridge and blacked out half the city. According to the local student rag, the cat survived. Also interesting to see which colleges had working emergency lighting!

  37. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    You need quieter cats!

    The fur doesn't stick to your machinery if it has a lower μ.

  38. pstones578

    I worked at Pets at Home for 9 years. Lot's of interesting IT issues there related to animals. Chewed cables aplenty springs to mind.

  39. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Some cats are not bothered by either the music or the keys moving under them:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_I_sOCq1a4

  40. biggerhammer

    My father was a heavy smoker with four cats.

    The inside of his PC was covered in a vile felt of cat hair and tar.

    As soon as I opened the PC, I thought about his lungs, and I've never had the slightest urge to smoke.

  41. UncleZoot

    Cat hair is nothing compared to the black crud build-up on any shop floor work station. It was common to have a work station fail less than 6 months from deployment.

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