OK, we've talked about Outdoor Kitty before. His relationship with me is directly the inverse of the temperature. Colder temperature == friendlier cat. Lately we've above zero temperatures so he's not around much.

Now, one of the most frequent questions Sonya asks me is, 'where does he go', 'can we attach a tracker to him' etc. And I always respond, no, those tiny little infinite-battery-life satellite/gps trackers you see in movies are, well, in movies.

OK, slight switch of topics and then I'll tie it together (promise). Recently a fitbit ratted out some US military operations. Seems many hard-working military folks wore it, it tracked their location, and reported home. And some big data found clusters of people where it was surprising.

So I get to thinking. What if we could incent people to humanely capture, de-flea, vaccinate, spay/neuter their friendly neighbourhood feral cats, and, give them a fitbit collar? We could fund it out of national defense budgets. What if we made this a foreign op, e.g. which ever country we are feuding with, we send some fancy-feast, some IoT collars to, and find the local animal lovers (who will for sure be on our side).

So we achieve multiple goals:

  • Feral cats are well fed, looked after
  • National Defense is achieved, the enemy will see our huge army, with lots of coverage, especially near dumpsters and heat-vents

What do you say? Make it happen?

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Up until now it has been believed by many that the laser-pointer and the cat are a marriage made in heaven. The 'click' of the button makes a tiny sound, imperceptible to human ears, and your normally lazy feline makes a beeline for it.

I've been working on upgrading one of the gadget army, and this requires booting its u-boot from serial (using xmodem!) over a pretty neat protocol 'kwboot' (allowing you to unbrick even the hardest bricked marvell kirkwood device).

And, um, well, watch the below video (its an asciinema movie using my plugin for wordpress, so hopefully it works for you. Go ahead and select some text in it!). Sleepy desk cat became beserk cat. Its like a laser-pointer to the next level for him.

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Said no one ever. Until this post. Imagine what you can talk about in idle conversation now.

Earlier I introduced you to outdoor kitty, he inhabits the area in and around my backyard. And he has a little house outside. And, until now, it was presumed warm. Presume no further, through the power of zigbee and the Xiaomi Temperature/Humidity sensor. Yup, we have outdoor IoT. And, interestingly, well, the cat sits on the sensor. So you can see when he's home. And, well, below. It turns out that the answer is about 22°C
Good luck on that trivial pursuit game now!

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Earlier we talked about Outdoor Kitty. Lets compare photos, the one on the left is from the other night, the one on the right from October. The difference? About 50°C. The one on the left is about -25°C, the one on the right about 25°C. You can see the little cat house in the background on each. So, for the last years, the cat has been a friend from a distance. What has changed as he has aged and the temperature has dropped?

Well, it turns out that as feral cats get older, and fed more regularly, and the weather drops, they eventually drop their distance-based disdain, and, well, have a look.

Seems all it takes is an extended cold-snap to make me seem acceptable.


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So my cat (TC, short for 'The Cat') is normally a very clean creature (like most cats). He goes out, snoops around for a bit, and comes back in smelling like leaves and campfires etc. No problem.

Not last night. Last night the cat waltzed back in smelling of dead skunk and septic tanks. Now, something you should know about cats... they are programmable up until about 8 weeks of age. Want a cat that likes getting its claws clipped? Play with its claws when its a kitten. If i want TC to enjoy a bath, I need a time machine! Also, guess who gets voted as chief cat washer, yours truly. Sigh.

Now, why is it I have a robot to wander my floors and decrumb, but none to wash my cat? I mean, it should be easy, we have automatic car washes. Maybe same principle, but smaller, with a laser pointer or crinkle ball or elastic at the door as a lure. Huh, gotta do some more googling, i don't find one. Maybe its an opportunity for gofundme or kickstarter, who's in?

Here is the 'just out of bath picture' where we have a fairly cross cat

and here we have an hour later, all forgiven pose.





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