Cats, Squirrels and Internet
Have you got a cat? You do? Then you’re acquainted with the pet’s funny habits regarding your Internet cable or Wi-Fi router. If you aren’t, please, let me know where you got this angel from.
Yesterday strange scraping and screeching noises woke me up in the small hours. A bit like Pennywise working his way through the floorboards. But it was just my cat. She thought it was the right time to figure out the optic cable that plugs into my Wi-Fi router. She was finishing it and growling like it was the meanest rat in the world.
I shooed the pet and locked the door to the sitting room, but when back in my bed I couldn’t fall asleep and just thought and thought about just how animals interact with the Internet devices we have around. Of course, they can’t understand it the way they do the fridge. The fridge is the large white box where the food comes from. The notebook is the warmed bed. The TV is something flat and loud and bright, but inoffensive, unlike the drab looking vacuum cleaner that is the monster in disguise obviously and so on and so on.
Still sleepless I googled for some ways to protect the cable against the cats. I ran into a funny story about an Englishman named Liam who asked his ISP to send him a decoy router because the one he already had was occupied by his cat who used to knock off the antennae with her… ehm… bottom. That was meant as a tongue-in-cheek letter but went down smoothly. The company just asked for more pictures of the pet to make sure she was real and belonged to Liam. With these following, they soon sent him another router. Not exactly the decoy one, but a normal device. The company advised to plug the both routers, turn them on and see which one the cat chooses and then plug the ADSL cable to the other one. Or to stack the routers one on the other and use the bottom one.
Then I learnt there are no 100% pet proof cables or wires. The tips can be grouped in three: spay the wires with the disgustingly smelling spray, camouflage them properly, 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 work with my cat (the second one) and none with the squirrels. The fact about squirrels gave me more grave things to think upon. I know, they aren’t pets, but they somehow sneaked in to live in our houses. And they do hell to the wires and cables. You see, squirrels have teeth which are growing all their lives and that’s why the beasts have to constantly chew something to grind them down. And why not the cables then? 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. That is, if I got any. I’m not sure still. They can be sneaky, you know.
In the morning I had my coffee and let the cat out and watch her disappearing into the bushes. And then I thought: funny, if she had a spy cam in her collar, she could have cover the neighborhood everyday life 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 networks 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 as the cat had weaseled from 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 more miniature contraption. So, next time you see a collared cat, beware! She might be collecting data on you!
The only things my cat brought home last time were some twigs in her tail and dirt on her paws.
- Well, got a device collecting dust in your garage? Help save the Earth’s ecology, sell old electronics online now!