Cats are jerks.
I know this because I have two. Well, to be more accurate, I was harangued into having one, then two, by my lovely wife, who has always been a fan of cats. Me... I grew up in a dog household and therefore consider myself to be in the more macho dog camp. That’s not to say that I particularly object to cats in principle since I love just about any kind of animal, but I have always been put off by the idea of an animal, by custom, taking big, smelly dumps inside my house. Like so many other men, I decided that this particular issue wasn’t really a battle that needed pickin’, so I agreed to the cats.
Enter Penny, a prime example of feline eff-you-ishness, who has, since her integration into our family, left me scarred for life, ruined several objects, and caused occasional and assorted havoc at her leisure.
Cute, right? Don’t be fooled… Behind that adorable, bewhiskered face lies the mind of a serial torturer devoid of any conscience or empathy. While her crimes are many, I’m only sharing the following because I managed to triumph over her unprovoked malice, and I relish every win life allows me these days. Now, I know you may be thinking, “What kind of idiot has an adversarial relationship with a cat?” Well, all I can say is that if you’re asking the question, you probably haven’t ever lived with a cat.
Soooooo… There I was, at the beginning of May, finally in possession of a few bucks that didn’t necessarily NEED to be spent in any particular way for the first time since Thanksgiving. The urge to treat myself to something at least semi-fun was overpowering, so I decided to go buy a new mouse for my desktop PC, since my aging trackball seemed to be rolling towards its final rest with increasing speed. Being the giant geek/nerd that I am, this passed as fun for me, so I carefully mulled my options.
I considered going with the new Warcraft-branded mouse, but upon checking it out at my local Best Buy, I decided that it was just too damn ugly and clunky. (A bit pricey, too, but like I said, I was treating myself, so that wasn’t really the biggest factor.)
I wound up going with the Razer Lachesis gaming mouse because it fulfilled my main criteria for this purchase: ergonomically sound, functionally superior to what I was using previously, economically feasible, and aesthetically ass-kicking. It’s got a rubberized surface that feels great, a chunky scroll wheel that has just the right amount of travel, and does that cool glowy thingy. Though I would have preferred to spend less money on it, all told, I was happy with the purchase once I got it set up.
Soooooo… There I was, literally three days later, enjoying my new mouse by playing some World of Warcraft. Penny decided to plop herself on the desk in front of me, as cats are wont to do, with her head toward the back of the desk, her butt squarely pointed at me. I absently began to pet her as I played, and before long, I began to notice my mouse behaving erratically. I didn’t think much of it, as Warcraft occasionally lags and/or glitches, and I went about my level-grinding business. Within two minutes, I totally lost control, and my mouse, usually pulsing with a bright blue inner light, died on the table.
Penny, being a cat, and as such, genetically predisposed towards douchebaggery, had chewed almost completely through the mouse cord WHILE I WAS PETTING HER! It wasn’t bad enough that she rendered the first toy that I’d bought for myself in six months completely useless, but she had to do it while I was in the act of being nice to her. I can only assume that the wire casing was made by injection-molding ground-up rodent entrails, thereby making it irresistible to cats.
Either that or Penny is a jerk.
After pushing Penny off the desk with as much self-control as I could muster (which, as an animal lover, wound up being more than one might expect), I called upon my years of geek/nerd training to try to resurrect my poor mouse from the dead.
A little bit more about my geek cred… When I was a boy, I didn’t ask for toys like Transformers or G.I. Joe, but for things like electronics kits from Radio Shack, which usually consisted of a bunch of transistors and simple circuitry, all attached to little springs that the user would wire together based on instructions included with these kits. I don’t think they really make them anymore, but they fueled my techno-lust and helped make me the tech-savvy geek that I am today.
Anyway, I busted out my tool kit and got to work. First, I had to strip the wires and cut out the bad section. This was a little harder than it might sound since the wires were about as thick as regular spaghetti and much finer with the coverings stripped off.
Next, I spliced all five wires back together. Again, it's trickier than it sounds when you have sausage-like fingers.
Finally, I wrapped all the wires up with electrical tape as neatly as I could, which resulted in a bit of an unsightly bulge, but it’s mostly out of sight under the monitor riser anyway. You can see all the bits that I cut out next to the mouse. Note that it once again glows in all of its mousy glory!
Unsightly bulge notwithstanding, the mouse is good as new, and the whole process took me about 30 minutes. Most of that time was spent stripping the wires because, despite my geekishness, I’ve never bothered to buy a real wire-stripper.
Following this incident, I gave Penny a stern talking-to, but she just doesn’t seem too interested in learning English, and my Catonese was never very good, so I don’t think she gets it; even if she does understand, she’s not honoring my pleas to stop destroying my stuff. Here she is plotting her next attack:
Shortly after this pic was taken, WHILE I WAS WRITING THIS POST, I caught her gnawing on the mouse wire under the desk… I managed to stop her before she could do any real damage. At least she’s trying to be a little bit more Ninja Cat about it.
Author's Note: This post originally appeared on an ancient incarnation of my site, circa May 2009. Without the magical assistance of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, this harrowing tale would have been lost forever. Apologies for the graininess of the photos; digital cameras kinda sucked back then, and I had to recapture the images from the archived blog. A few days ago, I finally retired the mouse that I was talking about, and Penny no longer lives here. There are, however, two other cats and a rambunctious puppy now running around the house and ruining my stuff.
P.S.: Cats may not be fans of gaming or the expensive devices that make it possible, but I sure am. Videogames have been an entertaining staple of my life ever since my dad brought home an original Pong console when I was a wee lad. Believe it or not, videogames do have some positive health benefits, so go play something!