Cats, Squirrels and Internet
Have you got a cat? If you do, then you’re acquainted with your pet’s funny habits regarding your Internet cable or Wi-Fi router. If you aren’t, please, let me know where you got this angelic animal from.
Yesterday, strange scraping and screeching noises woke me up in the wee hours of the morning. It sounded a bit like Pennywise working his way through the floorboards. But, it ended up just being my cat. She thought it was the right time to figure out why the optic cable that plugs into my Wi-Fi router was there. She was batting it and growling like it was the meanest rat in the world.
I shooed my cat away, and locked the door to the sitting room, but by the time I got back in my bed, I couldn’t fall asleep again. Instead, I layed awake and thought about how animals interact with the Internet devices we have around.
Of course, they can’t understand it the way they do a fridge. The fridge is the large white box where the food comes from. A laptop is a bed warmer. The TV is something flat and loud and bright, but inoffensive; when compared to the vacuum monster which seems to put every animal on high alert.
Still sleepless, I googled for some ways to protect the cable from my cats. I ran into a funny story about an Englishman named Liam, who asked his ISP to send him a decoy router simply because the one he already had, was occupied by his cat. Apparently, he couldn’t keep the antennae on, since it was knocked off by his pets bottom every time she sat on it.
It was meant as a tongue-in-cheek letter, but the company actually responded, asking for pictures of the cat to verify his story. After receiving the requested pictures, they actually sent Liam a second router. Not exactly a decoy one, but a normal device. The company advised to plug in both routers, turn them on and see which one the cat chooses to sit on, and then plug the ADSL cable to the other one. Or, to stack the routers one on the other and use the bottom one.
I learned that there are no 100% pet proof cables or wires. The tips can be grouped in three different categories: spray the wires with a disgustingly smelling deterrent spray, camouflage them properly, or suggest your pet an alternative, i. e. a new toy, a treat, an extra walk, if it’s a dog. Of all the methods, only one would actually work with my cat (the second one) and none of them would help with the outdoor squirrels.
Thinking about squirrels kept me awake even longer, I started thinking about all the grave things they can do to cause us harm. I know, squirrels aren’t pets, but they somehow can sneak into our houses. And when they do, they can cause hell for our wires and cables. You see, squirrels have teeth which continuously grow their entire lives, and that’s why the beasts have to constantly chew something in order to grind them down. Cables are probably a very tempting choice when it comes to looking for something to keep their teeth trimmed. They are thick, robust and the insulation is said to have some nut oil in it. So, if you have a nest of squirrels in your attic, you can say bye-bye you your Internet. I put the de-squirreling of the attic in my to-do list as I laid in the dark.
In the morning, I poured a strong cup of coffee and let the cat outside. I watched her disappear into the bushes and thought, “wouldn’t it be funny to put a camera on her collar and record her walking around the neighborhood every day; much like a feline James Bond. And you know what? There’s a guy who did just that!
Gene Bransfield from Washington, DC, equipped the Siamese cat of his grandma-in-law with a GPS tracker and a device to map the unprotected Wi-Fi routers in the suburb. The cat, whose name was Coco brought back the list of 25 or so Wi-Fi network passwords. The spying system was based on a miniature SoC computer Arduino running the special software, a GPS tracker and a battery to power them all. It was the test number 2. The test number 1 failed, because the cat had weaseled out of the dog’s jacket Gene put on her. The jacket was cheap, but the HTC smartphone in one of the pockets was not, so the engineer called for a more miniature contraption. So, next time you see a collared cat, beware! She might be collecting data on you!
The only things my cat brings home are the twigs stuck in her tail and clods of dirt on her paws..
- Do you have a device collecting dust in your garage? Help save the Earth’s ecology, and sell old electronics online now!