Cat and Mouse

If you have a power protector and the latest virus-scanning software, you may think you’ve got your home office covered. But watch out: If you have feline friends, you could still be in for a surprise.

Sometimes your computer keyboard is the quickest route from point A to point B on a cat’s mission of vital, if well-concealed, importance. Cute as that may be, the result often isn’t. Lost data, incorrect data inputs or crashed systems are just some of the hazards posed by wayward paws. To the rescue comes BitBoost Systems, a Tucson, Ariz.-based company that offers cat detector/cat repellent software called PawSense for Windows- or NT-based PCs.

How does the software work? According to BitBoost, cats have a distinct pattern of “typing” when they walk across a keyboard. PawSense is programmed to distinguish the pattern of paws from that of human fingers. After one or two steps, PawSense will detect the presence of a furry culprit. The software then blocks all keypad input and emits a sound – such as that of a harmonica or hiss (you can also record your own) – that cats find annoying.