Routing the Cat

I went a few rounds with my work computer this morning, and in the end came up with a remarkably low tech solution (and without the help of the fellow with the thick foreign accent who called out of the blue claiming to be from the “Windows support service”—I didn’t stay on the line long enough to find out how he thought he was going to fix a problem that we didn’t have).

The problem we did have seemed to involve QuickBooks, the bookkeeping software we use for almost all our clients. I’d been having occasional problems with QB locking up or otherwise misbehaving lately, but I just blamed it on the ever-increasing size and complexity of the software. This morning I had entered several long, complicated deposits when the software began locking up on me and then, after I closed the program and/or rebooted the computer, coming up with one excuse after another to keep me out of the client file. QB couldn’t find the file, or I didn’t have permission to use the file, or there wasn’t enough space to record the transaction. Or there was just plain no connection to the office WiFi network and the client files stored on another computer.

After numerous rounds of frustration (and after losing the long, complicated deposit twice), I realized that all the trouble might be related to the network connection. So I went into Jo Anne’s office to see if she was having problems. She was working on the cloud-based version of QB. She hates the cloud-based version, but it was working.

Kiko playing paperweight

Kiko playing paperweight

When I looked around the office to the network connections a few feet from Jo Anne’s computer, I saw Kiko the bad-tempered calico, one of our three Scorekeeper office cats, sitting on the wireless router. She loves the tangle of cords and cables under that table, and Jo Anne and I don’t understand the mess well enough to move the router and the print server to a less feline-accessible location (assuming, of course, that such a place exists). Kiko has been suspected of disconnecting my computer from the print server by sitting on that, so I shooed her off the router, set it upright, and went back to my desk, perhaps thirty feet away. The bars on my network icon had jumped from two to four.

I tried moving the router to the top of a nearby storage carton, but Kiko sat there staring at it, clearly plotting to drag it back down as soon as I turned my back. “Put a box over it,” Jo Anne suggested.

That required laying the router back down on its side on the floor—it may be a “wireless” router, but it’s connected to the rest of the tangle by at least two cables—and covering it with a smallish cardboard carton.

I had no more connection trouble for the rest of the day.

We have no idea what draws Kiko to the router and the print server—warmth? vibrations? secret electronic messages from feline aliens headed this way in spaceships resembling empty grocery bags?—but when I left work this evening, she was sitting on the box over the router. I have a feeling my low tech solution may not be permanent.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jacqui Nelson
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 09:22:17

    Thanks for the morning smile, Kay! I’ve heard rabbits, if people are brave enough to keep them indoors, can be even more challenging on the electrical wires.

    Liked by 1 person


    • Kay Hudson
      Oct 10, 2014 @ 10:27:44

      Hey, Jacqui! I’ve never had a cat chew on electric wires, but one of the office cats likes to step on the power strips and turn the switches off. Now and then nothing on my desk will turn on, and I have to crawl under it to turn the power strip back on.



  2. JF Owen
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 20:46:05

    I’ll have to add that box solution to my bag of tricks. We don’t have any cats in our offices, but there is a family of squirrels nearby and somehow one of them occasionally finds his way inside. To my knowledge, he’s never been the root cause of any network problems, but squirrels are an inventive lot and who knows what the future will bring. 🙂

    Thanks for the smile!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Kay Hudson
      Oct 11, 2014 @ 22:56:20

      I’ve had squirrels (and at least one family of raccoons) in my attic, but not since I had the roof replaced. I suspected them of choosing up sides and playing soccer over my head, but they left the wiring alone. Unless, of course, that’s what happened to the kitchen phone . . .

      Liked by 1 person


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