Like most folks, we are using the Nintendo Wii® as part of our fitness regime. To make the most of this idea, we are relocating the system to a larger room. As I unhook the cables from the back of the TV, I notice the signs of a naughty habit I thought we’d left in the past. After the familiar barrage of profanity, I try to make sense of the situation. “How did you guys even get behind here?! Bean?! Bear?! I thought we were over this,” I ask loudly to the two pairs of eyes watching from the staircase. Fortunately, the video cables seem more or less intact…the power cable, not so much. The chewing…the gnawing…is back.
It started back in L.A. Shortly after acquiring the “free kittens,” my girlfriend and I bought a place and were married soon after. The condo was a decent size, and we shared our home office with all things kitten related: beds, toys, litter, food and water bowls, scratching posts, and assorted grooming products. My wife and I – both life-long pet owners — never gave much thought to leaving the cats out and about at all times. This was the first costly mistake.
One morning, when turning on the living room TV, nothing happened. The power was on. Everything seemed to be working fine. Just no picture. I thought maybe the satellite was out. I waited a few minutes, then tried again. Still nothing. I checked the upstairs TV. No problems. I went back downstairs and checked the cables, seeing if one had been knocked loose. What I found was beyond belief.
I was aware that kittens chew the occasional wardrobe item and sometimes pick at certain fabrics. What I did not know was that some (at least two) kittens love to chew on cables. As I sorted out the wiring for our entire entertainment system, I found that all – not just one or two — of the cables were chewed down to the bare wire. Video cables. Audio cables. Scariest of all, the power cables. All were gnawed to the point of being completely severed in some areas.
Cables are not cheap. Fiber-optic audio cables and HDMI cables can get pricey. And while cost should not be ignored, I was actually more concerned about the power cables. There were two hazards here: (1) Electricity and kittens do not mix well. I’d hate to have rescued these critters only to have them electrocuted, and (2) Exposed power wires are not good for fire safety purposes. I explored the condo and found that the damage was not limited to the living room. It was everywhere. In the kitchen alone, the coffee maker, toaster, and radio were victims. In the home office, computer cables, printer cables, and speaker cables were destroyed. In the bedroom, the TV cables, clock radio cords, and phone lines were chomped on. The decision was obvious. Drastic measures would be taken.
Over the next few days, I replaced or repaired all damaged cables. I bought and installed a door into the living room. I covered all exposed cables with wraps to prevent damage from kitty teeth. Finally, the privilege of wandering freely around the house was revoked. If we were away, or asleep, The Bean and The Bear were to be confined to their room (not a small room by any means).
As I hook up the Wii, The Bean and The Bear wander next to me, seeing what I’m up to, as well as demanding some attention. I look at them and am overcome by their strongest power, cuteness. It’s like they sense I’m upset with them, so they tag team me with purrs and rolls on the carpet…I am helpless. Thankful for only having to purchase one new power adapter, I play with them until I get up to make some lunch. That’s when I notice The Bean sniffing the new wires dangling behind the console. Lunch will have to wait, because I am now wrapping all of the cables in our new house.
HDMI Cables $18.00 x 4 $72.00
Optical Audio Cable $35.00
TV Power Adapter $40.00 x 2 $80.00
Speaker wire $25.00
Coffee Maker repair $15.00 (plus time spent soldering new wire)
Computer power cords $37.00 x 2 $74.00
Printer cable $12.00
Clock radio $20.00
Computer custom keyboard $70.00
Computer mouse $25.00
Surge protector $45.00
Phone lines $18.00
Cable wraps for every exposed cable $120.00 (trust me, WAY worth every penny!)
Total Cable Carnage Caused by “Free Kittens” $641.00