Pets and Tech: A Hairy Situation

It's been exciting times over here. After years of use and countless internal updates, my laptop was finally lagging enough to warrant an upgrade (Photoshop is a love/hate relationship of codependency, I tell ya). The upgrade is nothing wildly different...in fact, it looks almost exactly the same, as I ended up moving over to the same model with updated specs. It was the equivalent of buying the very same car again, but this year's model with the soft Corinthian leather seat option and better torque. Despite the "sameness", a new machine is still a momentous occasion and I spent countless hours fiddling and customizing my new digital digs that first day.

Of course, as soon as I left the pristine machine of gigaFLOP crunching glory unattended, one of our cats, Eames, sauntered over to curiously inspect the new addition to the household. Satisfied and bequeathed his approval, he eventually decided the $2K+ machine was to be his very own fruit logo adorned heating pad. An aluminum throne worthy of his fur-clad posterior. Such is the logic of the feline mind, such is the horror of a new Mac owner.

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Our other cat, Eero, has much better manners around the computer, and occasionally likes to point out grammatical mistakes.

After being shooed off the laptop and throwing me a disdainful glance, Eames allowed me to use my new machine again, but not before I had to clean off the small collection of fur he'd left. This all happened because unlike my previous machine, I had left the laptop opened, flat on a table. Normally, I keep the laptop stationed on a pedestal stand, both for ergonomic eye level and additionally for air circulation (for something called a "laptop", MacBook Pros can scorch your legs after extended use). I only then realized the stand was also the reason our cats probably never bothered much with the laptop prior.

So today I created a small checklist of accessories related to cat countermeasures, but also for general protection of my prrrrrrecioussss:

If you've got a MacBook Pro and use it docked for home use, I highly recommend the Rain Design mStand. Elevated and angled for correct eye-viewing level, my laptop sits snugly and securely upon this stand, also positioned at an angle most cats will not deem optimal for their resting pleasures. I'm on my second one now, giving Emily the other.

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I primarily use an external keyboard, but if I was using the laptop's built-in keys, I might consider covering it up with a silicone skin (the one above is from ICOVERS4U, but there are numerous offerings online). Might be worth considering anyway, since the skin will not only keep any errant fur or dust from entering the machine, but will add a little splash of colour to any otherwise staid looking machine (they're also available in black, white, red, and blue).

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Most people armor their smartphones in cases and clear applique skins, but not as many do so with laptops. Yet, they're bound to get scratched and dinged as easily if you carry them around regularly, especially with pets (or kids) around. That's the very reason my previous model was covered in a clear scratch-proof skin and why I'll do it all over again with this new one.

Clear protectant skins can be a pain in the posterior to install, but once on, you'll never have to think about it again, adding a layer of insurance for cosmetic concerns and resale value.

$50 for something like the BodyGuardz skin seems a bit steep. But I'd note 4 years later, after applying something very similar, my older machine is unmarred by any noticeable scratches where the skin was applied. Upon peeling it off this week, it appeared like a snake molting old skin and revealing an unblemished version underneath.

If all else fails, I'll just invest in putting together a Blender Defender, a motion-detecting cat deterrent (I'm just joking...kind of...maybe...ummmm).

Images: Gregory Han

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